At the foot of Mercantour mountain passes, Louis-Philippe Riel (ex-6 Paul Bert) and Alexis Bijaoui (ex-Garance in Paris and Dan Barber in New York) have taken over the kitchens at the Auberge de la Roche, crafting a sensational menu in the process. From inside the open kitchen with a view of the stone fireplace, the duo and their accomplice Mickaëlle Chabat sent all of the following out the night we went: a slice of flash-seared sea bream with glazed leek, sprinkled with wild herbs from the garden and served with a sensational pepper brioche; amberjack crudo with locally foraged elderflowers, stuffed zucchini blossoms and diced calf’s head with béarnaise sauce, beurre blanc and roasted celery; an incredible grouper caught off the coast of Croc-de-Cagnes, paired with roasted eggplant and a tuna sauce poulette; achingly tender veal from the nearby village in a hot satay sauce, intensified by chard and Piedmont hazelnuts; a cheese plate served with homemade sourdough bread; before an almond milk tuile served with a divine apricot sorbet, then a comforting coffee ice cream with a crumble-style cookie. Overall, nothing short of mountainous! // Laëtitia Sayre
FEELING THIRSTY? Natural! All natural! An Aveyron red from Nicolas Carmarans (€52 a bottle), a Savoie white by Jean-Yves Peron (€74), a Barolo from Ferninando Principiano (€95)… and after your meal, an organic verbena liqueur from the artisan Lachanenche distillery (€8 a glass).
PRICE: Menus €36 (lunch) and €90 (4 amuses-bouches, 7 courses dinner).