Madame Jeanne | Restaurant | Natural wine | Marseille Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Madame Jeanne HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Open: Lunch Mon - Sat, dinner Wed - Sat
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +33 4 86 26 54 16
Address: 86 Rue Grignan
Marseille, 13001
Country: France

Madame Jeanne is the restaurant and bar attached to La Cave des Papilles that is an offshoot of the venerable wine shop of the same name in Paris. Both the restaurant and wine shop is located within the broader Maison Buon that also includes a gallery and accommodation. The food is light and cheerful and the wine selection exactly what you would expect from one of the icons of the natural wine movement.
We have written before about the type of food we now seek on our travels. We no longer seek glitzy restaurants where style wins out over substance. We instead seek places where they source the best possible ingredients (preferably organic) and cook them with a light hand. We also look for places that have a preference for vegetables rather than lots of animal proteins. In Madame Jeanne we have found another such place.
We were seated in a light-filled atrium and were delighted when the menu was presented showing the emphasis on vegetables and seafood. The dishes were all cleverly contructed with harmonious combinations of protein and vegetables in every dish. As can be seen from the menu below the prices are incredibly reasonable for such well-sourced produce.
We ordered each of the starters and two of the more substantial dishes to start with, we left it to the sommelier to bring wines of his choice as we had complete faith in the selection of the adjacent cave.
The menu is shown below, and as you can see there are three smaller courses as starters and then three more substantial courses. In the French tradition they offer a "formule" whereby you can order both a starter and a main course which are daily specials for a set price or have one of the main dishes of the day only.

The lunch menu at Madame Jeanne

Brousse du Rove/tomates anciennes/huille de basilic

The first dish started a sensational meal! It was described as Brousse du Rove which is a fresh goat milk cheese from a small village to the west of Marseille. It is a soft, delicate and creamy cheese that is made from raw goat milk. It was paired with heirloom tomatoes and leaves of basil that had been anointed with some basil oil. As we started eating, the cheese started to coat the tomatoes to almost form an extra sauce. It was delicious! Our other comment about this dish is to point out the perfect balance in the seasoning, where small flakes of salt and grindings of pepper harmoniously complemented the nicely flavoured basil oil.

Salade de poulpe/lard de Colonata/olives de Kalamata

So this dish consisted of thinly sliced octopus tentacles then sprinkled with olive oil and spring onions, and overlaid with stunning slices of Colonata lardo - which is regarded by many as the ultimate lardo on the planet. This was a great dish of apparent simplicity but which would not work if the ingredients were not perfect.

Tartare/pdt d?catesse

The final starter was a tartare of beef matched with some lovely green leaves and excellent potatoes - these days you often see "pdt" on menus in France rather than the longer "pommes de terre".

Our next dish was the "Quasi de veau/?as?de pdt/courgettes/sauge" which saw a pile of crushed potatoes and a couple of very good zucchini topped with two pucks of perfectly cooked veal. Some fried sage leaves completed the picture. Unfortunately, a deep discussion about the wine that had just been served meant that we forgot to take a photo of this dish.

Coco rouge en minestrone/soup au pistou

The final dish of coco beans (coco rouge) in a pistou soup was absolutely stunning. The beans had been cooked until they were creamy inside but had not broken down and become grainy. The accompanying flavours helped to bring all of the ingredients together proving that in cooking the sum can be much, much greater than the individual components. This dish was a perfect example of the idea we were proposing above about the use of vegetables in dishes. Coco beans are flavoursome and sustaining and also comprise about 10% protein.

We finished the meal with some very good cheeses and a couple of excellent desserts, including a pavlova with fresh raspberries and another with a Chantilly cream with strawberries and cherries.

We are definitely looking forward to our next visit to this wonderful place.

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