Le Park 45, the Michelin Starred restaurant of the Grand Hotel Cannes, set upon the seafront, is the restaurant to beat in Cannes for its relaxed ambience and flawless menu. We had the wonderful opportunity to visit Le Park 45 and sample it’s 10 – yes 10 – course tasting menu of light, creative and tantalizing French cuisine. Le Park’s spectacularly talented Chef, Sebastien Broda, who won his first Michelin Star just a year after arriving at Le Grand, greeted and welcomed us into his wonderful offering. Chef Broad delights in giving a fresh twist to classical Mediterranean dishes, with highly creative presentations, and has worked in world renowned restaurants such as La Palme D’or and Lou Cigalon where he was mentored by Alain Parodi, ahead of setting up his own restaurant.
The several starters we enjoyed included the Cod Brandade with summer white truffles, foamy bouillon and parmesan crumble –carrying the powerful presence of the truffle taste balanced by the warm tang of the parmesan resulting in a light and delicate dish, which washes the palette for the tastes to come.
Our palettes were rightly cleansed for what was to follow; the duck foie gras, buckwheat, apricots, sweet onion and truffle wheat ice cream. The soft sweet element to this plate is mellowed by the creamy iced Grenache, whilst its decoration mimics it’s enticing taste; sprinkled with flowers and garnished with apricot.
We also sampled the creatively designed King Crab and Cucumber, served like a ‘maki’ dish, with lemongrass-ginger seafood jelly; complimenting the succulent crab, the key element to this dish is it’s fresh, cool, soft and refreshing citrus touch.
Following the initial panic of course after course, each more beautifully and curiously presented than its predecessor was the calming understanding that Chef Broda builds for his guests a crescendo of courses – each increasing in size and taste. The portions are perfectly sized to the intensity of their taste and intelligently prepare the palette for the next stage of this culinary enlightenment. A seating at Le Park 45, is truly an education in the art that this Chef has crafted to introduce you to fresh, complimentary and crafted tastes. The high waiter to diner ratio translates into exceptional table service – minus the fussiness. It is consistently evident how much personal pride Chef Broad takes with every dish through detailed explanations from each of the waiters, exquisite presentation, and attention detail; I have stressed this already, but it bears repeating; that we are no longer eating food, but one’s art work.
A favourite dish for me was the Mediterranean greater amberjack (or as the French call it: “Seriole” fish) served in the style of a millefeuille, with rocket, parmesan and anchovies marinated in smoked salt. It takes such talent to create a myriad of tastes simply from saw fish and a number of other raw ingredients. The play with foods to turn ordinary meats into something unique is one of Chef Broda’s dishes most immediate characteristics.
The stealing dish for our entire sitting was the dorade – I had heard this word a lot during our stay in Cannes and Monaco as a locally sourced fish, it is a firm favourite for many top end restaurants. So, probably unrighteously so, I was a little sick of seeing dorade on a menu. I am lucky I had no ordering license at this dinner, because you are not quite the same once you have had Chef Broda’s take on this dish. The Dorade with a peppered juice, set upon raw vegetables and black olives allow you to relish the peppery, rich taste as the dorade flakes softly into your mouth, full of flavor and packed with a punch.
The line caught turbot roasted with fresh almonds, an artichoke assortment and foamed coriander juices is also a strong contender – as who knew artichoke could be so sexy! (If you don’t believe me – just look at the presentation!) Corwned with the fish and teamed with the coriander and butternet squash, it culminates in a creamy and perfectly blended dish.
We did miraculously manage to sample one dish without fish – hoorah! – and that was the cour d’armoise chicken, tonnato, baby cauliflower, pickles, celery jus topped by a spice fig and tomato sauce – I would have devoured this dish if I hadn’t just devoured seven odd plates before it. Nonetheless, it was pleasantly balanced by an earthy, oaked red wine, somewhat easing our full-to-the brim stomachs.
They really do coin the phrase ‘there’s always room for dessert’ at Le Park as we finished with what they call a “Vacherin” – this is really just a giant puff of meringue – igniting my inner child with glee – set upon an apricot sorbet and organic vanilla ice cream. The perfect dessert.
How am I still going on you ask? How have I not suffered massive heart failure? As someone who has trained their stomach to grow full on shots of coffee, I am entirely unsure how I survived the endless arrival of courses. I feel as though I was being tested by some higher power, and having passed, I am still here today to tell my story.
However, the truth is, as plentiful as our one thousand and one courses were; a selection of any few dishes would be utterly satisfying and deeply pleasing to any real foodie. One always says ‘quality not quantity’, I fear, forgetting how true that actually is. The qualitative take exercised in this restaurant cannot be served justice through my descriptions – you simply must book the train ticket, book the flight, take a loved one, hell – take a pet, as one woman with the miniest miniature Chihuahua I have ever seen beside her, opted to dine – and visit this fantastic gem, hospitable team, exquisite setting and mastermind of a Chef, for yourselves.