Spoon at Byblos
Avenue Foch, St-tropez, 83990
- Recommended for:
- Families with teenagers, Foodies, Honeymooners, Mature travellers, Seasoned travellers, Nightlife, Romance, Special occasions, Trendiness
Best for Trendiness - Expert review of Spoon at Byblos
For my money, this is the coolest restaurant in St Tropez … which is why I had to be dragged in screaming the first time I went.
Whatever the opposite of ‘cool’ might be, that is what I am. Mention of “contemporary design ambiences” or “cutting-edge fusion flavours” doesn’t make me hungry. It makes me nervous.
So I wasn’t very happy as I took my place on the teak-decking terrace. The furniture was terribly trendy – directors’ chairs and that kind of thing. The light came from storm lamps in the branches of plane trees. Fellow guests looked sleeker and more tanned than you can imagine.
Fun & satisfying
And the menu was all but incomprehensible. It offered combinations of concoctions through which, apparently, diners were encouraged to zig-zag ... a little of this, a little of that and then something in sauce from the top left-hand corner. I got someone else to order for me.
And, against all the odds, it was utterly terrific. A flurry of little dishes allowed one to dabble in tastes from across southern France and beyond: both fun and very satisfying.
As one settled in, so the surroundings seemed absolutely right, even romantic – an oasis of casual elegance within shouting distance of the Place des Lices. And the staff were as friendly as can be. I felt fleetingly what it must be like to be a St Tropez insider.
Mind you, I shouldn’t really have worried. Spoon, the second restaurant of the Byblos hotel, is Alain Ducasse’s outpost in St Tropez – and Ducasse is the cleverest French chef alive. He’s an expert at winning the reluctant over to audacious dining concepts, essentially because he masters the basics better than anyone.
Naturally, it’s not cheap but, if you have the cash, Spoon is a substantial spot which will enfold you into the glamour of St Tropez while sparing you its frothy excesses.
In more recent times, Spoon has simplified its menu so it’s not quite so much like trying to understand a spread-sheet.
But the choice remains large and varied, ranging around the Mediterranean basin, from France, via Italy to the Lebanon and North Africa – all filtered through the imagination of Ducasse and his man in St Tropez, chef Vincent Maillard.
Line-caught sea-bass, chicken tajine with olives and lemons and tuna à-la-plancha are dishes which catch the eye – and there are intense combinations of vegetable, cereals and sauces to accompany. Certain items, like sea-bream with lemon and fennel, are for sharing (as, at €92 a throw, they jolly well should be).
Best fun of all is the Spoon Experience Menu. Essentially, you eat whichever selection dishes the chef sends out. Even at €86 a go, I doubt you will be disappointed.
And, unusually for France, the place has a vast selection of wines, by the bottle or glass, from pretty much everywhere in the world.
We’ve already discussed the terrace which, low-lit underneath the plane trees, is quite lovely. Within minutes, I’d ceased worrying that everyone else there was better looking, richer and almost certainly a lot more famous than I was. Oddly, and though you’re in the open, you can carve out your own little world within it all.
The terrace then segues almost imperceptibly into the interior of the restaurant – where the best bit has red banquettes and low-hanging Moroccan lamps. The bar itself is a circular item of blue glass and stainless steel, with goblets and bottles apparently hovering in mid-air above.
It’s all hip enough for those who care about hipness – the place has its roll-call of showbiz regulars – without in any way outraging those of us who don’t.
Given the choice (and the weather), though, I’d still go for dining on the terrace.
Friendly, effective and helpful – even if you’re ugly and unknown. Believe me.
At the foot of the Byblos hotel – with its own, separate entry – hard by the Place des Lices.
Allow a minimum of €65-70 a head, more if you’re going to splash out on a special menu and/or on the wine.
More information on Spoon at Byblos:
- Price guide:
- French, Fusion, International, Mediterranean, Modern
- Avenue Foch, St-tropez, 83990
- +33 494 566820
- Opening times:
- Open April 1-October 24; 8pm-12.30am.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Essential at peak times