Film Scouts Diaries

1997 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Dining in Cannes: Restaurant Bacon

by Jim Byerley

Ordinarily one wouldn't think of going to a restaurant named "Bacon" for fish. Well, there's nothing at all ordinary about Bacon or its setting in Cap d'Antibes. Cannes Festival goers automatically think of Tetou when the word "bouillabaisse" is uttered. Tetou is truly unique and the fish soup may be memorable, but the place can be hectic, overcrowded and impossible to book.

Just a little further on, there on the far side of the Cap d'Antibes peninsula, is a glorious alternative. Cool, calm and collected, Bacon always seems somehow tranquil, even when filled. Tables are well-spaced, giving the illusion of spaciousness. You are not forced to eat with your elbows in your neighbor's ribs. Maybe the tranquillity has something to do with the hypnotic view from the restaurant across the bay to Antibes and the mountains beyond. On a good night you can see all the way to Nice, maybe even to Italy. The decor is simply white and there are yellow striped awnings over the terrace room. A large vase of Birds of Paradise adds a flash of gold. There's something mindful of Southern California here, but just a hint, as all is done with classic French style.

Bacon's seafood dominated menu is short and to the point. Meat lovers should keep on driving. The one non-swimming exception among the starters is the heavenly fois gras salad, served with haricots verts and field lettuces. All kinds of Mediterranean fishes fresh from the market are then displayed at your table. Preparations are generally simple. Just grill, add basil and some olive oil for sheer perfection. One slightly more involved preparation en papillote is worth a try too. The Bouillabaisse, avec or sans lobster, is assembled for you and is heady and fragrant. Potatoes, crunchy toasts and aioli complete the picture in your bowl. The signature frozen nougatine brings this perfect meal to a perfect close. Sit back, and drink in the sparkling lights across the bay. Who said there's no heaven on earth? Well, there is a price. The bill will bring you thudding back to earth. Paradise doesn't come cheap.

Bacon has been around for two generations. Victor Sordello started the seaside place, on this very same spot, years ago. It was a simple wooden shack way back then selling sardines and sandwiches. His sons, Etienne and Didier, now have charge and things have certainly taken a turn for the elegant. Fish is gathered daily from the market in Cannes and fisherman occasionally deliver their catch to the Sordello's in person. I have heard stories about special orders brought in wicker crates with sea water dripping all over the floor.

A polite silence exists between Bacon and their rival in Golfe-Juan. It is doubtful that one family dines in the other's establishment , and there are rumors that the famous Tetou fish may have seen the inside of a freezer. Mon Dieu. The Sordello family has cooked for the Reagans in Washington and for the presidents of France in Paris. If nothing else, I bet Ronnie can remember that meal, avec plaisir.

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