Jimmy Vialle: head of the inspiring Le Questel restaurant and a fully-fledged member of the FermobPeople community
Brasserie Le Questel
4 Place Questel
Our community is full of remarkable, unique and inspiring people. Jimmy Vialle is very much one of them. He heads up Le Questel, one of those “happy places” we had the privilege of discovering recently. In fact, it’s a very happy place – a place of warmth and good humour where the emphasis is on sharing.
A trendy French bistro
Le Questel sits on Place Questel in Nîmes, just 50 metres from the famous Maison Carrée temple. It’s the place to be right now – a truly inspiring bar and bistro, right in the heart of the city, that’s built a great reputation despite being open just two years. What’s the secret of its success? A well-balanced menu featuring yummy food, unrivalled service, and a terrace that’s always packed, winter and summer alike. That might have something to do with the fact that the owner, Jimmy Vialle, has chosen to kit out the place with Fermob furniture, which he calls “chic and sturdy”.
Home-made, French, and nothing else!
At Le Questel, everything is home made. And everything is French, too – even the furniture – as epitomised by the blue, white and red flag on the logo. The restaurant sources fresh produce from local producers: artisan cold cuts from Ardèche and meats from Lozère. Sound good? That’s not all! The fish come straight from the local fish market, while the gin is distilled in Montauban. And that coffee you can smell wafting across the terrace from 10 o’clock in the morning? It’s wood roasted – a method that’s something of a rarity these days. But you don’t need to travel all the way to Uzès, where it’s made, to get your hands on some. Simply head to Le Questel instead!
Share and share alike…
Le Questel does away with the traditional starter, main and dessert format. Serving up a bistro-style menu at lunchtime, the place undergoes a transformation in the evening. “Every item on our dinner menu is designed to be shared,” explains Jimmy in an accent that’s a delicious as the traditional French food he serves, such as frog’s legs. Pierre Verot, a young chef who trained under Stéphane Bégué at the Atelier des Gourmets, brings a side of beef and a roast chicken to the table and starts carving. The restaurant’s sharing mentality builds a strong sense of community. “One evening, tables 17 and 18 ended up dining together,” says Jimmy. “In winter, guests often eat their boiled beef or lamb shoulder straight from the cooking pot!” This comes as no surprise because, between you and me, dining at Le Questel feels just like eating at home.
Generosity in spades…
The place shares many similarities with Fermob – and it’s not by chance.
Jimmy is the very embodiment of generosity. It shows in the sharing dishes he serves, and in the warm, friendly service that lies behind those imposing doors. His keenness to keep his guests happy is abundantly clear. And if you mention that you’re one of the FermobPeople, he’ll even treat you to a delicious glass of organic wine on the house*! Jimmy’s also happy to tell us about his two favourite places in Nîmes. So here they are!
Jimmy’s top spots in Nîmes
*L’Imperator, Maison Albar Hotels (recently opened):
“Enjoy Pierre Gagnaire’s cuisine in the stunning garden, and sip cocktails at Hemingway’s, named after the writer who stayed there. They’re simply divine!”
*Master cheese-maker Vincent Vergne, who this year received the MOF award for France’s best cheese-makers.
“We source our cheese from him at Le Questel. I love what he does. He very much follows tradition. You can find his produce in Nîmes market hall or at his store on Avenue Pompidou, where his ripening cellars are located. Vincent also serves up Franche-Comté cold meats and Jura wines.”
If you have any favourite places to recommend in Nîmes, we’d love to hear about them
*Terms and conditions: A free glass of organic wine, until 31 December 2019, if you mention the word “FERMOBPEOPLE”. Maximum one glass per person, for tables of up to four guests.