Journalist Ailbhe Macmahon For Mailonline wrote this great piece about les Grands Buffets in Novembre 2021 :
'I half-expected Louis XIV to sit down at the next table': Rave reviews for the French restaurant with a VERY grand all-you-can-eat buffet, where guests pay £36 for unlimited frogs' legs, foie gras and lobster
Les Grands Buffets in Narbonne serves 111 types of cheeses and has a selection of 70 varietals of wine
Louis Privat and his wife Jane, who founded the eatery in 1989, are reviving the classic 'feast à la Francaise'
The restaurant has table service, and each table is laid out with embroidered napkins and stem wine glasses
A French restaurant has taken the all-you-can-eat buffet concept, given it a good whisk, and upgraded it into a luxuriously decadent affair.
At Les Grands Buffets in Narbonne on the Mediterranean coast, the guests pay a set price of £36 (€42.90) and can then tuck into the likes of foie gras, roasted quail, frogs' legs, Burgundy snails and lobster, accompanied by table service.
The bountiful banquet doesn't end there. The eaterie holds the Guinness World Record for the most varieties of cheese available at a restaurant, boasting a dizzying 111 types of fine fromage. The restaurant has a 'strength index' for the cheeses and recommends starting with the low numbers before ascending to the more pungent varieties.
Louis Privat and his wife Jane founded the eatery in 1989, with the restaurant's fancy buffet concept taking its cue from French history books.
'Les Grands Buffets invites the public to experience the revival of what had been a dying tradition: the classic "feast à la Française".'
White linen tablecloths line the tables, which are garnished with stem glasses, embroidered napkins, and fish knives and forks.
There are four dining rooms in the restaurant, each with its own 'decoration and style', as well as a dining space in the garden. The newest room, the 'Doré Room', opened earlier this year. It's decorated with gold leaf and crystal chandeliers are suspended from the ceiling.
Elsewhere in the restaurant, visitors can admire Art Deco sculptures, light fittings made from metal cutlery, baroque embellishments and gurgling water fountains.
What's the biggest hit with diners? The world-record cheese buffet - which spans 98ft (30m) - is a clear favourite, we're told.
Popular choices for starters include the nine types of country ham on offer, and when it comes to mains, the 'canard au sang' [pressed duck] and the lobster a l'Americaine are beloved.
The restaurant's team of six pastry chefs prepare more than 50 homemade desserts each day. There's also a chocolate fountain, a Crepes Suzette station and a new ice cream corner where diners can try flavours such as Peach Melba and Irish coffee, as well as the chestnut-based house special.
Along the way, visitors can swill their way through multiple wines, choosing from a selection of 70 varietals. The drinks aren't part of the set fee, but wine and champagne are sold at cellar door prices – making it far cheaper than that of your average restaurant.
If customers decide to buy a case of six bottles to go, the bottle they enjoyed during their meal is free.
Despite offering such a range of decadent dishes, the restaurant continues to turn a profit – even during the pandemic.
One Tripadvisor user, who visited this year, wrote: 'I half-expected Louis XIV to walk in and sit down at the next table. It's sumptuously decorated, with grand candelabras, huge gold mirrors, and a living wall that looks like a Versailles tapestry.'
It's advised to book a table far in advance. For more information, visit lesgrandsbuffets.com.