Being a port city, Marseille is known for its fresh and readily available seafood. Given how pricy fresh seafood is in London, I rarely ate any during my stay there so I was really excited for dinner that day! There are so many restaurants with very enticing menus by the port. It was difficult to choose one but we eventually did. It looked the least pretentious and was rather wholesome.
Even though we had newfound love for red wine, seafood still goes best with white and we had a bottle of their recommended finest. It was rather thrilling watching them set up the ice bucket. Red wine comes with no fuss. Our waiter was really spiffy and proper, which was really funny because his co-worker was hilarious. He stooped over my boyfriend and questioned us coyly over the origins of his ‘lovebite’ – a suspicious looking birthmark on his neck. The other patrons and maitre’d were looking over curiously at the hoo-ha.
It was late afternoon, hence the empty tables. As the evening began, the people started filling in and the restaurant was definitely bustling! As we were starving, we ordered three courses each! We decided to veer away from the set menus and order whatever we wanted.
Freshly shucked oysters from the bay on ice. The waiter brought over a bottle of sauce that tasted like a mix between vinegar and tobasco, which we were supposed to drizzle over our oysters. I preferred them with lemon alone and boy, these are probably the best oysters I have ever had. There was minimal fishiness, given how fresh they are, and there was a distinct taste of the sea which heightened my tastebuds. After these oysters, I went on a quest searching for similar ones for the rest of our trip. I would say these still rank very highly!
Another delicious appetiser; pan-fried scallops and fresh salad! Firstly, the vegetables taste like they are fresh out of the garden. Secondly, the dressing is wondrous, it had a very slight tangy taste that eliminates the cloying effect of mayonnaise. And thirdly, the scallops are SO GOOD. Can you see how big they are? It was a very generous serving, and the scallops are not dried out from the frying. Instead, there is an added fragrance.
I was literally blown away when I tasted the scallops for the first time. One of my favourite dishes ever!
Then came our mains. I ordered an assortment of seafood that came with some garden vegetables and a steamed egg. There was also a small bowl of melted butter that I could drizzle on my food. I was rather disappointed with this; the seafood was fresh no doubt but the dish was rather bland overall. Nothing too special! I was still hungover on the amazing starters.
His order of grilled shellfish and vegetables. It does look fantastic but rather lacking in quantity! The prawns were nice and crunchy, and the lemon added a refreshing touch!
For dessert, I ordered the pineapple carpaccio which was very lacking. They were slices of pineapple that were not very thin and extremely tangy. Left my tongue feeling rather furry. The best I have had would be in Paris; the pineapple slices were so thin and well caramelised, melting the instant I placed it in my mouth. Delish! He ordered the lemon meringue tart, which was drizzled in caramel sauce. Probably not the best because it was a tad dry and hard.
Even with disappointments here and there, I remember this meal very very fondly! The appetisers were the highlight of the show, together with the charming waiters, the gradually cooling evening air, the sea breeze, the slow sips of chilled wine, and the company of a loved one. We walked home slightly intoxicated but very very happy.
Blogging about these moments in Europe is quite a bittersweet experience. I remember feeling so lucky and alive, bringing me on a high before crashing me back down to reality. Oh what I would give!