La Bastide de Capelongue, Bonnieux
June 16, 2015
La Bastide de Capelongue is a Relais & Châteaux hotel with a Michelin two-star restaurant within the larger Domaine de Capelongue on the heights above Bonnieux in the Luberon in the heart of Provence. Linda and I went there for the night of June 1, 2015.
Édouard Loubet grew up in a family of chefs in an Alpine ski resort. In 1992, after working in several prestigious kitchens, Loubet opened Le Moulin de Lourmarin, down the hill from Bonnieux. At age 24 he became the youngest Michelin-starred chef in France. Linda and I had enjoyed our meal there many years ago, before blogging.
In 1997 Claude, Édouard’s mother, acquired Bonnieux’s highest farm, to which the chef transferred his restaurant. They have since bought the neighboring farm where they opened another hotel, restaurant and tourist apartments.
When we came down from our room for dinner, we were seated outside on the terrace with its well-tended garden and a view of the upper part of the nearby town of Bonnieux.
This was the view, but I took the photo in the morning because before dinner the setting sun left the hillside in shadow.
Then we moved into the dining room. We were seated with the same view into the setting sun. Eventually lights were turned on in the garden so we were not just facing black glass, but photography became more of a challenge. This was the view of the dining room behind us.
The first course was
« Aestivum » en Croûte
Relevée d’un Coulis de Maïs à la Mélisse
Pop Corn Poivrés et Feuille de Pimprenelle
A whole summer truffle had been baked in a puff pastry crust. It rested on a liquid bed of sweet corn and a little licorice. There were fresh popcorn and truffle shavings scattered on the crust and liquid. Burnet leaves provided the green garnish. Summer truffles do not have a pronounced flavor, but this method of cooking preserved what there was and this was a successful, mild dish.
Asperges Vertes de “Roques Hautes ”
Relevées d’une Crème Tournée à la Sarriette
& Bisque d’Oursins
The seasonal, local asparagus spears were served on a frothy cream of sea urchins with a scoop of thick cream flavored with summer savory. The mild, but evident, sea urchin flavor was an unusual combination, but worked very well.
Ecrevisses Pattes Rouges en Vinaigrette Douce,
Algues de Nori & Santoline
Une Bisque d’Ecrevisses au Lait d’Amande de Lourmarin
Crayfish were in a foamy bisque of crayfish and almond milk. They were dressed with a few strips of nori seaweed and cotton lavender.
Saint Pierre Mi- Cuit à l’Immortelle
Jus Marin à l’Helichryse
Croûtons Frottés à l’Ail et Ail Nouveau Confit
Lightly cooked pieces of Saint Pierre had been dressed with a fish glaze flavored with a local yellow flower. Garlic had been rubbed on the round croutons; a confit clove was also alongside.
Pomme de Ris de Veau Saisie au Pamplemousse
Jus à l ‘Eucalyptus
Pommes de Terre Soufflées et Salade d’Endives
A sweetbread nugget was served with a Eucalyptus flavored sauce, pink grapefruit pieces, soufléed potatoes and a chopped endive. This dish did not work for me, although the sweetbread piece was nice.
Pigeon des Alpilles Saisi aux Aromates des Champs
Son Foie en Tartelette
Relevé au Petit Lait de Roquette du Ventoux
The pigeon had been grilled over aromatics. It was served on a foamy arugula sauce. The liver was in the little tartelette in the back. Alongside was a Gratin de ma grand-mere, thinly sliced potatoes slowly cooked in cream. Very good.
Les Gâteries de Notre Pâtissier
The pre-dessert was
Soupe d’Angelique, Crème de Brousse, Pot de Jasmin
Ananas Victoria rôti au sirop d’iris, une crème glacée au persil, chibouste d’iris et fleurs cristallisées en chips
Roasted pineapple wedges were served with candied iris petals and a scoop of iced parsley cream on top of a pastry cream.
Soufflé au Cèdre des Crêtes du Haut Luberon
Sa Glace aux Clous de Girofle
A soufflé flavored with cedar buds was topped with clove ice cream and crisp little pastry nuggets.
Our meal was a real treat. The chef concentrated on fresh, seasonal local ingredients, including many aromatic herbs from his garden. The combinations were frequently imaginative, but not overly complicated. They all worked well for me except the grapefruit with the sweetbread. That could be the exception that proves the rule as it was hardly locally inspired.
The service was always friendly and efficient. The pace was just right. The ambiance excellent.
Then we drove into Bonnieux to visit two shops we know.
This is the view of the Luberon Valley from upper Bonnieux near the lovely shop Aux Doigts de Fées (That is not the same church that is in the photo from La Bastide above.)