One of our new gastronomic discoveries in Cannes this year was Le Bistrot Gourmand, a stone’s throw away from Marché Forville.

It is located at 10 Rue Docteur Pierre Gazagnaire.

(Photo credit: Trip Advisor)

Looking at the photo, note the discount supermarket next door. Right next to it is the market.

On the other side is — or was — a bar called Les Pénitents (if I remember rightly). This is a nod to the Chapelle de la Miséricorde, which is just across the street from the market and clearly visible from Bistrot Gourmand.

Not far from Les Pénitents is the railway line at the end of the street, busy with commuter and long-distance trains covering the Côte d’Azur. I counted 15 roaring by during our dinner!

It’s a quirky yet historic setting in the oldest part of Cannes.

Guillaume Arragon is the young chef and owner of Le Bistrot Gourmand. His talent and effort has propelled the establishment into the Guide Michelin, Guide Hubert and the Association Française des Maîtres Restaurateurs.

Marc, considerably older, runs the front of house. He is the classic Mr Grumpy of French maître d’s. Unlike the waiters at Le Rendez-Vous, there’s no making friends with him.

A friend of ours who had read the latest must-go restaurant listings in Britain’s Daily Telegraph suggested that we eat at Le Bistrot Gourmand.

Our visit mid-week in June 2015 was a delight. Considering its accolades, it was fairly easy on the pocket as well. Dinner for two came to €102.90, which included a bottle of Château la Calisse (rosé), an AOP Côteaux Varois en Provence from the Cuvée Patricia Ortelli. (Var is the wine-producing département next to Alpes-Maritimes Côte d’Azur.)

Like the owner of Le Bistrot du Suquet, Chef Arragon sources his food locally, particularly from the Marché Forville.

He offers two menus, the Menu Décourverte at €22 and the Menu Gourmet at €32.

We chose the latter. Both of us started with courgette flowers, coated in batter and deep fried, which were filled with fresh goats cheese from the Var. These were nothing short of heavenly. They were much lighter and crisper than those at Mantel, and the yielding, unctuous goat’s cheese melted in the mouth. We could have easily managed another plate!

We then moved on to the steak tartare with matchstick fries. Actually, these are comparable to the old-fashioned thin fries done in beef dripping, the way McDonald’s used to prepare them until the 1980s. I do not know if Arragon is the fry king or if he has an assistant. The chips are fabulously crisp on the outside and stay that way until the end.

The steak tartare was perfect in texture and flavour. I make it at home a few times every summer, based on SpouseMouse’s suggestions. Anyone in a similar situation would do well to order it at a reputable restaurant if or when they visit France, just as a reminder of how it should be done. The texture should be coarse — just blitzed — never fine like ground beef.

For dessert we both had lemon tart ‘revisited my way’. As the first two courses were spectacular, we were willing to try a deconstructed creation.

https://ugc.1001menus.com/2/2/5/2/8/2/1/2/4/4/6/1412366002_457/d305c56580414ca4c126297c8f3360e9.website.jpgWe were not disappointed. SpouseMouse is still talking about it.

(Photo credit: Le Bistrot Gourmand)

A light yet satisfying caramel sauce is on either side of the tart, topped with equally light, melt-in-the-mouth meringue strips.

The tart itself is to die for. The crust is very short, meaning that it’s unbelievably buttery and crispy, like a thin shortbread biscuit but much better, if such a thing can be imagined.

The creamy yet firm lemon custard, if one can call it that, was fresh, tart and unctuous. It defies description. We’ve never had anything like it.

We will definitely return to Bistrot Gourmand and highly recommend it. This was SpouseMouse’s favourite new restaurant on this trip.

A few closing comments. We dined on the terrace. Whilst it is noisy, you get to watch the local street scene. Certain French people prefer to eat inside. An older woman, with her family in tow, bumped into SpouseMouse on the way in — no apology or anything. She and her entourage monopolised Marc’s attention much of the time. How the conversation flowed. Would that he shared a bit of that warmth with the patrons outdoors. His manner alone prevents me from giving five stars to what is a particularly outstanding restaurant on the Cannes scene.

Also, Bistrot Gourmand often takes pre-booked groups of tourists, conference-goers or students. Therefore, the noise level might be fairly high. A large group of American students with their teachers dined indoors on the evening we were there. (They arrived after the Frenchwoman and her family were leaving.) I hope they expanded their gastronomic knowledge and appreciation!

Noise and Marc aside, Bistrot Gourmand should be on the restaurant list of everyone visiting Cannes. It has some of the city’s best food.

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