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Garopapilles in Bordeaux

Rating: 89.
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In 2012 Gaël Morand and Tanguy Laviale opened Garopapilles, a wine boutique cum 20-seat neo-bistro in Bordeaux. Morand is in charge of the wine, Laviale of the food. Tanguy Laviale started his chef career in Paris in the early 00's, where he attended Ferrandi culinary school. After graduation he worked in the kitchens of Christian LeSquer's Ledoyen (now run by Yannick Alleno), Alain Dutournier's Carré des Feuillants and Guy Martin's second restaurant Le Sensing (now closed). Next he followed a 2-year Viticulture and Oenology course at the Lycée Agro-Viticole de Bordeaux in Blanquefort. Before opening his own restaurant, Laviale was Chef de Cuisine at Chateau Haut Bailly for a number of years.  

Garopapilles is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday and for dinner on Thursday and Friday; the wine boutique is open on weekdays. At lunchtime the restaurant offers a 4-course Menu découverte for €45, a 3-course Menu du marché for €35, or a 2-course menu (starter and main or main and dessert) for €28. I had lunch at Garopapilles in September 2017 and I had the 4-course menu.

First to arrive were some nibbles, like delicious little cauliflower beignets, deep-fried leek ravioli served with a yoghurt dip seasoned with mint and tarragon, and there were some juicy Provence olives. A enjoyable start of the meal.

First course were sardine fillets lightly marinated with a touch of soy sauce, with lovely soft flesh and pretty silvery-blue skin, and served with a wonderfully creamy and mildly smoky aubergine caviar. One of the fillets was covered with a layer of crunchy and slightly lemony, toasted crumbs. An excellent dish with pleasing flavours and textures and well-marinated fish, the soy sauce giving the the sardine a little salty kick.

The meal continued with a rich and creamy scampi soup adorned with pieces of lightly cured wild trout (from the Basque country), mushrooms, crunchy pickled onions, and croutons. The soup had a wonderful depth of flavour, with good shell flavours in the finish, and the addition of the trout delivered a lovely, unexpected contrasting flavour.

Main course was Montbéliarde beef served with grilled baby corn, gnocchi, pan-fried ceps and a simple beef jus. The Montbéliarde cow is a breed mainly used for dairy farming and cheese making in France - cheese making in particular. Its milk is most famously used for Comté and Gruyère. Unfortunately I don't know which cut was used. I did ask, but sometimes things get lost in translation. Nevertheless, a wonderful piece of beef, cooked beautifully, as were the ceps, which were deliciously buttery and nicely caramelised. Balance and lightness was delivered by the corn.

Dessert was a rich chocolate ganache with a shiny chocolate glaze, covered with a crunchy peanut biscuit, nicely paired with banana cream and banana ice cream. A moreish combination, rounding off the meal perfectly.

My meal at Garopapilles was a completely satisfying experience. Tanguy Laviale's contemporary, market-driven style of cooking makes great use of 
excellent ingredients. Handsomely cooked food, that was full of flavour and the freshness of the ingredients really shone through. This was my first solo meal in a very long time, and I could not have picked a more relaxing and enjoyable place. Easy to love dishes, a great wine list, friendly service, more than reasonable prices, there's really not much more to be desired here. If only I lived in Bordeaux.

Posted 31-12-2017


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