The luxury Hôtel Metropole, Monte-Carlo, has a brand new GM, Pierre Ferchaud, a wise guy who still retains a boyish enthusiasm for life. He knew he could not start until December 1st, 2014, for instance, so he wisely arranged for an interim for a few weeks so that the eager-beaver hotel team, and the guests too, would not be without a leader. Then he arrived and, says the gal, he seemed immediately in his element (of course it probably helped that the hotel is magnificently decorated for Christmas!).
Last time, I dined at Robuchon’s Japanese restaurant here, YOSHI, which has a Michelin star. This time, we ate at Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo, also at the hotel. This one has two Michelin stars. What makes it so exquisite? Well, plus the lavosh brought to table there is a giant, three-level bread trolley bearing every bread you can imagine – including my favourite brioche-like fleur de sel rolls. There is also just space on the top shelf for a 15-inch tower of Bordier butter under a glass cloche: a waiter uses two spoons to scrape off, and roll into a ball, a portion for each diner.
The restaurant was packed – it was Friday lunch, and actually jolly good value at €54 for three courses and mineral water. Octopus carpaccio was followed very nicely by red mullet with virgin olive oil sauce and Menton lemons (I hear the annual Menton lemon festival is a must). After the savoury comes the sweet, namely a dessert of the day, or a range of ice creams or sorbets, or your choice from the dessert trolley. Yes, I reckon the owners of this lovely hotel bought trolleys by bulk. A Champagne trolley floats around somewhere, and undoubtedly another carrying cheese, the final option of the meal.
Who said only the other day that food invariably seems to be good in Monte-Carlo (moi, if I remember right)? And I have not finished yet. The tour of Monte-Carlo luxury hotels continues. As I leave Hôtel Metropole I pass the children’s corner, with games and, out of sight in the photo, masses of stockings hanging up, and a decorated tree. This is certainly the time of spectacular trees…