Restaurant Christophe Bacquié, Hôtel du Castellet, 2

October 25, 2016

When we dined three years ago at the Restaurant Monte Cristo in the Hôtel du Castellet, we were very impressed with the cuisine and resolved to return. Since then, the restaurant has been redecorated and renamed after its chef, Restaurant Christophe Bacquié. Linda and I went for dinner on September 23, 2016.

The redone dining room has well-spaced tables and a quiet, modern ambiance. The champagne cart arrived shortly after we did.
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On the advice of the sommelier we chose a Duval Leroy special blend designed to the taste of our chef. It had more complexity than most Champagnes and we enjoyed it.

The hors d’œuvres arrived. From the right, in the order we were told to eat them, were a fennel, anchovy combination in a spoon; a little tartelette of orange and mackerel, sardines on a pastry puff, a little wafer hanging over the edge to be eaten with the very good fish soup.
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There were also two puffed-rice wafers with a topping I cannot recall.

A cast iron pot arrived containing two buns of warm, steamed tomato/olive bread. The butter is from from Finistère and the olive oil for dipping is local.
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We chose the menu Au Fil des Années. This menu is composed of some of the chef’s favorite dishes from his career. “Mes plats affectifs composent ce menu.» There are two other menus, one all seafood, but no à la carte option.

We ordered a bottle of Clusel-Roch Condrieu. Very good.

The amuse-gueule was an array of small seafood tempura with a sabayon for dipping. The sabayon needed to be used sparingly as the tempura bites were quite delicate.
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The first course was
Saint Pierre – Tourteau – Caviar « Osciètre »
Crème acidulée parfumée d’un zeste de combava

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A disk of flaked crabmeat was topped with caviar. This was rich and delicious. Alongside were pieces of Saint Pierre and dabs of a kaffir lime cream. These were hard to appreciate with the substantial crab disk. A little bowl of crab soup was served, to be drunk afterwards, as it had a very strong crab flavor.

Then we were served a sliced loaf of yeast bread made with spelt flour.
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Merlu de Ligne – Truffes
En filet, cuisiné au beurre mousseux, pomme de terre/truffe- condiments
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A chunk of hake sat on top of a truffled, buttery potato mousse. The truffle flavor pervaded everything, including the little brioche served alongside. Very good.

Pigeonneau au Sang « Excellence Mieral »
Cuit en pâte à sel épicée, jus acidulé au vinaigre de myrte sauvage
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A squab had been roasted inside a salted, spiced pastry dough. After carving, the breast and thigh were served on top of a pigeon glaze with myrtle vinegar. A soufléed potato was perched on top.

Alongside the plate were spring rolls with braised squab meat, a bowl of a sort of risotto and more soufléed potatoes.
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These served nicely as intermezzi to help us slowly enjoy the rich squab.   

The pre-dessert was a faux calisson, a confectionary specialty of nearby Aix-en-Provence. Underneath was an almond purée. A scoop of melon sorbet was topped with “tuile royale,” royal icing.
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These ingredients matched the traditional recipe exactly, but in a dessert mode. Clever and good.

The dessert was
Soufflé Chaud « Cazette »
Crème glacée aux grains de Cafés « Torréfiés »
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A fresh, warm soufflé of roasted hazelnuts was topped with a little round of chocolate. Alongside was a scoop of coffee ice cream and chocolate hazelnut “cigarettes.” Excellent.

The mignardises were lemoncello bonbons, a hazelnut cake with hazelnuts underneath (nutcracker furnished,) and little creampuffs.
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Chocolates finished things off.
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The meal was excellent. All the dishes were good with top quality ingredients, imaginatively prepared in combinations that worked well. The service and pace were just right and the noise level nice and low. This restaurant is rumored to be a candidate for a third star in the next Michelin Guide. This meal would merit it.

We had turned down the optional cheese course, but enjoyed seeing the cheese room where one goes to compose it, as we had done the last time. 
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In the morning we enjoyed the lavish breakfast buffet in the “Orangerie.”
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http://www.hotelducastellet.net/en

We stayed in Room 201 on the upper floor of this close, outlying villa. It was quiet and comfortable.
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To see our blogpost on our last stay and meal at the Hôtel du Castellet click here. It has some background information on the chef and the hotel.

 

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