Résidence de la Pinède, in the bay of St Tropez, begins summer service at its three-Michelin-starred restaurant La Vague d’Or from May 4.
Executive chef Arnaud Donckele honed his craft with Alain Ducasse and Michel Guérard, and says of his culinary style that he “likes to paint pictures with food”. His highly artistic eight-course Epicurean Adventure (€340, other menus from €205) includes zitone black truffle pasta with artichoke and basil (a homage to chef Jean-Louis Nomicos, under whom Donckele worked at Paris’s Lasserre), while other dishes such as La Rencontre d’un Jardin de Printemps feature some vegetables from his organic garden nearby.
“It takes me two years to construct a new dish, and since living in this region I’ve tried to tell its history by cooking using local products from the land and sea,” says Donckele. Those land and sea elements come together in his Surf n’ Turf, which combines a saddle of rabbit and blue lobster with rosemary bouillon, and stand alone in the fire-grilled leerfish (served with wild rocket, smoked anchovies, skipjack tuna, myrtle and dressed with wine vinegar) and the wild thyme-roasted Baron of Sisteron lamb, which arrives in two services.
Donckele’s signature dessert is Leaves to Leaves, inspired by his travels in the Middle East and featuring eight fresh and candied citrus fruits and berries, paired with lemonade. Cheeses include tomme d’Arles, made with goat’s milk at La Ferme de la Pastourelle in the Var region, and dining can be followed with a stay in one of the hotel’s 36 rooms (doubles from €550) – which, by the way, starred in the 1964 film The Troops of St Tropez with Louis de Funès.