Les Deux Rocs is our favourite lunch bistro in one of the most beautiful villages in Provence. For almost a decade, annually our pilgrimage through in time perched Provencal villages passes through Seillans. This quaint, in stone carved village with a charming bastide and from the heat retreating houses has attracted artful minds to its residency. Doisneau, the dreams evoking French photographer quarried inspiration and peace here.
Hotel des Deux Rocs nests on the crest of the old village, where you can drive through a narrow road or push your bicycle hard uphill and park right next to the restaurant cum sleepover. There, the beats of the Fontaine d’Amont, the violins of cicadas and chiming church bells conduct a live orchestra helped by the hands of nature. Under shade-casting plane trees spiking around the burbling fountain you will eat seasonally and well during the warm months. Cooler weather lures inside the Deux Rocs cosy dining rooms appropriate for the seasonal experience.
Chef Julien Beaudoire is “well-versed in the traditional cuisine of Provence” sourcing from selected local farmers, hunters and fishermen in the nearby Mediterranean. Depending on the mood the fresh food is served on colourful Fayence plating, spread on wooden trays or artistically elevated, like on a canvas, highlighting all its natural colours and sauces on pure white plates.
The menu glued on a wooden plank is written in French, but the staff will eagerly explain the plates in a broken english. The food tastes great, luscious yet creative while respecting the greatness of its ingredients, and that should be the main concern any honest diner should have. If you are an allergic, the meal at Deux Rocs may pose a challenge, but with Google translate one can climb mountains, navigate jungles, and stave off health threats.
Petites glass verrines of fresh foie gras, desserts, dips and olives spark any meal, while the daily changing lunch menu (starter & main or main & dessert) available outside of weekends and holidays, stirs curiosity, casts away boredom and for €22 in France is a great deal. I often start with a creamy velouté with seasonal vegetables and generous richness of an added fish or a piece of protein. In spring, green peas with pine nuts, asparagus or artichoke with hazelnuts grace this soup with a smoked fish or duck.
When the asparagus season still reigns the crème de parmesan accompanies their green crunchy spikes in another entrèe.
Local snails (Escargots) crawling on the lush meadows are served in small pots à la “montre moi tes cornes” meaning literally show me your antennas, don’t ask, I was scared of being served snails alive so never ordered them.
Fresh herbs from local gardens with a pop up of fried onions or roots decorate most of the generously flavoured yet smart-sized dishes at Deux Rocs.
The main plates are mainly meaty – local lamb, veal, duck, but also tender Landes chicken that we had most recently, are all small bites rather than hunting trophies of the paleo men. Rarely I see a vegetarian plate, but the starters, if not vegetarian in their nature, can be adjusted. Served with vegetables, confit of garlic or onions, herbs or like the chicken with its reduced jus, baby carrots and shelled peas. The supreme of roasted pigeon with its stuffed tights is not as bloody (more typical in France), but you can ask to have it cooked well. My husband relished it despite not being really a pigeon fan.
The Mediterranean (Var Department is the same department as St Tropez and is about one hour drive, Nice airport about 45 min) is within reach, so seafood pops on the menu too. I had the delicate cod Filet de cabillaud fumé sous vos yeux et légumes anciens meaning the fish is being smoked in front of your eyes and accompanied with superb local vegetables like artichoke, radishes, and roots. Saffron cream is also sometimes served with fish or rice.
For dessert we like the local goat cheese board or the fresh faiselle (similar to a creamy cottage cheese) served with honey from the beehives in nearby Mons. Sometimes we order the cafè gourmand with a changing trio of small desserts that perfectly accompany a pot of herbal infusion or coffee.
If you order a bottle of provencal white or rose, it will be chilled in the icy running water of the fountain. We like the local organic white by Jas d’Esclans or the rose by Château de Pampelone by St Tropez. Les Deux Rocs is the place where you must have some wine with lunch, the light summery intoxication just lingers in the air. The list is tight, but with dinner the Château des Sarrins or Cuvèe Eva by Val d’Iris just minutes away from Deux Rocs work just fine. Sip on the mighty beverage that sends your head into the clouds before the sun sets, while something in the air whispers: stop thinking, enjoy the serenades of nature and set your mind free by having a glass or two of by the sun blessed wine.
After the lunch meal visit either Val d’Iris or Domaine du Clos Notre-Dame, since both wineries front the village as you make your way back towards Fayence. Also, the artist studios in Seillans allow for chasing the Apollo’s Muses instead of the bacchanalian indulgence of Dionysus.
Off season, when the indoor restaurant operates closed from Sunday dinner to Tuesday lunch
High season (May-Sep): Closed Saturday & Tuesday for lunch, all day Monday