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Le Mas Candille: a midsummer night's dream

The first act of the year was to welcome chef Xavier Burelle to the team. Since then, Le Mas Candille has joined the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World group. What’s on the menu at this five-star Mougins address for Part Two of 2018?

Bouillabaisse inspired by Marseille © Marie-France Nelaton Even for a five-star hotel, the setting of Le Mas Candille is spectacular. Minutes from Mougins’ charming old town, guests enjoy almost five hectares of immaculate grounds that lie around an 18th century farmhouse, 45 rooms and suites, and a vast panorama from the perfume city of Grasse to the dramatic mountains of the lower Alps. With two restaurants – including the Michelin-starred Le Candille, now headed by Xavier Burelle – and a renowned spa, the establishment is a veritable byword for ‘boutique hotel done well’.

The hotel is run by Yorkshire-born director Mark Silver, who took over in 2002. Just recently in June, he announced that Le Mas Candille had decided to leave behind the notable Relais & Châteaux brand and instead join the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, a collection of 520 independent hotels in 80 countries. Bigger isn’t always better according to the group, which prefers to champion excellence and individuality.

One of Le Mas Candille’s strengths is its position between the glamour of the Côte d’Azur and the rural beauty of Provence. These two often parallel worlds are both represented in the hotel’s gastronomy.

The Michelin-starred cuisine of Le Candille

Authentic Mediterranean ingredients are honoured – even elevated – in Burelle’s cuisine at Le Candille: a bouillabaisse inspired by the chef’s memories of his time in Marseille (€32); red mullet with a traditional Provençal onion and anchovy pissaladière (€48); langoustine served in open ravioli with strawberries and fresh goat's cheese from nearby Mouans-Sartoux (€58); veal shoulder slow-cooked for 17 hours with petits pois, French black pudding and lemon confit (€98, on the

Candille Discovery menu); and roast beef fillet with herbes de Provence, courgette flower stuffed with beef cheek, anchoïade and caviar from Maison Petrossian (€135, on the Signature menu). The restaurant offers an indoor dining room and al fresco option on the shaded terrace. It is open for both lunches and dinners every day throughout the summer (closed on Mondays and Tuesday from September). 

The terrace of Le Candille © Nicolas Dubreuil

Poolside dining at La Pergola

Burelle, who has worked alongside many a famous name – Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athéné and Philippe Legendre at Georges V in Paris as well as Arnaud Poette of Cap Eden Roc on the Cap d’Antibes and Michel Del Burgo of the Hôtel Negresco in Nice – showcases a more casual approach at the splendid pool-side restaurant of La Pergola. Guests can choose from two menus or go à la carte.

The Menu Fraîcheur for €29 includes a glass of wine, mineral water and a salad: the quintessential Niçoise; the Mediterranean with octopus; or the Pergola with bacon and a poached egg. On the €39 menu: marinated salmon gravelax with fennel salad (€20); gazpacho (€18); heritage tomatoes with burrata and basil oil (€20); gambas à la plancha with focaccia and sauce vierge (€34); pan-fried sea bream fillet (€28); Di Gragnano linguine or casrecce with a choice of fresh sauces (€21); handmade macaroons; and strawberry and verbena soup (desserts all €12). La Pergola is open throughout the summer for lunches and dinners, with live music every Tuesday and Thursday. Two themed soirées will take place this summer: aquatic ballet Fluo Show on 20th July and International Cruising on 27th August.