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La Table du Chef might be the last Cannes restaurant that I’m writing about, but it is hardly the least, although the kitchen might be the smallest commercial one in the city.

This little gem of a place is located off the rue d’Antibes at 5 rue Jean Daumas, a quiet side street with an antiquarian booksellers, a gentlemen’s outfitters and a pharmacy.

My Far Better Half (FBH) and I first visited this fine restaurant in 2017, in an effort to escape the buskers on rue Félix Faure. Our plan worked brilliantly!

We visited La Table du Chef twice in 2017 — and twice more this year.

2017 — first visit

My notes from our first visit say that their menu surprise — chef’s choice — was €45 for four courses (without wine). The menu changes every two to three days depending on what is on offer at the city’s large market, Marché Forville.

I also noted that there is no refrigeration in the restaurant.

Our dinner was so good that I wrote ‘WOULD RETURN’.

Starter

We began our repast with a creamy carrot velouté (soup) with undertones of fennel. It came with one grilled jumbo prawn — gambas — and chopped chive.

I am still thinking about it to this day, it was that good.

Second course

The second course was a thick rectangle of calamar — squid — with a crab and sea bream (dorade) foam. It was accompanied by julienned red and orange bell pepper slices and julienned chorizo underneath the squid.

We are still wondering how the chef managed to cut such a thick portion of calamar.

Main course

We had duck breast — magret de canard — resting on a bed of truffle risotto topped with a light honey-duck sauce reduction. It was heavenly.

Wine

We enjoyed a bottle of Cassis Bodin 2014 from the Abruzzi family (€38).

Dessert

We had one of the best apple ‘crumbles’ I’ve ever eaten. The apple was diced and seasoned with cinnamon. The apple was placed between three sesame tuiles — as light as a feather — and topped with pistachio whipped cream.

It was an amazing finish to a spectacular meal, and I’m not the world’s biggest dessert fan.

2017 — second visit

We went a few days’ later, taking into account that the menu surprise would have something different, which it did.

My diary notes read, ‘MET OMAR, THE CHEF — worked in London for two years’. He, FBH and I enjoyed a cigarette break together. We were one of the last tables to leave, and he was on his break. In those five minutes, we put the world to rights.

Starter

We had another incredible soup, just as good — possibly better — than the carrot velouté from a few days earlier.

Omar made a creamy courgette soup with chive and olive oil drizzled on top.

It was beautifully presented with delicate stripes of balsamic and chive sauce drizzled down the centre, where he had placed a small round of goat’s cheese topped with tiny bits of gherkins — cornichons — and, possibly, garlic.

It was one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten.

Second course

Omar prepared a fusion dish of sweet and sour salmon with aubergine, accompanied by ratatouille, pesto and olive oil.

What a revelation. This man knows his flavour combinations.

Main course

We enjoyed chicken from a small farm in the Ardèche region. It came with black rice risotto and summer truffle.

Wine

We had a bottle of Chateau Roubine, Cuvée Lion et Dragon 2016, a white AOC Côtes de Provence Cru Classé.

Dessert

As we had never before sampled the sweet, creamy brioche treat named by Brigitte Bardot, we very much looked forward to trying the Tarte Tropézienne with raspberry coulis.

We assume the restaurant purchased it from the Tarte Tropézienne shop near the market. Alexandre Micka, the inventor of the Tarte Tropézienne, has several of these shops around France, which are well worth a visit if you fancy a break from shopping or want a satisfying dessert to take home.

Unfortunately, by the time we got our Tropézienne, it had dried out around the edges. That said, we were grateful for the opportunity to try it.

2019 — first visit

We could hardly wait to return to La Table du Chef and, as we had done in 2017, made reservations for each of our visits.

The price per person for the four-course Menu Surprise is still €45.

Bruno Gensdarme, the young owner, welcomed us and said he remembered me: ‘You were the one who wrote everything down!’

Indeed I did — and with great pleasure.

We sat indoors as it was breezy and cool outside. The décor is one of relaxed elegance.

One table had a foursome of two older, upper middle class French couples. The men had their pullover sweaters draped around their shoulders. All four wore designer spectacles.

Another table of note was the well-dressed French family: Mum, Dad and their two daughters. The elder daughter was probably 16 and seemed embarrassed to be seen with her parents. However, her expression softened once she began eating, and halfway through dinner, her face lit up as the main course arrived. She was a happy camper.

Starter

Omar made another delightful courgette velouté, this time served with a plump, grilled scallop in the centre.

It was perfect.

Second course

The second course was cod fillet served with a lobster accompaniment, garnished with a carrot flavoured Romesco sauce.

On the side was the silkiest cauliflower purée I’ve ever eaten. I would gladly have had a bowl of that. Talk about food memories!

Main course

We had roast loin of veal which came with a luscious fig sauce and a beautiful potato purée.

The meat was tender and perfectly cooked. The potato purée was not the usual runny French one, but creamy with just the right amount of texture.

Wine

We enjoyed a bottle of Côtes du Rhone Crozes-Hermitage, Les Launes 2017 (€39), from the Delas estate in Tournon-sur-Rhone.

Dessert

Someone had the bright idea of serving verrines for dessert!

I am hardly the world’s No. 1 verrine fan, but this was extraordinarily good! It was made of apricot, rosemary-flavoured whipped cream, with a lashing of caramel sauce, accompanied by a wafer-thin tuile. I would love to have taken a box of tuiles back to our hotel, they were that exceptional.

2019 — second visit

We ate outdoors once again, as we did in 2017.

The Cannes Lions advertising conference participants were arriving, and we had a table of four American women sitting near us. One of them was a pure vegetarian — no fish — but not a vegan.

This is not the place to go if you have a laundry list of dietary requirements.

Bruno Gensdarme was surprised when she announced her vegetarianism.

‘You don’t eat meat — or fish? But, but … That’s not good!’ Good man! He was nice about it, too, and did bring her something veggie.

What follows is what the woman missed out on.

Starter

Omar whipped up another one of his amazing soups. This was a thick, unctuous cream of mushroom soup with a seared portion of lobe of foie gras in the middle.

I will remember it for a very long time to come.

Second course

We enjoyed fillet of sea bream — daurade royale — over risotto served with three sauce reductions: red wine, balsamic and chives. It sounds mad on paper, but it really works on the plate — and the taste buds.

White fish and a red wine reduction go surprisingly well, by the way — as does veal or beef gravy.

Main course

We enjoyed saddle of lamb with fig sauce and Omar’s potato purée.

Wine

We had a bottle of Cotes de Provence Cru Classé red, Rimaresq 2016 (€39). Read more about Rimaresq halfway down the page here.

Dessert

Omar came up with another outstanding verrine.

This one was made up of raspberry and mango with a pistachio tuile. Again, I would have given nearly anything for a box of tuiles to take back to the hotel!

Additional notes

If you go, please take a moment to read the articles about Bruno and Omar that are in the restaurant window.

Bruno worked for the legendary chef Guy Savoy early in his career. Gordon Ramsay, incidentally, is another Savoy protégé.

La Table du Chef’s Facebook page gives you an idea of the décor and general atmosphere.

TripAdvisor gives the restaurant 4.5 out of 5.

Needless to say, we’ll be booking reservations when we next visit Cannes!

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