La Rotonde - Nice, France
Have you ever walked into a venue, and were struck before even having the time to understand why? Whether it's your mood, the music, the decor, the ambiance or a combination, there's that feeling of being a kid in a candy store. Noticing and appreciating every detail, living in the moment. Similar to a movie scene where the character is in awe during a 360 degree shot, this happened when I walked into
La Rotonde restaurant, located in the 1913 famed & historic Negresco Hotel.
The outdoor terrace offers views of Promenade des Anglais and the Baie des Anges, while the stunning dining room is a modern day fairy tale. The 2018 renovation transformed the restaurant into playful yet elegant space with a white and gold color scheme. Staying true to its original carousel theme, uplighting on horses that are seemingly jumping out of the walls cast large dramatic shadows on the mezzanine's ceilings. The room's centerpiece is a single horse on a pedestal, only to be outdone by a mesmerizing LED screen mounted to the ceiling, projecting clouds during the day and a deep purple in the evening, replicating the night's sky and its celestial bodies. I know, this is a blog for restaurants not interior design, but the space is simply spectacular. It's no wonder the Michelin Guide describes the hotel and its restaurants & bars as a "...muse, majestic, mystical and in a class of its own". After all, have you ever been to a restaurant that hands out table-side request cards for the pianist?
Although La Rotonde restaurant holds no Michelin award, it does receive an honorable mention in the guide. Also, I just had to share it with you. The only thing that can explain it better than the paragraph above are the photos below. Along with its modern renovation, the inventive cuisine is also refined with contemporary platting and nods to the region of Nice. Although the restaurant describes itself as a French brasserie, I can attest that it is incomparable to what we know as "bar food".
At the helm of not only La Rotonde, but all of the hotel's food programs, including the property's one Michelin Star restaurant, is Chef Virginie Basselot, a rising star in the next generation of French chefs. This may sound like a challenge for even the most seasoned chef, but that's exactly why the Normandy native does it, for the challenge posed by maintaining a high standard. Much like her affinity for motorcycle riding, the first woman to wear the Chef's hat at Le Negresco, feeds off of the culinary freedom she expresses herself with. "Classic, direct and simple" is Virginie's maxim.
Duck Foie Gras Confit, Sakura Vinegar and Shiso Plum Salad, Toasted Pumpkin Seed Bread
La Rotonde dining room by evening- Source - DistyLight
*Pérugine Herbed Lamb Sausage, Smoked Paprika, Creamy Polenta
*Pérugine is a Niçoise style pork sausage seasoned with pepper, garlic and fennel.
A man from the Italian province of Peruggia invented this style of sausage, hence its name.
Seasonal Smoked Cocktail
Working in the Côte d'Azur region provides Chef Basselot the luxury to offer only the freshest ingredients daily. From the ocean, fields and nearby hillsides, working with local purveyors, and even visiting them personally, via motorcycle, of course. For more information on La Rotonde and Virginie Basselot, visit Le Negresco's website here.
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