Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Assiette des saveurs, Bandol

This translates as plate of flavors. We ended up at this place because of our son who wanted a pizza as a child meal. We walked along Bandol streets but didn't want to spend a fortune on a pizza place. We came across l'Assiette des saveurs and I was worried a bit seeing a menu with pictures, a sign of a touristy place, but as a few families were having dinner there, we decided to try. They offered a free aperitif. I chose a kir and my husband a beer. I had much better kir in Bandol, but no complaint since it was free.

There was a menu for 18E and mussels for 10-12E. I decided on Royal Mussels including foie gras and mussels, St Jacques, fish, giant gambas and some other sea food I couldn't identify. My husband went with lamb. Our son chose a pizza. The service was good, as they had many waiters. We were seated at one of the tables from where we could see the kitchens and their work was spectacular to see. There were 7 people working in much limited space to deliver all meals. They managed to get may be a 100 people with their promotion and waiters staff.

The pizza was ordered from the neighbor pizza place and was good according to our son. I got even more worried when I saw the big platters served and when my order arrived it was a huge platter of sea food, then they came back with another bowl of salad and foie gras. I got really concerned when I heard a person speaking English next to us as I suspected this a touristy place, however the rest of their table spoke French among them.

The salad was lettuce with balsamic vinegar with a slice of foie gras pate on toast. I didn't realize they served all sea food with same yellow sauce with coconut milk. The mussels were perfectly cooked, the fish was to my taste with garlic and olive oil, but there were not much of it. Now I can understand the sauce for the St Jacques, they were colorful and well cooked. But this same sauce although it was on on mussels, wasn't as good on the rest of sea food. The Gambas had sand in them, and really didn't taste well with this sauce. There were some unidentified and completely tasteless sea food. For 24 E this was like an appetizer and an entry. Because of quantity and of the sauce it made me think of numerous North American restaurants pretending to cook sea food, but really don't know how to cook it. Nothing was really bad, but all together it was too much food and just mentally it couldn't be high quality. It is usually difficult to prepare a big quantity and a good quality food. My conclusion was it was the sauce that made it too much. The foie gras was just good, but we could get a better one even at supermarket. So, for Provence and Bandol the overall meal wasn't excellent, just ok to good, but there are better and cheaper places in Bandol. I felt guilty at first as I didn't finish my plate, but felt better when I saw people not finished their salmon, and a few changed their desert order for a lighter fondue au chocolat, rather than a cake.

My husband received his lamb rack and is was beautifully presented. It came with potatoes mixed with something he couldn't identify, and tajine of eggplant. Just by looking at his plate it was more attractive, and the lamb was rose and good according to him.

All accompanied by a half a bottle of a local rose wine. So, if you like big platters of food in North American style, this is may be a place for you. After eating at so many places in France and having no less than very good to excellent food, this seemed bland to us.

Cafe Marine, Bandol

I was looking for a sea food platters and often they are offered for 2, but my husband doesn't like raw sea food. So we came across this cafe and were seated at the terrace facing the fountain and the port. My platter of sea food was big and I had hard time finishing it. My husband chose the aioli which was also big. Sea food was served with red vinegar with onions, bread, garlic sauce, butter, mayonnaise on a side and lemon. I only used lemon and red vinegar which highlight the taste of sea food.

K'art Bandol

It was a windy evening and we decided to seat inside. As this was on July 14, most restaurants had tables reserved including the K'art. As we were seating the restaurant filled up, and many people had to come back later to get a table. One group forgot to mention a child and the restaurant couldn't accommodate a bigger table, as it is very small.

We ordered the 18E menus. Our choice was anchois a la catalane, onglet de boeuf saignant and creme brulee a la citronelle, with a good half of Bordeaux wine. Our son with his traditional steak and fries, and an included lemonade. Asked to cook more the steak hache.

The anchois were marinated and served with red bell peppers marinated as well. Delicious.

The onglet was very tender and perfectly cooked and came with delicious potatoes. Our son enjoyed them very much too. Followed by a delicious creme brulee.

Excellent quality for 53E.