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A la Colthard

Over these past few days we have been to several restaurants varying in luxury, price and cuisine and voila my report.

I won’t add more to the Grand Hotel  Cap Ferrat, its location at the tip of the Cap is sublime and the service, cuisine and comfort superb. My spaghetti nero (in cuttle fish ink) could have been more piquant with a touch of chili but the fish soup and Mille Feuille with berries  both  delicious.

Friday night we tried Lou Pisto, a restaurant du Quartier near to the girl’s flat in the Old Quarter. The restaurant du Quartier is a neighbourhood restaurant but signifies a local place with reliable food, off the tourist and gourmet radar. We ate heartily, with a vegetable soup with pesto, a generous escalope Milanese and sorbets. Les girls had salads and pizzas. It has a elderly husband, the chef, and serving wife team. The restaurant was miniscule which explains its only defect, lack of comfortable chairs and space. However a welcome break from fine dining.

IMG_0816Yesterday les girls and I went for a pampering spa at Hotel Cap Estel. This hotel, beloved by those “who want to be alone”, cherishes its reputation for privacy.

When I booked the spa I was told we would be the only three visitors to it.

Again it had breathtaking views which stunned les girls.

IMG_0821The infinity pool was gorgeous and we all enjoyed a massage and use of the facilities.

Bob said he had visited the place in the sixties and met the family who owned it.

It was now in the hands of the South African Lewis family. We were obliged to have a set lunch which was never going to appeal to our two girls, one who does not eat fish and the other meat.

It was the type of cuisine I dislike: intricate flavours, ornate presentation, long descriptions of the food, small helpings. This modern trend of very odd flavours like carrot purée in the desert or beetroot ice cream in the starter is not for me – nor, as one of the girls  observed, would it suit most spa users.

Last night Bob took us to the Negresco Hotel in Nice. Henri Negresco, the son of a Romanian inn keeper built this hotel or rather commissioned the architect Niemans so to do in 1912. It is more of a museum than a hotel with its pink dome, chandelier commissioned by Czar Nicholas who never took delivery because of the October revolutions and a head porter dressed as a postilion. I insisted les girls saw the loos, one done up like General’s bivouac in the  Napeolonic wars and the other a Duchess’ powder room.

We ate at la Rotonde which had a collection of rocking horses, beach murals and redolent of a seaside funfair.  As something of an expert on pea soup this was as as good as I’ve tasted  but the duck leg dish was rather odd as it was more a Cottage Pie: bits of duck with a mash covering. Floating Island, ice cream on mango coulis base was my desert. Many famous puds have disappeared from the British menus but live on the Riviera. Our verdict on this was the food was good but not memorable but the space made for an interesting dining experience. With a decent half bottle of good wine it works out at €40 per head. There were some beautiful and elegant French woman diners but dare I say it – and I include myself – but us girls attracted more than one covetous eye from neighbouring tables and not just from men!!!


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About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts