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.
Pictured is the cheese selection at Les Grands Buffets, which holds the Guinness World Record for the most varieties of cheese available at a restaurant
For a set price of £36 (€42.90), guests can tuck into the likes of foie gras, roasted quail, and lobster (pictured on the left). Louis Privat and his wife Jane founded Les Grands Buffets in 1989. Pictured on the right is the interior of one of the restaurant’s four opulent dining rooms
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.
Its website reads: ‘From the Middle Ages, this is how crowned heads and the French aristocracy held their great banquets.
‘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.
‘Les Grands Buffets invites the public to experience the revival of what had been a dying tradition: the classic “feast à la Francaise”,’ the restaurant’s website reveals
Pictured on the left is the new ice cream corner where diners can try flavours such as Peach Melba and Irish coffee. On the right is a chocolate fountain in Les Grands Buffets. Despite offering such a range of decadent dishes for a low set price, the restaurant continues to turn a profit
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.
The lobster and shellfish selection in the restaurant. When it comes to mains, the lobster a l’Americaine is beloved
One of the dining rooms. ‘I half-expected Louis XIV to walk in and sit down at the next table,’ wrote one Tripadvisor reviewer after their visit
Pictured on the left is Les Grands Buffets founder Louis Privat next to the record-breaking cheese selection, which spans 98ft (30m). On the right, a chef lays out the desserts. The restaurant’s team of six pastry chefs prepare more than 50 homemade desserts each day
A seafood station in the restaurant. Les Grands Buffets’ website reads: ‘From the Middle Ages, this is how crowned heads and the French aristocracy held their great banquets’
A chef prepares meat-based dishes in the restaurant. Popular choices for starters include the nine types of country ham on offer
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.
The world-record cheese buffet is a favourite with diners, we’re told
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.