If you’re sensible, sensitive or particularly frugal, you should never agree to a dinner with me. This is especially the case if you’re imagined lactose intolerant, a pescatarian or fastidiously discard the anchovies from your Ceaser (live a little), because whilst I can’t guarantee the food, I can guarantee you a miserable time.
I am ultraist in my conviction that menus were not invented for choosing, so don’t tell me you can’t have the burrata or are deathly allergic to clams, because you’ve never tasted clams like this… But enough about shellfish ordering, because taking anyone to La Chaumiere, located up in the mountains between Nice and Monaco, is an act of exquisite self-sacrifice – but only because you’ll have to share (and suffer me blogging the whole thing).
To use the modern parlance La Chaumiere is #everything, La Chaumiere is #goals, La Chaumiere is #sick. La Chaumiere is the mutha….. I need to take a breath.
After a brief but stomach-churning ride from Monaco, I am informed by Google that “you have arrived at your destination” on what feels like a stretch of road, still very much on the way to somewhere else. I pull in, in front of a derelict house with boarded up windows and a beaten up tricycle, its one remaining wheel spinning in the wind. The front steps are littered with withered cacti in broken pots and I dismiss the guttering groan of my engine as a hunger induced aberration, and not an ominous prelude to a Saw XVII torture-fest.
As it happens, the restaurant is across the road. And instead of whirring mechanical power tools, the only torture is in the form of glowing red embers and the slow agony of watching flames caress the fire-grilled garlic bread, which cannot arrive quickly enough.
The La Chaumière Menu – What to Order
There’s one thing you need to understand about La Chaumiere. And it’s that you can’t over-order because everything is delicious. Which is why I recommend trying everything or going for the set menu (menu degustation or menu truffes).
The food at this family run eatery isn’t fancy and is reassuringly free of the culinary pretension that’s so often a Cote D’Azur trademark. Instead, the focus is on classic regional ingredients at their mostest. Seasonal truffle, antipasti of prosciutto, glistening steak and the warm apple tart with local creme fraiche served from a milking bucket.
There’s something primal and deeply satisfying in the menu. In fact, I’m filled with a sort of smug Paleo virtuosity as I watch my slab of red meat spew, sputter and pop over the open fire.
However, any pretense of going Paleo is soon shattered as the keeper of the flames reaches a bionic hand into the fire and pulls out a perfectly cooked potato, still in its skin, to be sliced open, filled with creme, a bit of melted camembert and devoured. What will most likely happen next is short scream followed by desperate puffy exhalations of scalding steam.
So please, don’t tell me you’d do anything as gauche as coming here for the romance and save the handholding for the Michelin joints with their foam and micro-starters. Candlelit rustic vibes of a French auberge aside, this place means business and so should you.
What to Order – La Chaumiere
Grilled chicken (pre-order)
Tarte aux pommes maison
Address – La Chaumiere Restaurant, Nice
384 Boulevard de l’Observatoire, 06300, Nice, France
Phone: +33 (0)4 93 01 77 68