Bacon, Cap d’Antibes
November 27, 2012
In 1948, in this beautiful setting, the Sordello family started a stand selling pan bagnat. Two years later they opened a fish restaurant here. In 1979 it gained a Michelin star, which it still has. Linda and I had not been there for many years when we returned for lunch on October 10, 2012, after stops at the Ceramics Biennale in Vallauris and the Marché Provençale in Old Antibes.
The restaurant is on the Boulevard de Bacon along the east side of Cap d’Antibes with a view back to the old ramparts of Antibes. Claude Monet painted these views from nearby in 1888.
As it was a lovely day, the restaurant seated us outside on the terrace with the same view.
This is a shot from my seat with my little camera on telephoto setting.
In both the second Monet painting and my second photo you can see the Fort Carré to the right of the ramparts and castle of Antibes. This was France’s last line of defense to the southeast before its annexation of Nice in 1860.
We ordered glasses of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Champagne to start. At lunch there is a 55€ and, our choice, a 85€ menu with two or three options for each course.
Many people come to Bacon for the big bouillabaisse, which some say is comparable to the famous bouillabaisse at nearby Tétou. A smaller version of this was offered in our menu, but we chose the “bourride,” which we thought would be just as traditional and not as heavy for lunch. We ordered a bottle of 2011 Domaine du «Paternel» , a white wine from Cassis, west down the coast near Marseille. It was just right with the seafood.
The Amuse-Bouche was a mini pan bagnat.
This traditional sandwich of the region refers back to Bacon’s origins. It was a small round bun with tuna and chopped crudités of a salade Niçoise.
Our first course was
Salade de Poisson Cru aux Herbes .
This was very nice. The raw fish, which they said was white seabream or sargo, was lightly dressed with lemon and topped with roquette, chervil, tomato cubes, saffron croutons and other good things.
At the table next to us an impressive loup de mer was presented by the patron.
After some discussion, it was decided to serve it as pavés dressed with basil butter.
Our main course was
A bowl of aïoli and a plate of saffron-flavored croutons were put on the table. I was quite surprised by the “bourride.” It was a good saffron-flavored fish soup, but it was finished with cream. A real bourride is made by whisking the fish broth into aïoli with extra egg yolks added. This creates a rich emulsified soup. It does not use any cream. The aïoli added from the bowl helped a little here, but the effect was disappointing. The vegetables are authentic except for the out-of-season asparagus; the potatoes are usually served on the side. The fileted fish, mostly under the broth in the photo, were very good. We were told that they were a mixture of rouget grondin, lotte (or baudroie, locally,) daurade, rascasse and vives.
Linda’s dessert was
The millefeuille texture was excellent and its filling not too sweet.
My dessert was
Nougat Glacé au Coulis de Framboises
This was okay, but it was an understated version of nougat, which didn’t stand up to the strong raspberry coulis.
There was a little plate of mignardises which I enjoyed with my coffee.
We enjoyed ourselves as the quality of the fish was excellent and the ambience could not be more perfect, but I am still shocked that a restaurant with this reputation and tradition would take such a shortcut with the bourride.