Enchanted gardens are probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the tiny principality of Monaco on the Cote d’Azur. Monte Carlo is better known for its Casino, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, flash cars, and tax-avoiding billionaires, but scratch beneath the surface and you will discover secluded corners of tranquility and sophistication unlike anywhere else in the world.
Odyssey at the Hôtel Metropole Monte Carlo is a concept created by Karl Lagerfeld in the gardens of the hotel. Featuring an incredibly stylish heated seawater swimming pool as the centerpiece, this bijoux garden is a jungle of handsome tropical foliage intermingled with loungers and seating areas that make up Joël Robuchon’s al fresco restaurant (his third within the hotel).
In this haven of peace and seclusion, Joël Robuchon’s well-trained chef will create delicious dishes from the freshest ingredients. We enjoyed a superb meal here under the stars in late summer 2016. I chose a Riviera salad with basil, spring vegetables, and confit tuna belly followed by grilled salmon with mango tagliatelles. Both were served by some of the nicest staff in Monaco, and the food was simple and delicious. Be warned, portions here are however very generous and after two courses I was disappointingly too stuffed to enjoy a dessert.
Of course, I was expecting good food. Joël Robuchon has yet to disappoint me and all of his 3 restaurants at the hotel are a glorious homage to unfussy fine dining done brilliantly. What surprised me about Odyssey was that such a haven of tranquility existed right in the center of the cityscape of Monte Carlo. This enchanting garden felt like it was located on the quiet hills surrounding St Tropez, with only the odd distant siren acting as a reminder of its city center location. I will return here in the evening, when the rest of the city is busy and glittering, to relax amongst Lagerfeld’s stylish vegetation and will once again enjoy some of the tastiest dishes in Monaco, under the starlit sky.
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