La Galupe is not a trendy hot spot nor is it located in the heart of any city. One might pass by it unknowingly from their drive through the Pays Basque and still miss it.
Admittedly, it took me a whole year to visit this little gem despite only living a 5 minute drive away! La Galupe is a beautiful standing Maison Basque by the Adour River, a mere one minute walk from the local train station. You would be hard pressed to miss it since it’s next to the main road leading into Bayonne and Biarritz. Once, I missed my train into Bayonne and hitched a ride from a sweet granny on the corner of La Galupe, but I digress!
My neighbours told me that back in it’s hey day, La Galupe was a 2 Michelin star restaurant headed by the late Christian Parra for close to 3 decades. Known for his boudin noir and fish dishes fresh from the Adour River, La Galupe was named after a flat-bottomed boat used to transport goods on the river. The restaurant has been run by its new owners, Didier Periz and the lovely Pascale de Charentenay, for the past 2 years. Before Didier and Pascale, La Galupe had been closed for 7 years. In 2015, the restaurant duo breathed new life into La Galupe and thus us lucky folk are blessed with simple and fresh ‘cuisine du marché’!
Under their new patronage, La Galupe has become more than just a local joint, but also a small bookstore and fine food store. Their epicerie section boasts local products from the region such as paté, boudin, serving ware marked with the Basque cross a.k.a lauburu, as well as a variety of organic goods like honey and bottled juices. You will also find a plethora of books on anything Basque, be it art, cooking or geography.
You could say La Galupe is a jack of all trades of sorts because apart from their resto-bookstore-epicerie fare, they also host art and photography exhibitions, book signings with local authors, and concerts throughout the year.
Alrighty, now let’s get down to some pinchables business! When I paid La Galupe a little visit in May, my best friend and I had been eating out around Bayonne and Biarritz with full on gumption. After consecutive days of gluttony, my best friend was looking to have a lighter lunch. Unfortunately, I had other plans for her and thus we were soon greeted with a wondrous dish of baked camembert! Not too big, not too small — just right — a dish of baked camembert accompanied with thin slices of toasted bread and… bacon. Boy oh boy, what a humble yet satisfying starter that was! Get the camembert, oh just get it.
For lunch, their daily menu du midi will set you back a mere 16 euros. Given the quality they serve, it’s a ridiculously amazing deal, but hey, I ain’t complaining. ???? My best friend opted for Radis à la croque sel, radishes with butter and coarse salt for her starter and I, the rillettes de cabillaud, cod fish rillettes with dill on a bed of greens.
At first glance, my best friend wasn’t sure what to make of the butter with the radishes. We looked over to an older gentleman and observed that he spread butter on to the radishes and then dipped them into the salt jar. She wasn’t that far off after all ????
A tad citrusy and well complemented with dill, the rillettes de cabillaud was light and refreshing! Next up, our mains. She went for the Steak de bonite sauce au poivre, bonito fish steak in a pepper sauce, while I ordered the Poitrine confite aux lait which was pork belly with herb sauce. Both mains came with a side of fried polenta.
Never have I had fried polenta before, but boy was it good! Her bonito steak was meaty, fresh from the Adour River and that pepper sauce was packed with flavaaa! My pork belly, a locally farm-raised beauty, was cooked in a herb sauce of rosemary, thyme, garlic and simmered in milk.
To tie it all up, our desserts were crème au chocolat and fromage blanc aux fraises, white cheese with fresh strawberries. The chocolate mousse was rich yet so light at the same time?? What sorcery is this?! Tout simplement magique ✨✨✨
If you’re not familiar with fromage blanc, it literally translates to white cheese. White cheese has the consistency of sour cream, but it’s less tart than normal or Greek yoghurt. In France, it’s common to have fromage blanc with fresh fruit or a raspberry coulis sauce as a dessert — delicious!
What you get at La Galupe is local, in season, and when possible, organic. The food is simple, but never dull! You can truly gather a sense of local pride and care from the produce used to the selection of books in their shop. A little gem away from the hustling and bustling, it’s so worth the trek!
May The Pinchables Be With You,
Location: 15, Le Port, Urt, Aquitaine, France 64240
Opening hours now till 3rd of September 2017 :
**Closed all day on Mondays
***Only open for lunch service on Sundays, closed on Sunday evenings
Restaurant : Tuesday to Sunday // 12pm – 2pm // 7:30pm – 9pm
Café, bookstore, fine foods shop : Tuesday to Sunday // 9am – 9pm
- Call to make reservations if you wish to sit outside, there are limited tables.
- The weekly menu is posted without fail on their Facebook page