My last three posts on Cannes restaurants will focus on our favourites: Maître Renard, Le Pistou and Astoux.

We have dined at these establishments several times during our visits over the past several years and wouldn’t miss them for the world.

Maître Renard in the old part of town — Le Suquet — is located at 4 Rue Saint Antoine.

(Photo credit: Maître Renard)

The name is the equivalent of ‘Mister Fox’, a nickname for the animal. It is also a play on words, as Philippe Renard owns and runs the restaurant.

On his Michelin Restaurants page, Renard tells us that he spent six years — 1976 – 1982 — as a chef on boats undertaking oceanographic research. As such, he has travelled the world and brought what he learned to Cannes.

Renard is also a huge jazz fan and features live music later in the evening. We were there one Sunday when he had a terrific young singer and pianist entertain the dinner crowd. She — and the food — were one of the big highlights of that trip.

On our earlier visits, we always made reservations at lunchtime for dinner. Renard is always there, which is good to see.

This year — June 2015 — we didn’t reserve a table. We went on a Monday, a slower night in town, which is strange given that a number of restaurants are closed.

We had our choice of tables on the terrace which has an awning in case of rain. A young waiter, eager to please, took care of our table.

Maître Renard has a prix fixe menu of €18 for lunch and a €34 one for dinner. For some reason, I asked about substituting a starter item. (This isn’t quite the done thing in France, although wait staff are more flexible these days.) Our waiter said, ‘With me, everything is possible!’

There were four of us that night. For a starter, SpouseMouse ordered a delicious ‘heart’ of salmon. Our two guests and I ordered the house made duck foie gras, about which we all raved. It’s one of the best in Cannes and perfectly seasoned.

For our main course we all ordered the Mediterranean sea bass — loup. The generous fillet of tender, yielding fish was accompanied by an assortment of local vegetables. It was a delight.

Dessert at Maître Renard means only one thing for the two of us: the three crème brulées which come to the table flambéed. We’ve never seen anything like it. Furthermore, it takes a minute or two for the flames to die out, so it’s a great spectacle.

The crème brulées come in three flavours: vanilla, fresh berries and coffee. Each is perfectly sized and eminently flavoursome. This is the dessert of a lifetime. Once seen and tasted, always remembered!

To drink, we had a reliable regional rosé, Château Sainte Béatrice.

But that wasn’t all!

Our waiter told Renard that he was so impressed with our demeanour and command of French that Renard told him to bring us the house vanilla liqueur steeped in aromates for a complimentary digestif!

It was gorgeous. What an honour to have had a glass of this off-menu item!

With that, another delightful and memorable dinner at Maître Renard drew to a close. Paying the bill — €200 for four (a bargain) — and leaving was such sweet sorrow. Our guests wholeheartedly agreed. The atmosphere was easygoing and fun.

We’re already looking forward to our next visit!

Two things Renard should note, however.

One was the small sprig of fragrant jasmine which came with the sea bass. I asked our waiter whether it was edible. He immediately went to the kitchen to check and returned within seconds to say that it was not; it was there just for the fragrance. He added that we would be ill if we ate it. That could be dangerous for another patron! Don’t put anything on the plate that can’t be eaten — especially if it could make someone unwell!

The other was the state of the lavatory, which, whilst basic, was always functional. Now it is something out of the Third World. Whilst the toilet works — thank heaven — the basin had no running water! Although there was an antibacterial wash on hand, there was also no note of apology taped above it. If they haven’t already done so, the staff need to get this fixed pronto.

That said, we’ll be back!

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