18 November 2007

Le Bistro Latin

18 rue de la Couronne,
, France

Ph: +33 (0) 4 4238 2288

I was de-virginised in Aix-en-Provence. No, I wasn’t whisked away by a sexy Frenchman on a Vespa but rather I had my first foie gras experience.

I’d been lolling around the south of France for five days but until the very cute and oh-so-French Aix-en-Provence - one of the main towns in the renowned Provence region - my French culinary exploits had been limited.

It was in Aix-en-Provence that I stumbled across le Bistro Latin and it took me about a millisecond to make plans to return for its degustation menu.

The cute restaurant has a tiny dining room on the street level and another space downstairs. French artwork and fresh flowers set the scene but I was there for the food. For a very reasonable 31 euros we dined on four courses but it was the first – the foie gras – that got the juices flowing.

Large chunks of foie gras in a slice of terrine were served on a large, rectangular plate with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper, a conficture d’oignon (onion confit) and slices of toast, which were still warm from the grill when they hit our table. The fois gras was everything I had expected it to be: rich, plump and deliciously tasty.

I could have had four serves of that but it was not to be. Instead I moved to filet de boeuf (steak) with a rich mushroom sauce, caramelised cabbage (weird I know but trust me, it worked) and a selection of vegetables. After three weeks in the carb-loving Croatia, my body was craving red meat and this dish certainly delivered.

Number three on our menu was two small turrets of fresh goats chevre with rocket and half a cherry tomato. Once again, the presentation was superb and set of with a drizzle of olive oil. Simple, tasty and oh-so French.

Our finale was a selection of desserts including a profiterole, fruit salad in a brandy basket and the piece-de-resistance, a crème brulee with a hint of green tea, ginger, ginseng and citrus.

Each tasty morsel was as good as the rest and even though I was quite full from the previous three plates, there was no way I was leaving any of these three sweet treats on the plate.

They say your first time can sometimes be a little unpleasant. But Le Bistro Latin and its foie gras did nothing other than leave me drooling for more.

PS. If you happen to find yourself in Aix-en-Provence, I can highly recommend staying at Hotel le Manoir (8 rue d’Entrecasteaux, Aix-en-Provence. Ph: +33 (0) 442 26 2720). And the best part, it’s only a stone’s throw from le Bistro Latin. Bon appetit!


- Zoe

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