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Old town charm: Le Cannet serves up an ode to the culinary gods

According to Cannes’ TripAdvisor, the city has some 660 restaurants, which can sometimes make the challenge of deciding where to eat somewhat difficult. The solution? The old town of Le Cannet, a picturesque and secret suburb five minutes from Cannes. It’s a hidden gourmet gem.

Le Cannet and Bistro Saint Saveur serve up an ode to the culinary gods We decided to dine at the Bistrot Saint Sauveur, No. 1 out of Le Cannet’s 54 restaurants, according to TripAdvisor at least. The restaurant is exactly what it says it is: a bistro oozing charm and class, and above all, seriousness. Two waiters clad in suits welcomed us into the small but comfortable restaurant. Lined with long ceiling height curtains, the décor, while very nice, felt as if it were chosen by the late Hugh Heffner, but then again, I never have been one for fancy things…

You know it's a good restaurant when they frivolously give away freshly sliced Parma ham. All the diners are lavished with the stuff, sliced onsite by a rustic slicing machine that is bizarrely plopped amongst the many tables. We were eating this ham long before we even opened the menus, but that’s not to say we were served the meat quickly. Rather, we just had to wait some time before the waiter realised we would need a menu so as to order our food. This considerable wait for the menus was the only downside to an otherwise exceptional evening.

We went for the €36 formule, which consisted of three courses from the perfectly crafted menu. Each dish was an ode to the culinary gods; a tribute to French cuisine mixed with the comfort of Grandma’s cooking, assuming your grandmother’s French, of course. 

Beef cheek with mashed potatoes, roast chicken with a tarragon jus, and Andouillette sausage and chips are just some of the homely dishes on the menu. To start, I had a risotto with veal jus and foie gras – could those latter ingredients be any more French?

The wine list was as long as Donald Trump’s hairpiece flapping in an inconvenient winter’s wind. Prices ranged from the low two figures to high three. We went for a 2014 Chateau Godard for €24 – the bottle of red was great value for money and a perfect complement to my beef. To finish: chocolate soup. A bowl of sugary debauchery with pieces of banana and orange zest swimming around in ecstasy. My grin increased with each mouthful. Simply put, dessert was ludicrously good.

 Towards the end of the evening, when we and the remaining diners had finished our meals, one of the two servers stood behind the counter polishing wine glasses, staring and smirking at us all, the perfect caricature of a French waiter. The constant buzz of the small restaurant was hushed as the head chef clad in lime green ‘whites’ stepped proudly into the room. He went round all the tables and shook everyone’s hands in a slightly strange yet equally nice ceremony. When he learned that we were from England, refreshingly he did not mention Brexit and raise his eyebrows as is the now usual custom, but instead made a comment about fog.

Once the chef had spoken with all the happy diners, we paid our bill and left, but come rain, wind or shine – or fog! – I will be back. Bistrot Saint Sauveur is far too good to only sample once. I urge you: go there and go there now.

 

Lewis Longman

*Originally published in the #177 edition of Riviera Inside