Of all the Alpine resorts in France, Megève is certainly among the most charming, for its setting, architectural harmony and relative absence of commercialisation. The beauty of this stylish mountain village aside, there’s recently been another reason to visit, which is that it’s emerged as a serious gastronomic destination, one with an outstanding three-star restaurant, Les Flocons de Sel, plus a variety of excellent casual tables.
This season, Megève’s unmissable gastronomic address is Le 1920, the restaurant at the Hotel Chalet du Mont d’Arbois, where 28-year-old chef Julien Gatillon was recently awarded a Michelin star, for his suave, elegant and beautifully executed contemporary French cooking.
The dining room itself is a charming place for a meal, with a delightful 1920s vintage mural of skiers on one wall, a coffered wooden ceiling and chocolate-coloured leather upholstered tub chairs at white linen-dressed tables. Gatillon trained in Switzerland and in Paris with Yannick Alléno when he was at Le Meurice, and this impeccable culinary education comes through in delicate but richly flavoured dishes such as a starter of lemongrass-spiked bouillon with crayfish, and fillet of Fera, a fish from Lake Geneva, flattered by a light jus de veau (reduction of veal stock) with preserved lemons.
Since many people are in Megève to ski, the heartier dishes run to an irresistible roasted leg of lamb for two with puréed trompette de la morte mushrooms and pommes soufflés or veal sweetbreads with a timbale of bucatini pasta with ceps. The Chalet du Mont d’Arbois is owned by the Rothschild family so, en hommage, the menu’s starring dessert is a ‘soufflé Rothschild’, which is made with candied fruit and served accompanied by an orange salad.
The service is excellent but relaxed and friendly, in keeping with the atmosphere of a mountain chalet, and the wine list offers some real treasures from the Rothschild vineyards in the Bordelais.
Le 1920, Hotel Chalet du Mont d’Arbois, 447 chemin de la Rocaille, 74120 Megève, Tel: +33 4 50 21 25 03. Open daily.
Based in Paris, restaurant columnist Alexander Lobrano has published a new book, Hungry for France, along with a new edition of his popular Hungry for Paris. Find these books and more in our bookstore.
From France Today magazine