La Table du Cap, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat 2

May 31, 2008

Last October we had an excellent meal at La Table du Cap under its new chef, Laurent Poulet. It closed shortly afterwards for renovations and we had not had a chance to go back until May 29, 2008, when Linda and I went with Kees and Els.  We were surprised to see that the old ground floor dining room had been turned into a cocktail lounge. We climbed the stairs to the former loggia, which has been turned into the main dining room.

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We were seated at a table with views down the coast to the east and of the town of St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
 


A platter of hors d’oeuvres arrived: very fresh cherry tomatoes with a dipping salt, little canapés of smoked duck breast and other goodies.
 

At our request the chef came to our table because we wanted to order the 80 € Menu Inspiration du moment… Menu composé, imaginé, au moment avec Vous. He gave us several choices for each of the eight courses and we composed the menu together.

  

We ordered a bottle of Château de Crémat, one of the best white wines from Bellet, the nearby wine growing area. Unfortunately it turned out to be the last one in the cellar; for our second white wine we had a 2006 Cuvée du “Pressoir Romain,” (Saint Jeannet) also a local wine. For our red wine we had a 2005 Château des Demoiselles, a Côtes de Provence wine owned by the proprietors of the well-known Château Sainte Roseline. They were all very nice.
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The amuse-gueule


was a delicious caramelized roasted half-eggplant with sea salt.

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The vegetable starter


was a stuffed round courgette (zucchini,) slices of courgette, a little toast with a courgette topping, arugula and parmesan. A good light, but not boring, dish.

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The fish starter


was a perfectly seared scallop in a velvety cream of cauliflower. Excellent.

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The fish course


was lotte (or monkfish) and a slice of fennel braised with star anise served with a beurre blanc combined with the fish juices. A fine balance of complementary flavors.

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The meat course

 
was rack of Sisteron lamb, roasted in a cage of herbs, served with a creamy vegetable risotto. This lamb comes from the pastures in the Alps above the town of Sisteron north of Nice. It is supposed to have grazed on mountain herbs and grasses. It was delicious and needed no sauce or further enhancement. The risotto was quite bland, which was okay.

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The cheese course


was three pieces of perfectly ripe flavorful cheese served with a little plate of garnishes: a nutmeg/walnut butter, a “spice bread” butter, a braised garlic clove and a relish of raisins and shallots.

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The predessert was a bitter orange emulsion with a chocolate stick.

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The dessert


was three variations on strawberries, now in season from the nearby town of Carros: in a cool soup with almonds and mint, fresh with a little biscuit and crème fraiche, as a sorbet with an almond tile.

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The mignardises


were presented on a spectacular tray with a bonsai lit from below. They were interesting and delicious, an appropraitely fine ending.
 

The meal had been superb: good ingredients cooked with imagination and flair and beautifully presented. Unfortunately, there was another aspect to the evening, which should not detract from the excellence of the chef. The service was somewhat amateurish. Both bottles of white wine arrived unchilled, the first after a fifteen minute delay.  Worse than the service problem was that, except for our table and another of two diners, the whole restaurant had been given over to a loud high-testosterone dinner of twenty investment bankers starting a new division of Barclay’s Bank. They should have had the restaurant to themselves, as they thought they would. Had we been told of the situation when we called to reserve, we would have chosen a different evening. But the big noise was a one time event and we think that Laurent Poulet is one of the best chefs now on the Côte d’Azur.

www.laurentpoulet.com/
fr/restaurant/latableducap.html

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