La Villa Madie, Cassis
July 14, 2015
La Villa Madie was founded in 2007 by Jean-Marc Banzo, who already had two Michelin stars at Le Clos de la Violette in Aix-en-Provence. In 2013, having moved Le Clos into a hotel, he turned the kitchen of La Villa Madie over to Dimitri Droisneau and his wife, Marielle. They had met in the kitchen of La Réserve de Beaulieu, where they both worked, he for seven years. In 2014 the Droisneau took over ownership of La Villa Madie and it earned a second Michelin star. Dimitri Droisneau says: “I feel good in this house. My cuisine is more positive, liberated and even unleashed. My plates have less need for complexity and concentrate on the essential.” That sounds good to me. Linda and I went to La Villa Madie for dinner on June 3, 2015.
We were seated at a table on the edge of the terrace with views of Cap Canaille, the Mediterranean and the sunset over the town of Cassis.
Linda is squinting facing the setting sun.
We decided not to order a local wine from Cassis, although we enjoy it and bought two cases the next morning as we started our drive home. This Condrieu from François Villard was more complex and assertive. It was lovely with the cuisine.
We ordered the menu Ballades Entre Terre et Mer.
La Primavera de Homard
Asperge Verte de L’Ami « Sylvain Erhardt »
The asparagus spear, the peas and the pea purée were seasonal, fresh and good, but the lobster, which is not from this region, seemed to lack flavor.
Flanqué d’une Ecume Iodée au Combava
The Mediterranean sea bass, dressed with a kaffir lime foam, had a good, fresh flavor. The seasonal vegetables alongside added some crunch and variety.
At this point the sun had dipped below our horizon, but still shone on the top of Cap Canaille, which was being hit by low clouds. We could watch the snorkelers and a fisherman, still active in the bay. The restaurant’s lights came on, but my photos will now be a little darker.
Le Rouget de Méditerranée
Finement Grillé, Amandines et Fenouils Moelleux au Safran de Roquevaire
The quickly grilled rouget filets had a crispy skin. Underneath was sort of a saffron mayonnaise or rouille. A broth like a fish soup was poured around them. Almonds and fennel added some variety. The combination was good, but I thought that the broth had too strong a flavor for the delicate rougets.
Le Pigeon Royal Maine Anjou
Légumes Cuisinés à la Feuille de Cerisier Pastilla de ses Cuisses
The pink pigeon breast was juicy and good along with its pool of glaze. The piece in the back which looks like a mushroom is actually a disk of braised pigeon leg meat on top of a turnip cylinder. It was delicious and a perfect match with the breast and the little onions and garlic clove cooked in a cherry leaf, as if we were in Japan in April. Very good and not just your ordinary pigeon dish.
La Brousse du Rove
This soft, fresh cheese is made from the milk of the local Rove goat. The toppings were good, but I do not remember what they were. This is a good size cheese course for a tasting menu. There was a cheese trolley for those who ordered à la carte.
The meal was very enjoyable. It usually was seasonal and regional, always a good formula. The cuisine followed the chef’s intention I quoted in the first paragraph of less complexity, concentrating on the essential and allowing the ingredients to shine through. The ambiance was superb; the service was very good, although the pace near the end was slower than I would have liked.
The moon, a few days after full, rose over Cap Canaille as we drove back to our hotel.