In the world of fine dining you can pay an awful lot of money for an experience that will utterly disappoint. On the other hand a good meal can define a memorable moment in your life: at Locanda Locatelli I finally discovered why people make so much fuss about lobster, at Ristorante L’Olivo I embarked upon a love for pigeon and at Comme Chez Soi realised that no matter how good the chef, Sea Urchin will never taste good.For that reason once you find a chef whose cooking you trust you tend to go out of your way to enjoy their food. For me Marcel Ravin is one of those chefs. I’ve enjoyed Marcel’s exciting food since he started as the head chef in the Monte Carlo Bay’s – Blue Bay restaurant, some 10 years ago. Upon arrival at the Bay one of the fist things I do is look at Marcel’s menu, never the same, always new flavours and dishes to tempt.
I’ve seen at close quarters the work Marcel puts into creating the best plate of food possible, heard him loudly berate his chefs for not producing cuisine he is happy to present. If I’m honest, sometimes the food was let down by the experience, but the flavours and combinations were there to keep me coming back time after time.
My most recent trip to Monaco was the fist opportunity I’d had to visit the Blue Bay since it’d received its first Michelin star. Straight away I realised this was a somewhat different Blue Bay. We, (my family and I), were led to our table on the veranda, beautifully dressed in the evening sunset and adorned with purple lighting, it was plainly obvious the restaurant had upped its game. The waiters were no longer the hotels breakfast staff presented in different uniforms, the Maître D’ was now making himself known, conducting his well-drilled team in a style far more akin to that you’d expect from a Michelin starred establishment.
We were seated and offered a cocktail before the said Maître D’ offered the menu, or enquired if we’d prefer the chef to choose for us, i.e. The taster menu. Trusting Marcel we were excited to try his latest creations. In good time the Sommelier presented himself and recommended a bottle of French white to go with our meal. Happy with the choice we nibbled the lovely Amuse-bouche and nervously waited the first course, hoping this new, more grown up, Blue Bay hadn’t dampened Marcel’s original style of cooking.
We needn’t have been concerned, every course was a beautiful as the last. The first, a fish dish brought to the table with all sorts of small delicious accompaniments, a wonderful celebration of seafood on your palate. It was followed by a Green Papaya Spaghetti dish done in a Carbonara Way, generously garnished with truffles and full of flavours and textures, the spaghetti parcel within was simply delicious. A wonderfully seasoned fish course of John Dory came next and was followed by a beautifully sauced Pork dish, the joint presented then expertly carved and served in front of us with flare. Marcel now has the team to do his food justice.
It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since I was first thoroughly entertained by Marcel’s menu and delighted by his flavours. Those flavours are now refined, experience providing diners with even more sophisticated fusions to taste. This humble chef is well aware of the progress that has been made by the Blue Bay, upon leaving the restaurant after our meal I thanked him for my superb dinner, he smiled graciously and said ‘my team’, pointing to the chefs and staff around him.
Monsieur Robuchon, Ducasse, et al watch out this new, grown up, Blue Bay lead by Marcel Ravin means business.
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