La Chèvre d’Or, the flagship two Michelin star restaurant of Château de la Chèvre d’Or, a lovely Relais and Chateaux estate in the beautiful mountain town of Eze, is the type of place that serves a customer for whom price is no object. Immediately upon seating, the servers will place a small spoon next to your plate, because ordering caviar here is the norm, not the exception. A champagne cart will follow, as will a look of surprise if you decline a glass. If you are a woman dining with a man, you will be given a menu without the prices since it is presumed that the fairer sex would not be settling the bill. Not surprising at all given that Eze is in the posh part of the French Riviera, where its nearest island neighbor St Jean-Cap-Ferrat has bragging rights to being the second most expensive place to a buy a home in the world.
Since I was the woman, I was given the menu with no pricing, so I had no idea how extravagant everything would be. According to my husband, a la carte dining was all over the map, with individual entrees reaching as high as 80 euros. The basic three course set menu was 85 euros, whereas the four course tasting was 125 euros. I lived up to the role of lady of leisure and let my husband shield me from the financial shock and do the ordering for us. Not the most progressive setup, but I didn’t entirely mind!
The pre-meal bites arrived, consisting of snacks featuring the local ingredients of Nice, with a heavy emphasis on lemon. There was a buttery bread roll infused with lemon, a chickpea and lemon tart, and two different crackers topped with various ingredients paired with, what else, a lemon sauce. The red berries and foie gras ball and the light pea soup were the two non-lemon anomalies. It was clear what was in season this summer in Nice.
The tasting menu was very traditional in progression and preparation, in which the lighter flavors of the sea were followed by the heavier land meats, concluded by a sweet dessert. Fruit played a big role in seasoning the sea dishes. The Red Berries featured a bright salsa of juicy strawberries, blackberries, figs and pomegranate that added some sparkle to the sweet, fresh shrimp and the underlying bed of broth. The Red Mullet, a Mediterranean white fish served with a sweet and spicy pepper sauce, explored the more savory aspects of the kumquat, which surprisingly makes for a fantastic ravioli filling. The ocean, which is such an integral part of the French Riviera, is celebrated here with the same aplomb as it is on the shore.
The approach to the lamb, which was cooked medium rare, was much more conventional. The emphasis was on keeping the meat tender and more or less keeping its gamey nature intact, although the Nicoise style beans were there for you to take some of the edge off. The extra serving of beans cooked in a lamb confit broth was a nice addition.
The guanaja chocolate dessert was a bit gaudy, arriving overly adorned like the nightlife on the Riviera. It was a cross between a brownie and a peppermint patty, a giddy ode to a child’s sweet tooth. And of course, this being France, where a sit down meal is a marathon event, even more sweet treats of chocolate, beignets, mini eclairs, fennel biscotti and small candies followed. As we waited for everything to digest, the old school tradition of the gentleman paying the bill came full circle when the server handed Ruoxi the check and gave me a piece of cake to take home. When in France, do as the rich French do – the men always pay, while the ladies sit and play.
La Chèvre d’Or
Rue du Barri, 06360 Èze, France
+33 4 92 10 66 66
Reservations can be made here
Lunch tasting menu prices range from 85 euros to 145 euros per person, dinner tasting menu is 240 euros per person