Chef Christophe Dufau’s aptly named new restaurant Les Bacchanales is the talk of the Côte d’Azur this winter. Some find the young chef ‘s contemporary French cooking cheeky, even insolent, but most customers seem to appreciate his sassy culinary wit and the Zen atmosphere of his all-white dining room with globe lamps and beechwood tables. Well warned after friends in Nice had described his cooking as “un peu trop Ferran Adrià,” we were pleasantly surprised by an amuse bouche of crunchy flying-fish eggs in almond milk—at once curiously soothing and stimulating, like many of Dufau’s creations—and we loved his main dishes of veal sweetbreads with pomelo, and lamb with Jamaican pepper, Hokkaido pumpkin and rhubarb. Ultimately we decided that even though Dufau may share Ferran Adrià’s desire to surprise and entertain, in fact he’s much more interested in the final composition of tastes in any given dish than in showy theatrics. In other words, he’s a very talented young chef, whose admirable Gallic trait of self-discipline in the kitchen in no way encroaches on his imagination or creativity.
247 ave de Provence, Vence, 04.93.24.19.19. €45 per person without wine
Originally published in the December 2008 issue of France Today