La Table de la Réserve, Beaulieu-sur-Mer

May 26, 2015

La Réserve de Beaulieu has long been one of the renowned luxury establishments on the Côte d’Azur. Its famous restaurant once had three Michelin stars; it now has only one, but is starting an effort to rise back up. Alongside this high-end effort the hotel opened a gastrobistro earlier this year, La Table de la Réserve. The chef is Anne-Sophie Sabini, promoted from sous chef since 2012 at La Vague d’Or, the three-Michelin-star restaurant in La Réserve’s sister hotel, La Résidence de la Pinède in Saint Tropez.

Linda and I joined Daniel and Nicole for dinner at La Table on April 29, 2015. We were surprised on arriving to find that the genial sommelier at the glamorous Restaurant des Rois of La Réserve was now the headwaiter at La Table.  He was even more welcoming here.

We started with glasses of Champagne. They were followed by a bottle of Louis Latour Pinot Noir de Bourgogne.  The à la carte menu offered three choices in each of starters, pastas, fish, meats and dessert.  A basket of excellent coarse bread was put on the table. 

Daniel and Nicole’s first course was
Tête de veau, sauce gribiche.
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They thoroughly enjoyed this round version of a bistro classic served with a small salad and a mayonnaise with chopped pickles and capers. 

Linda and I had
Pline à la bourrache,
beurre de sauge et pousses d’épinard
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The fresh ravioli were filled with a purée of borage and pinched shut. They were dressed with a sage butter and young spinach leaves. This is a typical pasta from nearby Liguria. This was a pasta course portion and so quite large for a starter. Very good.

Daniel and Nicole went on to
Daurade rôtie sur la peau,
fenouil confit safrané et tomate
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A piece of fresh dorade had been roasted on its skin. It was dressed with a saffron cream sauce and topped with confit fennel and tomato.

Linda and I had
Effilochée de joue de boeuf,
sauce « marchand de vin », purée de carotte

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These “cannelloni” of shredded braised beef cheeks were very rich. They rested on a bed of carrot purée and were dressed with a classic red wine and shallot reduction sauce. They were good, but hard to finish after the copious pasta course. 

Dessert for all four of us was
Baba au Rhum
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The plastic bulb was for inserting rum inside the sponge cake. The server also poured around as much good rum as one wanted. Nice.

This was the view in the front room as we passed through it on the way out of the back room. A small kitchen is sufficient for the limited menu. There are also tables on the terrace outside the front door, but beware of smokers at the next table.
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We returned to La Table for dinner on May 9, 2015, with Suzy and Jean-Pierre.
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This was the view from my seat in the back room though into the elegant front driveway of the hotel. We ordered a bottle of Vielle Ferme Rouge.
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This low-end Côte de Rhône from the Perrin family of Château Beaucastel is always pleasant.

Suzy started with
Légumes du moment marinés à l’huile d’olive et marjolaine, beignets d’anchois.
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The various vegetables were dressed with a marjoram flavored olive oil. There were also little anchovy beignets to spark things up.

Linda had
Œuf en gelée, saumon fumé.
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This classic, simple dish of a boiled egg in gelée, on a base of smoked salmon, was a good, light dish.  It was served with a dish of tapenade and a small green salad.

Jean-Pierre had the Tête de Veau (see above.)

I had
Petits farcis niçois.
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Natives of Nice know that there are many recipes for petits farcis, but that their mother’s recipe was best. Traditionally the stuffing was made with leftovers. It included ham and veal, crumbs of stale bread, an egg to bind it etc. These farcis had none of that. There were chopped vegetables which were hard to identify in the stuffing of the round zucchini, tomato and onion.  Underneath was a tomato sauce with parmesan shards and black olives. I enjoyed this even though I wish they had used a different title if they were not going to be traditional.

Suzy went on to
Epaule d’agneau confite, semoule aux amandes torréfiées.
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She really enjoyed this dish of braised lamb on top of a couscous disk with roasted almonds.

The other three of us had
Brandade de cabillaud au caviar de hareng.
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This fresh, somewhat coarse, cod brandade had lovely flavor enhanced by the crunchy toast bits, dill and the scoop of herring roe.

We did not have dessert.

We returned again for dinner on May 15, 2015, with Kees and Els.
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Behind them you can see Daniel, the genial maître d’hôtel, taking a bottle from the wine cooler which covers the entire wall.

As usual, we started with glasses of Taittinger Champagne.
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The bread basket this evening offered sesame bread along with a traditional baguette.
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We ordered a bottle of the Louis Latour Pinot Noir de Bourgogne.

There were a few new items on the limited menu. 

Els started with
Soupe de concombre au lait de coco.
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The cucumber and coconut milk soup was quite thick with a lovely flavor.

Linda had a
pizzette : tomate/mozzarella/bresaola/riquette.
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This small pizza starter was what Linda had hoped: a great crisp crust with a light but excellent mix of cheese, tomato and bresaola.

I started with the Tête de veau.

Kees had the
Cannelloni de tomate,
farcie de ricotta, basilic et pignons de pin.
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He said that shaping cannelloni from fresh, good tomatoes was a tour de force. The ricotta, basil and pine nut filling was just right.

Els went on to
Blanquette de lotte,
pommes grenailles à la vapeur de citron vert.
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Monkfish and new potatoes were in a saffron fish stock. The potatoes had been steamed over lime juice giving them a welcome acidic touch.

Linda had the
Daurade rôtie sur la peau, fenouil confit safrané et tomate
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The flavorful daurade had a perfectly roasted skin. The slice of fennel underneath was very well cooked and flavored, a welcome compliment to the fish.  Beautifully plated.

Kees had the Tête de veau for his main course.
I had the
Epaule d’agneau confite, semoule aux amandes torréfiées.
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The braised lamb shoulder was luscious and full of flavor. Kees told me that the shoulder is the best cut of lamb. The aromatic couscous underneath was a traditional and perfect accompaniment. The lamb glaze also added a rich touch. This was a substantial and good dish.

For dessert Kees and I had a pistachio and strawberry pastry.
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We are delighted that La Table has come to our town, Beaulieu-sur-Mer.  It is accessible in several ways: reservations, cost and friendly informality. At the same time the cuisine is of a consistent high standard. La Table is perfect for a relaxed evening out with friends. One can order as much as one wants, choose wine from the top or bottom of the list and know that there will not be disappointments.

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