A few weeks ago, for our dinner date we strolled along the rustically beautiful Souk Al Bahar and stumbled upon a quintessential yet contemporary French restaurant that goes by the name of Tolosa Bodega. Tosola comes from the French name of “Toulouse” in South West France and generate some classic and homely French – Mediterranean dishes for its guests to enjoy in a casual and laidback environment.
Somehow, overtime French cuisine has always been linked to High End and Fine Dining restaurants that come with a very classy setting and a heavy price. Tolosa however tries to break that stereotype and instead demonstrate humble and simple French food.
To begin with, we loved the vibe and décor of the restaurant; neither too sophisticated nor too shabby. Being non-alcoholics (fortunately, unfortunately) , our server was nice enough to whip up some refreshing mocktails for us and then handed over the food menu. The menu is precise, with not too many options (which we prefer) and each dish was briefly explained helping us make an informed decision. Nevertheless, we sought the assistance of our server who recommended some “must try” dishes at Tolosa.
We started off with the “Terrine de Foie gras” which is a homemade duck foie gras paté served with figs and prunes compote. Foie gras is a luxury food product that is made with the liver of a duck that has been specially fattened. The Foie Gras and Tolosa wasn’t the best we had, however we would still recommend it since it had that rich, soft and luscious consistency. The sweet flavor of the compote balanced the salt in the Foie Gras fairly well, making it at all-round pleasant dish.
Next, we tried the “Escargots de Bourgogne” which is a classic French dish of six burgundy snails in garlic butter served in the shells. They say you can judge a French restaurant by the way they cook their snails, and these were perfectly cooked. They tasted soft and delicate and the garlic butter added a rich and warm taste to compliment the snails.
For our third appetizer, we tried the “Cassolette de St Jacques” which are scallops and mushrooms casserole with béchamel. We felt the scallops were cooked perfectly however drowned with béchamel sauce that didn’t let the beauty of the scallops shine through. The dish was beautifully presented however we only felt that the amount of béchamel used was a bit heavy handed.
For our mains, we had the “Dorade marmiton” which is pan fried sea bream with prawns, new potato, clams, and mussels in saffron bisque. A very warm dish created using some fresh seafood. We loved the flavor of the dish however felt it was satisfying (or filling rather) enough. Also the sea bream was cooked really well. We recommend this dish for seafood lovers with small appetites.
For our final main course, we decided to opt for something from the Specials Board and went for the Duck cooked two ways – Pan Fried and Confit. The duck was cooked pink (just has how duck SHOULD be cooked) however we feel this dish could’ve done better in terms of presentation. We loved the crispiness of the Duck Confit since the duck is slowly cooked by being submerged in its own rendered fat. It also adds richness to the flavor of the duck.
Finally, for dessert we had the “Crumble à la fraise et poire” which is a strawberry and pear crumble with vanilla custard. The tartness of this dessert was exquisite, and the pear and strawberries were cooked until tender soft. However we wished the consistency wasn’t too watery and a bit thicker. Nevertheless, the crumble crust had a nice sweet and crunchy texture to it that made us enjoy the dessert.
We also savored the “Trio de chocolat” which is a chocolate dessert three ways – Chocolate moilleux, Chocolate ganache and white chocolate ice cream. A very rustically presented dish that helps you enjoy chocolate in three different experiences – the moilleux provides a nice dense and rich flavor, the ganache provides a soft yet strong chocolate tinge and the ice cream serves as a more milder tone to the dessert
Terrine De Foie Gras – Dhs85
Escargots De Bourgogne – Dhs75
Cassolette De St Jacques – Dhs65
Dorade Marmiton – Dhs145
Crumble À La Fraise Et Poire – Dhs50
Trio De Chocolat – Dhs55
Ambience – 3.5/5
Food – 3/5
Service – 4/5
Value – 3.5/5