A week in France — Chez Bebelle

It’s easy to say that you have a new favourite restaurant.  Or a place that you remember for all the wrong reasons.  We had a shocking lunch just before we went to France, and equally today I have had quite possibly the best fish and chips I have ever had.  At the time they are cemented in your mind as ones to remember, or avoid.    In a few years though I will have probably forgotten about both, or they will have been superceeded by a new favourite place.

Like a place we went to for Lunch in France last week, Chez Bebelle.  When we mentioned we were off to explore the food halls at Narbonne (which I wrote about here:  A week in France — Narbonne ) we were told we had to stop for lunch at this particular restaurant.

And it is safe to say that Chez Bebelle in Narbonne will now always be up there as one of my all time favourite places.  Not because of the location, it is in a busy food hall so it’s “bustling”.  Not for the ambience, as again, there isn’t a huge amount, because it’s busy.  The menu is not the most extensive and if you are vegetarian, forget it.   Because this place is the place to meet up in the town, and after that it’s all about the produce coming from the food halls, and all about the meat.

Or rather the delivery of the meat.   It is thrown from the butcher across the walkway.    Ordered by megaphone as you place your order with Bebelle, an ex Narbonne rugby player, and then “delivered” back to be cooked by being wrapped in paper and thrown through the air for Bebelle to catch.   Going over your head as you quietly catch up with friends, or have a drink.   It really is like sitting under a line out on the rugby pitch as the ball goes over your head, except in this case it is a steak or mince for a burger.

Quite frankly it is mad.   But I could have sat there and watched it all day.

We got there early and within an hour it was full, every seat taken and people being turned away so it’s certainly popular and not just as a tourist attraction, local Frenchmen were there having a glass of red wine and a quick bite to eat.

We had possibly the best seat in the house on the corner of the bar and if I am honest I don’t remember too much about my bavette, other than it was fabulous, and that the chips were the sort your granny makes (none of this triple cooked, or three artistically arranged nonsense).

If you can’t quite picture what exactly I mean, I spent the entire lunch videoing it because I knew if I didn’t people wouldn’t believe me:

 

 

I am clearly no vlogger but hopefully you will get a sense of what I am talking about!   And if you are ever near Narbonne, you MUST visit (but do book if you want to sit at the bar and get the best view!) and do ask to be sat at the bar if you can.

 

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  • BIG portion of chips, tipped unceremoniously on to the plate then tidied with side of the hand. It was a great lunch, though the pâté de tête on the charcuterie starter was….interesting.

    The story goes that the restaurant came first, then he bought up the two butchers but Bebelle is doing a roaring trade, however it started.

    And, in case you are nervous of a) French meat cooking or b) post-Brexit attitudes, neither is an issue.

  • ….let’s be honest: all you want from lunch is good food (and happy kids if you are en famille. A good memory is a bonus.

    This one would tick all three.