There are few settings for dinner in the south of France that can be more delightful than the terrace of the charming Art Deco-styled Hôtel Belles Rives on the shores of the Mediterranean at Juan-les-Pins.
Originally known as the Villa Saint Louis, back in 1925 this was the summer residence of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda. In fact, it is said to have been here that Fitzgerald conceived his last novel, Tender is the Night.
The Villa Saint Louis became a hotel in 1929, and has been lovingly run by the same family since then, which explains the intimate atmosphere of the property, one of the best places on the French Riviera to experience the quiet glamour of the coast that enchanted the writer some ninety years ago.
Young chef Yoric Tièche, who previously worked with Yannick Alléno when he was chef at Le Meurice in Paris, Alain Llorca when he was at the Hôtel Negresco in Nice, and Alain Solivérès at Taillevent in Paris, won his first Michelin star this year. His cooking is of course sophisticated, yet it is also delightfully uncomplicated and decidedly Provençal.
Dining here recently, the stand-out starters were a tartare of Mediterranean shrimp with braised artichokes, and ravioli stuffed with robiola (a creamy Italian cheese) and garnished with a sauce of pears and celery. Roasted turbot in a foamy butter sauce with local asparagus and roasted langoustines seasoned with ginger, and accompanied by beetroot and cabbage with a light curry sauce were bright with flavour, beautifully plated and intriguingly original.
The desserts by pastry chef Steve Moracchini were superb as well, including a lemon soufflé and a pastry of honey and pecans with bee pollen ice cream and candied pearls of parsnip (yes, parsnip). Tender is the night, indeed.
La Passagère, Hôtel Belles Rives, 33 boulevard Edouard Baudoin, 06160 Juan-les-Pins, Cap d’Antibes. Email: [email protected] Tel: +33 04 93 61 02 79. Dinner only. Prix-fixe menus €55, €85, €120; average à la carte dinner for one €100. www.bellerives.com
From France Today magazine