Even with the Covid-19 crisis, at Littleboboon we were able and lucky to go to excellent restaurants and eat very good food.
Eventhough, our travels were limited to France and Portugal, here are our selection of the best restaurants in 2020 :
Mi Kwabo (Ellis Bond) - Paris - France
Nancy Bourguignon (Nancy Bourguignon) - Paradou - France
Alain Llorca (Alain Llorca) - La Colle sur Loup - France
Le Clos de la Glycine - Restaurant David (Metty Talassia) - Roussillon - France
Maison Hache (Christopher Hache) - Eygalière - France
Fanfan (Julien Burbaud) - Paris France
Château de la Gaude (Matthieu Dupuis Baumal) - Aix-en-Provence - France
La Table de Sorgues (Stéphane Riss) - Sorgues - France
Check-In (Leonel Pereira) - Faro - Portugal
Al Quimia (Luis Mourao) - Albufeira - Portugal
Trouver un hôtel dans une France Covidée et sous couvre-feu pour une escapade en amoureux fin décembre 2020 dans le sud-est fut un parcours du combattant, car non seulement nous souhaitions que l‘endroit corresponde à nos critères habituels (design et luxe sans ostentation) mais il fallait aussi qu’il puisse nous servir une cuisine de qualité. Heureusement, après de longues heures de recherche, nous avons trouvé le Graal avec l’hôtel b. Design dans le village de Paradou en plein cœur du Parc Naturel Régional des Alpilles, à proximité du village de Maussane et à une quinzaine de kilomètres d’Arles.
L’hôtel est tenu par la famille Bourguignon : André, sa femme Nancy et leurs enfants Vanessa et Victor. Un hôtel à l’ambiance familiale où il fait bon se faire chouchouter par les hôtes.
Notre Junior suite est aérée, sobre, chic et minimaliste, agrémentée d’une superbe terrasse qui donne sur le jardin. La salle de bains (presque plus grande que la chambre) est une merveille avec sa superbe et immense baignoire, idéale pour se prélasser dans un bain en duo tout en sirotant une bonne coupe de Champagne. Et si vous n’aimez pas les bains, la sublime douche à l’italienne vous tend les bras.
L’hôtel est doté d’un spa luxueux qui propose des soins signatures et un espace bien être avec salle de fitness et un hammam. Il y a également une piscine extérieure chauffée l’hiver mais actuellement fermée, hélas, pour les raisons sanitaires que nous connaissons.
L’autre point fort de l’hôtel est le restaurant gastronomique. Au piano, Nancy Bourguignon pratique une cuisine simple, minimaliste et de saison. Cuisson millimétrée et saveurs parfaitement dosées subliment le produit. Pour les gourmands, le chef pâtissier (et mari de Vanessa Bourguignon) est à la fois inspiré et parfaitement maître de sa partition.
La cave du restaurant est garnie de très belles références et, pour les petits buveurs, une très jolie sélection de vins au verre.
Contre toute attente, l’hôtel b. Design est le lieu parfait pour une escapade romantique en Provence.
B. Hotel Design & Spa
1 chemin de l'Ancienne Voie Ferrée
Tél: +33 4905458866
During our visit to Albufeira, we were looking for a place to pee for our kid, we stumbled on this place called Sal Rosa. It was an a bsolutely fabulous cosy bar, terrace overlooking the beautiful sea and fantastic beach. Sal Rosa has great views, great cocktails, great playlists and pure artistry.
Sal Rosa is a great place for a pre dinner or post dinner drink, and to watch the sun go down. Sal Rosa is the kind of address you wish to keep it for yourselves and above all it is run by a wonderful young and very nice lady.
Sal Rosa is one of the kind of address and a must do in Albufeira!
Al Quimia was one of the two high end restaurants in Algarve that we really wanted to try, but when we called to make the reservation, we were told that, unfortunately, they do not accept kids under 12 years old.
