More than a Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel, more than a Michelin 3-star restaurant, Le Petit Nice Passedat is an institution. It's part of what makes Marseille, Marseille. And to celebrate this Easter, though the situation may be stormy, its doors will reopen from Friday 2 to Monday 5 April.
Above all else, Le Petit Nice is a family affair. Germain Passedat, grandfather to Gérald, bought Villa Corinthe in 1917. Renamed Le Petit Nice, it quickly became a benchmark establishment, popular with painters, poets, actors and directors seeking a place to relax. In 1954, the next generation stepped up with son Jean-Paul, who would help Le Petit Nice gain its first two stars in the Michelin Guide. Gérald joined his father's kitchen in 1985, took the helm in 1987 and obtained the coveted third Michelin star in 2008. Under his direction, Le Petit Nice remains a "seaside inn” in the finest sense of the term, but it is also becoming one of the most charming Relais & Châteaux hotels out there (*):
One of Gérald Passedat's secrets comes from his strong ties to local fishermen, built up by working alongside them to create specifications that respect seafood sizes and the seasons, and by promoting traditional fishing techniques. What's more, he doesn't hesitate to stride waist-deep into the Mediterranean to better harvest underwater treasures like seaweed or little-known species of rockfish. Driven by his love of the open ocean, this unusual chef makes risk-taking part of his daily routine. “Marine flavours are divisive, fresh and explosive,” he explains simply. “Here, there's no compromise, only sincere, generous cuisine entirely dedicated to fish and unveiling all their subtleties.”
Although restaurants are closed in this spring 2021, for reasons that we are all too aware of, Gérald Passedat has decided to open Le Petit Nice for a rather special programme over Easter weekend, with an extraordinary set menu delivered to rooms or to take away. The specially designed menu is enough to make your mouth water: “turbot in shells, Julie J’adore octopus, Lucie Passedat sea bass, southern fish served as a Nordic caravan...” In the Petit Nice kitchen, you won't find any butter or cream, because when it comes to flavour in the sea, “everything has to come from the source”.
There will, of course, be Easter lamb on this pop-up menu, as well as a special dessert for the occasion - a subtle Origami chick with truffle, chocolate and citrus.
If you've missed the boat, don't panic. Le Petit Nice will still be there when we are able to travel again. Gazing out over the Mediterranean, its Marseillais spirit has known many storms in its time...
(*) Certain clips in this video were filmed before the COVID-19 epidemic. The new safety guidelines are of course in place at Le Petit Nice Passedat.
For further information, go to:
Le Petit Nice Passedat, Anse de Maldormé / Corniche JF Kennedy, 13007 Marseille - FRANCE
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