Hotel Mercure Centre Vieux Port – BAR LOUNGE
By Margaux Cintrano
Photos: M. Cintrano & Listed Business
Le 1.13 Bar Lounge located in the 4 Star Accor Business Hotel, Mercure Centre Vieux Port, where one is immediately empowered by the palette of colors inspired by both the artists from the Provençe region and the Mediterranean Sea. Beautiful fiery mandarin red orange walls, the tones of salsas and sunsets, violet-lavender details and accents of turquoise tones amongst the pale subtle elegant earth tones.
The carte is simply filled with distinctive textures, authenticity of products from farm to table, and the daily catch, and there are few fancy venues that can rival the epicurean depth and spectrum of this little gem. Come and join me on my memoirs of the senses.
My starter has its roots in Málaga, a cold tomato soup often called Gazpacho.
Gaspacho Soupe Froide de Tomates de Provençe et Tartine de Chevré Frais (Gazpacho Cold Tomato Soup with Provençe Tomatoes with Goat Cheese) served on a toasted canapé
Time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour to chill
> 4 stemware glasses
> 1 / 2 cup green light French olive oil
> Baguette slices for toasting and to be placed above the cold soup
> 4 cups coarsely sliced fresh red plum tomatoes
> 1 /2 cup minced shallots
> 2 or 3 garlic cloves minced to taste
> Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
> 3 tablespoons peeled courgette diced very finely
> 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh taragon herb
> French goat cheese – room temperature for spreading of choice
> Firstly, combine the extra virgin olive oil and the tarragon in a large bowl.
> Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
> Slice the baguette, and brush some Evoo on both sides of the bread.
> Toast the bread in a large sauté pan over a low to medium flame until crispy, approximately 4 minutes for each side of the canapé slices.
> Place the toasted bread slices on a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
> Now, heat 1/4 cup Evoo in a clean sauté pan over a low to medium heat and add 4 cups of coarsely chopped fresh red tomatoes.
> Add the shallots and the diced peeled courgette. Sauté until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.
> Stir in a little tomato paste or a tiny boiled peeled potato for thickening and reduce the heat to low.
> Cover the sauté pan and simmer until the tomatoes, courgette cubes and shallots are tender, stirring occasionally about 8 to 9 minutes.
> Now, strain the soup, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract all the juice and solids.
> Throw away the solids left over in the sieve.
> Sprinkle salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
> Place the gaspacho into a large bowl in the refrigerator until cold, approximately 1 hour.
> Ladle the cold gazpacho into large wine glasses, making sure, that there are no stains on the stemware.
> Top each glass with a canapé of spreadable goat cheese and sprinkle each gaspacho with a bit of fresh chopped tarragon herb.
The Tomato Gazpacho : 6 Euros
The assorted Cheese Board: 9 Euros
The wines: 6 or 7 Euros per glass or by the bottle
Located just 45 minutes south of the villages and towns renowned for their lavender in Provençe, and known also for their tomatoes, olives, aubergine (eggplant), asparagus, fennel, garlic, fresh figs, milk fed and grass grazed lambs and goat cheeses.
Some of the most famous regional dishes are:
Tapenade. a famous Mediterranean Mezze, prepared with black olives and anchovies
Poulet sauté á la Provençale, a Bresse braised chicken, with thyme, garlic, onion, white wine, Niçoise olives, and uomatoes
Bouillabaisse , the renowned Marseille Shell Fish & Fish Stew
Niçoise — Even though this salad is from Nice, one shall encounter it in this region
Gazpacho, a cold tomato soup similar to the Málaga original, however, quite different in texture and ingredient profile
Depending on the time of year, one goes to spend a long weekend in Vieux Port, the best times to go are in late May and late November, just in time to enjoy the Outdoor Christmas Market or the Spring Market
La Table Du Roy – Le Salon de Provençe (incredibly amazing Provençal Evolutionary)
O Zen – Located close to Vieux Port, Marseille (exemplary Japanese, Thai & Vietnamese)
Le Saint Ser, Relais Chateaux – Puyloubier (flawless Provençal Evolutionary)
Rhizome de Le Bon Goût – Corniche, Marseille (French Conceptual Regional)
Le Quai de La Galiote – Vieux Port, Marseille (absolutely extraordinary Italian)
Ginseng – Vieux Port, Marseille (impeccably lovely Vietnamese)
Hotel Mercure Center Vieux Port, an Accor 4 Star : Compare prices with www.booking.com and the Hotel directly
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