It’s a rare occurrence to stumble upon a restaurant of such fine prestige in the middle of rural France and le Bistrot de Jef shows just why it is so special…
Recently we visited the French Provence with Princess Cruises to see just what their excursions have to offer. On this trip we ate our lunch at Le Bistrot de Jef, a Michelin star restaurant ran by chef Jean-François Bérard. Nestled in a quiet corner of La Cadière-d’Azur it exudes rustic charm, it’s understated front doing little to pre-empt you of the beautiful haven within. It feels like entering a secret Narnia of gourmet wonderment – small corridors offer an ethereal romanticism with black chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, before leading way to a small door thrown open to reveal panoramic views over the Provence. The smells of jasmine and lavender fill the air and such a bright rolling of colours paves the way for unrivalled mealtime viewing. The tables are set atop of the hillside, stone steps leading to a quaint outdoor pool.
Once sitting down it’s easy to become enchanted by the views and the atmosphere that you almost forget you’re there to eat. The air was fragrant, the sun shone down, a soft breeze gently teased at my hair and a gentle music wafted in through the windows. Pure bliss. The menu itself, as with Michelin star establishments, was relatively simple, focusing on the quality rather than quantity. Fish was caught fresh that morning and you could tell, it was soft and delicious, an effervescent of flavours mingling on the tongue. The accompanying wine was from Domaine Lou Capela, a rosé as is the speciality of the region. It was delicious and soft, easy drinking with a slight kick. Dessert was a combination of fruit sorbets, again, a real treat to the palette. At around 20 euros a head for lunch this is Michelin Star without a hefty price tag, yet there is no compromise made on the quality of the dishes, each are as exceptional as the surroundings themselves. There is no pretentious staff sniffing around as you eat and you can relax and simply enjoy the experience- something quite often downplayed in British dining.
When heading to the South of France le Bistrot de Jef is a real must visit for a taste of rural France done right. It’s Michelin Star is well deserved and you would be hard pressed to find somewhere better to while away the hours, fine wine in hand, find food before you and breathtaking views rolling beneath you.
Le Bistrot de Jef
7 Rue Gabriel Péri
83740 La Cadière-d’Azur