We got to Avignon and rather than parking at our favorite garage (Hotel Mercure) close to the Popes' Palace, I decided to follow the signs for La Mirande and see if there was a garage close by. After wandering through some very narrow streets, we ended up in front of the 5 star hotel of the same name at the foot of the Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace).
It was raining and the hotel bellman took pity on me or at least I think it was pity and he let me leave our car in front of the hotel. I do not think that is a regular policy so we will park at our usual place in the Hotel Mercure garage next time.
The hotel is named after the room in the Palais des Papes, La Mirande, where the Pope’s representatives held receptions for the city’s notables and visiting high-ranking officials.
The walls of the hotel hold years of history. Originally a cardinal’s palace in the 14th century, the ruins of La Mirande were restored during the 17th century to create the Hôtel de Vervins with its baroque façade by architect Pierre Mignard, later becoming the Hôtel Pamard between the late 18th and 20th centuries.
The Stein family opened La Mirande as a hotel-restaurant in 1990 after restoring the property to recreate the atmosphere of an 18th century aristocratic residence, where period tapestries and chandeliers harmoniously co-exist with tufted armchairs and master paintings.
|La Mirande Hotel|
|Shirley in the dining room at La Mirande|
The chef offers a different 3-course "Petit Menu" every week at lunch for 39 Euros. After being seated in a beautifully furnished dining room, we all decided to begin our meal with an aperitif. Shortly after we were served our Kir Royales, the servers brought us a trio of appetizers which included black olive breadsticks, savory madeleines, and carrots tempura with a tomato tapenade dipping sauce.
|Black olive breadsticks appetizer|
|Savory madeleines appetizer|
|Carrots tempura appetizer|
|Tomato tapenade dipping sauce for the carrots tempura|
To accompany lunch we chose the 2012 Vacqueyras Le Sang des Cailloux Cuvee Azalais. It was an inspired choice as far as I was concerned and we ended up going to the domaine to taste wine and bought a case of wine to take home.
|House made rolls|
The chef and his kitchen team were most accommodating. The regular amuse bouche for the menu was Abalone with lime seen below.
|Abalone with lime amuse bouche|
For those who didn't want Abalone, he sent out eggplant ravioli with pureed spinach seen below.
|Eggplant ravioli with pureed spinach amuse bouche|
The starter for the "Petit Menu" that week was the Tarte fine with cèpes and pan sautéed foie gras seen below. For those who didn't want foie gras, the chef sent out the same Tarte without foie gras.
|Tarte fine with cèpes and pan sautéed foie gras. Served with a reduction of veal broth|
The main course for the "Petit Menu" was a white fish fillet roasted on the skin and served with baby carrots, Brussels Sprouts and spinach. This was a delicious dish.
|Lieu Jaune fillet roasted on the skin with baby carrots, Brussels Sprouts and spinach|
After we cleaned our plates, and they were cleared, the server brought us a "pre-dessert" of cream of corn ice cream with fromage blanc. Delicious, but this was just the "pre-dessert".
|Pre-dessert of cream of corn ice cream with fromage blanc|
The dessert for the week's "Petit Menu" was cream of banana with caramel ice cream. Although not a huge fan of banana desserts, this was very tasty.
|Cream of banana with caramel ice cream|
And if that wasn't enough, the chef sent out a plate of assorted mignardises, pretty, bite-sized pastries and sweets the restaurant served with coffee at the end of the meal. A very nice way to end a most enjoyable meal.
As we were finishing up, chef de cuisine Florent Pietravalle stopped by our table to make sure we had enjoyed our lunch. You won't be surprised to know that we told him "yes, very much." If I recall correctly, my friend Steve said something to the effect that "La Mirande Restaurant might just be his new favorite restaurant in the Northern Vaucluse."
La Mirande Hotel (The restaurant is inside the hotel)
4 Place de l'Amirande
Tel: 04 90 14 20 20