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Hotel L'Estelle en Camargue, Saintes Maries de la Mer
We checked into L'Estelle en Camargue very late, so there was not too much time to go and venture outside the hotel for some fine dining. We decided to try their restaurant. A restaurant they call 'gastronomic' is far - actually a million miles away from reaching their self claimed title. I was disappointed, since the hotel is great in so many ways - but their in-house restaurant requires immediate attention in the kitchen, especially that, besides the food, it has a lot of good things to offer...
In a cozy atmosphere overviewing the pool, we sat on a round table decorated with a couple of roses and a candle. A nice and decent setup with a professional and welcoming staff, I was expecting the food to also be up to level. Before starting, we enjoyed their bread and especially their homemade sparkling water. An ecological habit in this part of the world which allows business owners to produce tasty water which we all loved it.
- Four choices of prepared menus
- Cold starters
- Hot starters
- Gourmands plates
Dinner started with some amuse bouche: Flanc D'épinard, Mousse Fouettée au paprika, Tuile de Parmesan: warm, with fried bread finger, spinach is like a cream with a light mousse on top.
- Noix de St. Jacques (en carpaccio aux copeaux d'asperge, Vinaigrette aux agrumes et huile d'avocat, Ventreche de saumon marine au soja): Scallops with raw and cooked vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A toast on the side and salted salmon, with a fresh green salad and two slices of orange, a cherry tomato and a raisin, a basil dried leaf. A complicated plate and not beautifully presented, I have tated better in a simpler way
- Riz arborio (en risotto cremeux, legumes printaniers crus et cuits): It is a NO
- Lotte (cuitte en papillotte, contisee aux poivrons, coulis de poivrons au chorizo, brandade monte a l'huile d'olive): This is good since it's not complicated
- Trofie ligurie (aux tomates fraiches et basilic, tuile au parmesan): I didn't like it at all. The plate looks like a child's lunch at a birthday party
- Mozzarella di bufala AOC (en eventail aux tomates, Reduction balsamique et granite basilic, chips de pain croustillant a l'huile d'olive): A super complicated dish that doesn't even deserve all of this work. Decorated with rosemary, toast, raisins, lettuce, balsamic vinegar and pesto sauce, what should be a simple kind of Italian salad is so complicated that you don't understand what you are eating. I surely don't recommend it
- Pasta: Bad, pesto sauce, not aldente
- Noix de st. Jacques (enrobees de pancetta dorees a la plancha, fumet d;ail doux, risotto aux tomates et tomates cerises confites): This is more of an unacceptable plate. Over cooked and looks unappetizing. They should reconsider this plate. Even the scallops in bacon are heavy and the overall taste of tomato covers on everything else
- Lotte: Fade, nothing special. Asparagus too oily.
- Artichauts Poivrade (en barigoule, Bruschetta au Lardo du Colomnata): Served with diced vegetables this plate looks like a cheap low cost winter soup
- Asperges vertes (en veloute cremeux aux noix de st jacques, Capuccino aux fines herbes): This plate is fine
The details I loved and enjoyed:
- Mini stainless pepper and salt mills are available on all tables
- All plates are branded with the hotel's name and logo
- A premium silver cutlery adds a fine luxury touch to this dinner
- Plates served on the left and removed on the right
- The staff is welcoming and professional
Chateau de Galoupet, 2009 cru classé. Vin de Provence. A strong wine, beautiful color and majestic aromas. I recommend it.
- The plates are too complicated: Halt! Overdoing things changes a good into bad instantly: too many unneeded flavors, colors and ingredients
- The plates are not tasty
- The cooking time is not mastered. Some plates are overcooked and others are undercooked
- It was hot inside. AC was off all night
If you are staying at this hotel, I don't recommend you try their dinner. Many restaurants around the region can offer you a far better experience.
A restaurant that has it all: the menu, the ambiance, the service and choices that should be illegible for a Michelin star, but unfortunately the food drags it down - The food's taste and presentation are bad. Some changes have to be made in the kitchen: The soonest!