Auberge La Fenière
3 course menu 42 euros / 5 course menu 65 euros / 8 course tasting menu 100 euros
Auberge La Fenière is a very beautiful and romantic restaurant in Provence countryside. Michelin gave them one star and the review in Gourmet magazine sounded great. Since we were in the area, we thought this place would be an opportunity for a superb dinner. However, the overall culinary experience here was disappointing due to inconsistent quality. The dishes were inspired by cuisines of different Mediterranean countries and many were very creative. The pumpkin soup with cêpes (wild mushrooms) was an unusual but extremely successful pairing of flavors. It was so rich and silky and had such depth of flavor that even Jason who is not a pumpkin person pronounced it to be amazing. The dessert of strawberries roasted with black peppercorns and topped with basil sherbet sounded quite strange on the menu, but it was probably the best dessert I have ever had. The strawberries retained their shape and texture and the peppercorns gave the sweet juices just the right amount of spice. The freshness of the basil sherbet was a great match for the sweet and spicy strawberries. There was also one perfect classic dish - the cêpe risotto. I had a 5 course meal and Jason had an 8 course tasting menu and out of those 13 dishes, sadly only the above 3 were outstanding. The rest of the meal ranged from nice to very unsuccessful dishes. In the eggplant, tomato and sardines rolls, the ingredients lacked their usually bright flavors. Tartar of tomatoes was nice chopped up tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, but too primitive. The cod with mashed potatoes was just that - seared piece of cod with basic mashed potatoes. I was hoping that it would be the kind of simple dish that transcends itself in the hand of a talented chef (the way the pumpkin soup did), but it did not present much to discover. The baby pork ribs had only one bite of meat in them - the rest was fat. Even the bread was mediocre. It was clearly made in house, but was not nearly as good as the bread we got in local bakeries. How we could get such incredibly good and incredibly bad dishes out of the same kitchen? We were also surprised that after spending so much money on food and wine, we were charged for a carafe of water, tea and coffee. We felt that $250 was too much to pay for this dinner. However, you can eat here for much less if you choose the cheaper 3-course menu.