It's the last few days of May so we ambled up to Mons for a local dinner. We tried the Auberge Provencal, with the spectacular views across Saint-Cezaire towards Cannes, bu that doesn't open in the evening until June. Le Petit Bonheur didn't have tables outside. So Chez Barbaroux got the business. The restaurant has a great setting, nestled in Mons' rambling alley way streets, unchanged for hundreds of years. We sat outside at small tables looking up at old residences and a still blue sky.
Last time we went to Chez Barbaroux, we felt it was inventive, but messy. The chef, we believe, used to work in Seillans at the Michelin-starred Castelleras. This time, the menu was simpler. We opted for the 28 Euro 3 course meal with a bottle of Chateau Rasque rose (superb).
We were presented with a delicious tapenade, added fig and almond contributing sweetness. Next, a mushroom sabayon in a little tumbler, infused with truffle (a highlight). I chose the Socca (a Provencal chickpea pastry thing) which was a trifle stodgy, but Sarah's truffle scrambled eggs with asparagus, prosciutto and pesto was very pleasant. We both enjoyed our mains: rabbit and fig ballotine, veal and fennel compote. Puddings were flawed but interesting.
We like Chez Barbaroux. The chef tries really hard to design original courses and flavours, but the execution fails a little (the tatin-ed apples were over-caramelised) in a sweet way, like a gifted child just missing the mark. The service is friendly and engaging, and if anything, the portions are on the large side (coming from someone over 6 foot tall). It's a pleasant place to be, enjoy a good evening with food that will get you talking.