Simone et Paulette
Simone et Paulette? Two grandmothers for the price of one sweet Arles lunch! We’re talking about Caroline Pons (ex-Chez Caro) and Jean Réno’s former cook, Numa Muller (who also designed the menu for the restaurant Arles in Amsterdam) of course, who are united by the sacred bonds of friendship. Located along the bypass around the old part of town, they’ve filled their window display with good things for “feasts and parties,” and are open every weekday at lunch. What can you expect? Ceramics in the kitchen, folding tables, cutlery stored in pots and a blackboard menu composed of nine dishes inspired by the adventures of the globe-cooking Muller, a chef whose cuisine is as voluble as it is rooted in the local terroir. The Monday of our visit: soft-boiled eggs and mayonnaise infused with scrubland herbs (€4.50); white asparagus served warm with a Banyuls vinaigrette and bottarga from Martigues (€9); an exquisite bowl of soba noodles in vegetable broth sprinkled with nori powder, peas, flat beans, and eggplant roasted with miso and tamarind (€14); and an incredible rice pudding topped with crushed hazelnuts (€6). As for the drinks, there’s craft beer produced in Arles (€4.50) and good wines at refreshing prices: a Loire red from the Domaine de la Garrelière (€6 a glass), a white Cevennes from the Domaine de Cressance (€22 a bottle), etc. At night, you can rent out the space for eight guests minimum – starting at €38 per person, not including wine. // J.G.