One of the jewels in Marseille’s crown is the brand new €191m museum, MuCEM, which sits on the seafront of the city, not far from the picturesque Vieux Port, which is the main hub of the old town. This beautiful building houses exhibits depicting the history of the city and the Mediterranean, cultural artifacts and the like, and is well worth a day of exploring. One of the highlights for me, though, was Gérald Passédat’s bistro, La Cuisine du Môle Passédat.
Gérald Passédat is a Michelin starred chef, whose menus are priced appropriately to his level of expertise. His main restaurant, Le Petit Nice, is located up the coast in Marseille and has been awarded three Michelin stars. If you don’t have the cash for €200 menus, though, you can still experience a little bit of his kitchen magic at an affordable price. €21.50, to be exact.
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This is the price for the cold buffet (and dessert!) at La Cuisine du Môle Passédat, which is located on the roof of MuCEM, and right next to La Table du Môle Passédat – another of Passédat’s pricier restaurants. The queues start early for La Cuisine, and once you’re inside it’s easy to see why. The complimentary loaf of bread is just the start of the delicious spread on offer.
The cold buffet might sound uninspiring, maybe even unexciting, but trust me when I say that this is an unmissable experience, and, if you’re like me, you’ll find nearly every dish is utterly delicious.
The chefs work full time to replenish the buffet – here, roasted aubergine is being stuffed with cream cheese. Fresh and incredibly addictive!
The buffet begins with salad leaves, a choice of dressing, and three cold, sweating vats of chilled soup. Cucumber, gazpacho and a melon and chilli variety are contained within, although nothing is labeled – so take your chance and pick one… Or, watch your fellow guests like a hawk to check what’s inside!
Then the buffet begins properly: curried chickpeas, a potato and smoked ham salad, butterbeans, shredded vegetables, a mix of beetroot and feta, pasta slicked with a pesto dressing, tabbouleh…
A salad of artichokes and pearl barley, ripe and juicy tomatoes in vinaigrette, vine leaves stuffed with rice, smoked salmon…
Rare beef with horseradish mayonnaise, leeks vinaigrette, those stuffed aubergine rolls, and towers of cheese.
You only live once, so of course, it was imperative that I tried a little bit of everything, just in the interests of science. Even my husband, who is a fussy soul, managed to fill his plate… Looking around, it was hard to tell whether seconds were on offer (although I did see at least one diner return from the buffet for another helping…), but I would highly recommend that you save at least half of your appetite for dessert.
Where else (except maybe a cruise ship…) would you get to tackle such a generous collection of desserts all in one place?
The dessert buffet begins with a crumble, then a passion fruit sponge, before moving on to a couple of highlights for me – unassuming raspberry petit fours which are actually coated with slim layer of white chocolate which crackles on your tongue with a satisfying snap.
Then the mini coffee eclairs and another favourite – a pot of smooth orange cream over a fruit puree. Utterly delicious!
Some hazelnut mini brownies cut into delicate squares – perfect for saving for your coffee at the end!
A gorgeous, glossy, decadent chocolate and caramel tart, accompanied by a lemon meringue pie and a black forest gateau.
If you’re feeling virtuous, you can even help yourself to some fresh fruit salad as well!
Once you’ve finished your feast, drink your petit cafe and wander off to take in the view – the Vieux Port in all its glory, and at the weekends, the mass exodus of boats sailing off into the Mediterranean…
La Cuisine du Môle Passédat is located on the roof of the MuCEM in Marseille. You cannot reserve ahead, and queues are inevitable. At the time of writing, the cold buffet with dessert cost €21.50 and is worth every cent! Visit the site for more information here.