La Chèvre d’Or is a stunning luxurious hotel with perhaps an even more impressive location. Hundreds of tourists browse daily through the medieval Eze village high in the hills above Monaco and Cap Ferrat. Some visitors look for art, other for architecture and there are many who take the challenge of walking on the cobbled stones in nice (ladies high-heels) shoes as they head to La Chèvre d’Or’s gourmet restaurant. No wonder the restaurant attracts so many food connoisseurs. With two stars in the 2012 Michelin guide, panoramic views over the Mediterranean and picturesque Cap Ferrat with yachts cruising around its curves lining the sea, the Chèvre d’Or is on the list of must-dine-at places of many travelers to the French Riviera.
Chef: Fabrice Vulin is not only inventive, but he also creates novelties rewarding your taste buds with complex and enjoyable flavors. In one dish one can find dozens of interpretations of one central idea – be it vegetables or a meat dish.
Ambience:Elegant, romantic and breathtaking views. If you are lucky enough to sit at one of the window tables you will delight in a view that not many restaurants in the world can match. Reserving these tables though might be a tough nut to crack. Unless, you book it weeks ahead, and in high season even months ahead, you will be happy dining at any table in the restaurant as the food is so good. The walls are decorated with unique paintings reminding you that you are in one of the most important art villages in France. Since the restaurant is inside, you do not need to worry about mosquitos, wind or cold night temperatures which you might consider if dining at the hotel’s second, more casual, restaurant – the Eden. No need to wear a robe, but clean well-presenting clothes are appropriate. As you can see, the man on the picture below, got away even with a polo shirt!
Food: Complex, unexpected and generous portions for a gastronomic restaurant. Dining at Le Chèvre d’Or does not come cheaply, on the other hand though there ar not many two Michelin-starred restaurants serving satisfying sizes of their portions. I can guarantee you will not leave the restaurant hungry, craving a pizza at a nearby stand. My American friends, who were dining with us, were astonished over their portions “at a French restaurant”. Comparing the dining experience to a Thanksgiving dinner, that was perhaps the highest compliment a restaurant can get.
Already the appetizers overwhelmed our senses with complexity and joy from each bite. The Capunatina d’Aubergineswas just incredible. I cannot remember when I had such an intricate dish, where each mouthful tasted slightly different! Well done Monsieur Vulin, since this was one of the best appetizers in my life. The vegetables, including the chopped aubergine on the base, were interspersed with various herbs, pickled seasonal mushrooms and even tiny piece of a cheese as one bite had revealed. Despite being an adventurous spirit in terms of food, I would order it again, if I went to the Chèvre d’Or.
Another generous appetizer was Le loup, l’Araignee de mer, le caviar d’Aquitaine. Sea bass with a sea crab and caviar from Aquitaine. Looking like a slice of caviar cake with juicy crab lining, it was a quirky dish, yet so interesting. I wonder how many ingredients the chef had put into this creation. From seafood, vegetable, herbs, sauces and even flowers one could find numerous facets of the white Mediterranean wish, the sea bass, which was the core ingredient. Excellent with champagne or a mineral white wine such as Chablis or Puligny-Montrachet.
The main courses were no less elaborate. La sole de Méditerranée cooked in papillote (wrapped in baking paper) with Noilly Prat (dry vermouth from South of France) and lasagna aux coquillages(mussels) had a delicate texture enhanced by a creamy sauce with the Noilly Prat vermouth. The small lasagna accompanying the fish were exquisite. With mussels marrying flowers and herbs in one’s mouth, I would exceptionally legalize polygamy in this marriage of three perfectly matching souls. The seasonal mushrooms then were just like a best man to the ceremony of flavors. Assisting with their juicy and rich flavor in the lasagna church filled with mussels, flowers and herbs. The dish was about multiple flavors in a harmonious relationship.
The meat afficionados might be seduced by a Veau de Corréze. This veal from Corréze is roasted for two people and served with a cassoulet of vegetables, seasonal mushrooms and young potatoes. A portion for a lumberjack will surely not disappoint even the biggest eater and provides enough energy for the entire day. The meat was succulent, delicate and rich in flavor. As the waiter kept bringing small pots with accompanying vegetables, mushrooms and young potatoes, the brows of the two gentlemen kept rising. They have managed it well though, sated and sighting with pleasure.
With a desert tray approaching our table, I thought I might be the only one succumb to the temptation of the sweet delicacies. The sweet kingdom in front of our eyes seduced all four of us, including the two veal eaters. One forgets quickly how much he ate after seeing something so delicious. I got three pieces – a dark chocolate based one to appease my chocolate addiction, a delicious pistachio creamy sensation with berries and silver leafs, and a tapa-size cookie topped with two fruity layers and a cap of a red strawberry. They were all great, although the pistachio mini cake was my favorite.
Cuisine: French gourmet
Visit: July 2012
Price: Very high (main courses around €100, a la carte menu €180 without drinks).
Drinks: Going local we got a bottle of La Chapelle de Sainte Roseline 2007 Cru Classe, Côtes de Provance. This intense red wine was dominated by Grenache, typical for the South of France, and refreshed with a spicy kick if Syrah. Not an ideal but a fun and enjoyable wine for all of our dishes. The wine list features most of the big players in the wine world, although it is focused on France. I highly recommend to everyone to get an aperitif outside at the bar terrace just below the restaurant. The fresh breeze and sunset with all the colors flashing on the sky guarantee a very special start of your unforgettable dining experience.
Contact: +33(0)4 92 10 66 61
Opening hours and seasonal closure: Open for lunch and dinner from March 08th until November 24th; closed from November 24th till March.
Address: LA CHÈVRE D’OR – Rue du Barri – 06360 Eze Village, France