Review
| Florentine Maats

A Summer Afternoon at L’Orangerie, Airelles Gordes, La Bastide

Picture this: an expansive, layered terrace with incredible views of one of the most picturesque towns of Provencal France. Lunch served on white table cloths, with majestic cyprus and olive trees blowing in the wind and crisp French rosé flowing all afternoon. A beautifully restored 18th century stately home as the setting of one of the most unique hidden gems that the Luberon has to offer. This is La Bastide de Gordes, part of the Airelles collection.

 

 

Gordes is a gorgeous historic village located in the extremely sought-after Luberon area of countryside Southern France. Driving up to this unique village will take your breath away every single time: when you turn the corner to drive up to the village, you catch a glimpse of the rolling hills, and the unique town of Gordes set entirely in the hillside. I have been coming to this town for years now and it never ceases to amaze me.

La Bastide de Gordes has been an institution in the picturesque village for a long time, and with a revamp by Airelles it has simply been raised to a new standard. The hotel is not small – with 40 rooms – yet all the service feels extremely personalised and bespoke. With the revamp, the integrity of the centuries old Bastide can be seen through all the interior’s historical references.

The Sybarite was invited for lunch in one of La Bastide’s 4 restaurants, L’Orangerie, and at the height of summer, this was definitely one of the most unique lunch spots I have ever experienced in all my time visiting the Luberon. Facing the valley of Gordes, the outside terrace of L’Orangerie is one of the many layers of outside area that the hotel has to offer. A spacious, breezy terrace, with corners for a more intimate setting as well as a more open beautifully white table clothed section. Peer over the edge where guests lounge by the pool on the crisp lawn by the pool.

 

 

On a summery hot day in Southern France, there is no better way to start a lovely lunch than with an ice-cold glass of pink Champagne. We followed this with a crisp bottle of La Ferme Saint Pierre Ventoux ‘Cuvée Juliette’ rosé. We began our meal with a starter each, the ‘Homard-Celeri’, lobster with celery and ‘Thon Rouge-Soja’, soy red tuna. The lobster was fresh, lemony and looked like a piece of art on the plate. The kick of spice balanced perfectly with the ravioli pockets of refreshing celery, with the occasional hint of the salty lobster. The other starter had a much more Asian vibe, with hints of peanuts and soya, and lovely fresh tuna sashimi.

 

 

The dishes are all light and refreshing which, by the height of the afternoon, was just as lovely as the canopy that was pulled down to hide us from the sun. For our mains we both went for fish, the ‘Bar- Courgette’, seabass with zucchini, zucchini flower and crumb, and ‘Turbot-Artichaut’, turbot fillet with artichokes, artichoke puree and clams. The turbot was the absolute star of the show – a delicate fish cooked to perfection, with creamy artichokes balanced with salty, fishy clams. The courgette mousse and little chopped courgettes added a lovely flavouring and texture to the seabass, and its vibrant colour stood out on the terrace.

 

A dessert could not go amiss, and thus arrived the second star of the show, the stunning ‘Abricot-Miel’, consisting of roasted apricots, Provence honey ice cream, beautifully topped with a wafer honeycomb crisp, that made this perfect dessert look like a little beehive. Our other dessert, Framboise-Amande, was vibrant and sweet, with hibiscus mousse, raspberry coulis and almond ice cream.

The use of local produce throughout the entire meal is something all the restaurants at La Bastide are known for, and for us, was the real standout of the afternoon. The location is exceptional, hidden away from the busy market day on a Tuesday, and the food was a perfect reflection of all the wonderful flavours and produce that the Luberon has to offer.

 

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