After explaining who we are and that our 10-year-old son is very much used to eating at premium places Michelin-starred restaurants they finally gave in to our request under one (costly) condition: our son would have to get the degustation menu just like us. We find it really too bad that high end venues like Al Quimia or five-star hotels like Epic Sana are not kids friendly. They should understand that gourmet children like our son are their future clients…
But let’s talk about Luis Mourão’s cuisine at Al Quimia: for our dinner on October 21, 2020 we opted for the menu Floodplain which consists of seven dishes plus the usual amuse-bouche and mignardises.
The first amuse-bouche, the faux olive and carrots served in a small garden pot, was amazing in terms of flavors, and technique also. The rest of the menu was wonderful: from the Black Angus to the mushroom-looking brioches served with three different textures of mushrooms; or from the duck with purple cabbage and pumpkin to the lamb with truffles cooked two different ways. Last but not least, the desserts: citrus with basil and carrot pickles, and orelys mushroom and pear were the perfect ending to this very nice culinary journey proposed by Luis Mourão and his team.
The wine list was extremely interesting and reasonable in their price range. Wine pairing also available.
Al Quimia obviously has the ambition to obtain their first Michelin star. Our experience with them convinced us that indeed they do deserve it, for their creative and well-conceived menu, and for the refined setting and ambiance.
The service was nice and knowledgeable. However, client service needs to be improved. When our son accidentally popped the faux olive bonbon, spilling its juice on the table, the waiting staff continued to bring the dishes as if nothing had happened, and did not do anything about the stained napkin until we asked them to. They need to fix that if they really want that first Michelin Star...
Epic Sana Algarve Hotel
Pinhal do Concelho, Praia da Falésia,
Olhos de Água
8200-593 Albufeira, Portugal
Tel : +351 289 104 300
One of our main goals during our trip to Algarve was to go to eat at Sao Gabriel in Amancil, the one star Michelin restaurant of Chef Leonel Pereira, but we learned that he had closed it to open a new concept called Check-In, in Faro. So we decided to go check out Check-in!
This new concept can be defined by three criteria:
Informal and accessible refined cuisine for all
The best seasonal ingredients and produces from Algarve and other Portuguese regions
Sustainability, to manage and caliber the food waste.
We actually had to walk through a kind of run down and funky area of Faro to find the place, but once inside we had a warm welcome by our host Delfim João and the sommelier, Victor.
The menu is divided in five categories :
Cooked in Pot “Snacks”
Special Moments “Snacks”
For Check-in “Snack” we chose the salmon tartar with capers, celery, “buddha's hand” cider, ginger and dry squid oil, and Foie gras sauté (1 unit of 80g.) quince compote and shimeji mushrooms. Both dishes were amazing, incredible flavorful and perfectly cooked.
For the Cooked in Pot “Snacks” we selected the tuna belly “Portuguese style” with potatoes, onions, olives and pickles, and the Secretos of Iberian pork with prawns and Padron peppers. Once again it was wonderfully prepared and cooked.
The best dish was without a doubt his signature dish from his Sao Gabriel days: Squid and crayfish with black ink risotto. This dish was a knock-out in terms of flavors and textures, every ingredient was so tasty and masterfully cooked. Amazing. Even better than the risottos we used to have at Aoko Maoki, a French restaurant with a Japanese chef, that used to be near the Champs-Elysées in Paris and is now closed (unfortunately).
We finished our dinner with a light and tasteful Check-Out “Snacks”: Greek yogurt and cottage cheese mousse, vanilla violet ice cream.
The wine list was concise and well sourced, but we recommend that you let Victor, the expert sommelier, guide you through it as we did.
The service by Delfim João and Victor was smooth and instructive.
We really enjoyed the new concept by Leonel Pereira and his team. The setting is modest but the cooking is ambitious and good. Most of all, the chef and his team make it worth the trip. So come to check out “Check-In” this cozy, warm and delicious place. You won’t regret it.
Ave Da Republica 40
Tel : +351 968 070 776
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