Warning: take a table here and you may never want to leave.
There are few lovelier surroundings in Cannes than the garden before the Grand Hotel. That’s where – in spring, summer and decent days in autumn – the Park 45’s tables are arranged. With mature horticulture all around and lawns stretching off to the sea, the setting would be worth a bob or two, even if you were eating chicken nuggets. So indeed would the inside, with its nicely contemporary mix of cream chairs, black tables, earthy tones and a rather appealing chopped up mural of roses.
The thing is, though, that chef Sébastien Broda doesn’t deal in nuggets. At least, not in public. His interest tends more towards giving French Mediterranean cuisine a contemporary twist, and he does it superbly. Some purist critics have suggested that young Mr Broda – he’s in his earliest possible 30s – has been overwhelmed by the surroundings and the responsibility of handling the catering for one of Cannes big name hotels.
As usual, purists have got it wrong – perhaps because Broda’s cooking didn’t leave them feeling bloated (French gastronomy critics can be rather stout fellows). But that’s the point. Dishes here are meant to be light and full of both sunshine and invention. Try the starter of flaked crabmeat with cucumber and lemon jelly and yoghurt mousse and you’ll see what I mean. The Michelin men passed by here and left a star in their wake. I think they got it right.