Destination: France: Cannes
On a narrow street between the Rue d’Antibes and the Croisette, just behind the Majestic Hotel, is a treasure of a neighborhood French restaurant. I was introduced to it by friends who were so smitten by the ambiance and food that they had eaten there three nights in a row. And we all agreed that if it were transported to our neighborhoods in London or New York, L’Affable would become our preferred regular haunt. Chef Jean-Paul Battaglia spent three decades in Mougins but judging from the aesthetic you might imagine he was a refugee from Milan or Malibu. With a clean contemporary décor that feels refreshing in a town that seems hooked on playing up either glamour or history, the dining room buzzes at lunch and dinner with locals, who warmly greet the proprietor and other diners. (Yes, Madonna and Guy Ritchie were spotted eating here with friends last year during the film festival but it’s the sort of place they would have chosen precisely because they would not have been fussed over.) The food emphasizes classic French fare but the chef updates dishes with a light touch. For instance, escargots are served out of their shells in a creamy soup of garlic, olive oil and herbs. The steak au poivre comes with a potato tart, instead of frites, and a gravy of black pepper that you pour over the fillet. Other fantastic choices: the barigauld of artichokes, the seared foie gras and the rack of lamb. For dessert, you must order at least one of the Grand Marnier soufflés and one order of the tarte tatin, which arrives with a delicate fan of apple slices on a thin crust resting in a caramel sauce. Or try just one and use the other option as an excuse to return.
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