I keep coming back to this one. Not because its outstanding in any way. But I like the mediterranean style, and the fact that most dishes I can reproduce in some fashion. They are not heavy on details, but heavy on a nice Provence feeling, olive oil, tomatos, truffles.
The huge room almost gives a ballroom feeling.
The chef Christophe Petra, (still holds on to his one michelin star) greeted us warmly as did the rest of the staff. Even the sommelier came over better than on previous visits. The wine list is still heavily over-priced. But they kept the menu price since they opened a few years ago – 69 eur. And for this price you get 3 rounds of amuses, 3 fixed small starters, a main course where you may choose from 4-5 dishes, a huge cheese trolley and finally a dessert variety served on a tray at your table and completed with sorbets and caramels, complementary sweet wine or champagne. This menu is presented by Christophe Petra himself, he is a very impressive figure, big man, big smile and he seems to really enjoy this presentation. Afterwards, you will see him standing like a director of a choir or like Lord Nelson, directing a battle.
I love this style and the open kitchen lifted from floor level, gives one the impression that everyone in the kitchen knows what they are doing. Maybe they are. We asked for a 2007 Vosne Romanee from Michel Gros to join us through the evening. And it did so very nicely. Showtime…..
After the first amuse of 2 glasses (truffle and potato) came this beauty
Roasted baguette with truffles and sea salt, fantastic. Heavy on olive oil, followed by another truffle dish, a truffle mocca.
Very tasty, very good companion to the autumn rain and cold that comes with Mid-October around here. Inside the “mocca” there was small scallops, I do not know the correct term for these, fingernail sized scallops.
First dish of the menu
I loved the presentation – perfectly cooked scallop with a small reduction of yellow, red and green peppers on top spring onion and choriander. Lovely. The pure and simple arrangement is what I meant in my opening lines, – this is not more fancy than I can try and reproduce it on a good day, and thus Le Sud is very good for inspiration.
This one was a beauty on the plate but unfortunately the taste was very flat. The mushrooms could have used some kind of pepping up…the red tapenade (?) too bitter, and the quail egg on top overcooked. We did not finish it, and this was noted by the young waiter – who could have justen taken it away. But we explained that it was simply not as interesting as the other dishes and therefore we chose to pass.
This one was sesame coated shrimps on a very firm and creamy risotto. Not my best risotto ever – by far not, but the dish worked somehow, the crispy coating of the shrimps with the tender flesh and creamy risotto.
Again a very “sunny” dish, the Tuna being presented as medi-cuit, was still a bit too cooked for our taste, and therefore this plate was not finished either. I had the rack of lamb, which was average, but a bit spoiled by a fibre that ran through half of the meat. So I left that on the plate, and again this was correctly noted and excused, this time by the Maitre, who afterwards presented the dish to one of the chefs in the kitchen, but nothing further was done. But I like when you get a feeling of being taking seriously even when it is minor flaws.
After this the cheese trolley came, I opted for 3 small pieces, 2 choices by me and 1 suggestion from the maitre. All very nice.
On prior visits a HUGE cake and dessert trolley would now have entered the room, but as mentioned above this has now been replaced by a more simple and more manageable serving on the table.
The amuses all top, the starters mostly very good, small set-back on the main dishes, nice cheese and sweets. I still like the unpretentious style of the food. For me the highlights were the amuses, the starters and the cheese. The service was better than on previous visits. Still there is room for improvements and correctly cooked tuna, flawless meat would have given a figure more in my judgement. I had to serve myself the wine on one occasion, but hey – I am a big guy and can take care of myself – I will not hold that against the service, but instead be happy that comments and critic were directy delivered to the kitchen and note that the overall quality of the service seems to have improved.
My rating for this visit: Food 7p (10), service 4p (5), ambience 4p (5), total score for this visit 15p (20)
Still worth a visit – I shall be back Mr. Petra, thanks for having us.