French Restaurant in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, France: La Bastide de Moustiers Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

La Bastide de Moustiers
Restaurants and bars
Open: Daily
Price: Expensive

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +33 4 92 70 47 47
Address: Quartier Saint-Michel - Cheminde Quinson
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Provence, 04360
Country: France
Food Style: French

The first glimpse of the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is enough to take the breath of even the most seasoned traveller away. Perched high above the valley floor below the brooding peaks with the church seemingly reaching desperately for the heights, the scene is definitely one for picture postcards.
You turn away from the village to reach La Bastide de Moustiers, which nestles in the 'suburbs' outside the main village precinct. It is based around an old 17th century coaching inn with modern cottages dotted through the expansive gardens. The cottages are comfortable, with all the latest facilities. Our cottage even had an open fire as well as more conventional heating.
Before dinner we decided on the 20 minute walk to the village to soak up the atmosphere of this charming part of the world - we didn't, however, attempt the climb to the church perched high above.
Our meal started in the extremely comfortable and well-stocked downstairs bar. We ordered a pastis to ward off the chill and the waiters immediately brought some 'nibbles' consisting of breadsticks with lovely fresh, crunchy radishes as well as a number of thin pieces of toast with a small dollop of selected dips such as tapenade, aoili and so on. A relaxing way to start the meal.
We moved upstairs to be seated at a large round table set with good linen and first rate cutlery and crockery. The meal began with a dish of white and green asparagus spears sitting on an asparagus cream punctuated by some very good balsamic vinegar. This was a good dish for two reasons. The first is that the chef had not given in to the strange modern fashion of undercooking asparagus - it is a vegetable like green beans that needs to be cooked through. The second is that we are often extremely disappointed in dishes that use balsamic vinegar because chefs tend to use it in the same quantities as any other vinegar and they also use the cheaper commercial varieties. Not here. It was used with restraint and it was of the highest quality, providing a nice counterpoint to the asparagus cream.
The next dish was potato gnocchi with spinach accompanied by a fine jus, halves of artichoke and a crisp piece of country bacon.
For main course we opted for the veal and the pigeon. The leg of perfectly roasted veal was brought to the table and carved for us. It was served with fava beans, carrots and other spring vegetables. The pigeon had also been roasted to perfection and was accompanied by lots of spring peas and shavings of black truffle.
The apple dessert was the only disappointment of the otherwise excellent and relaxing meal.
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