Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lunch at La Mirande Restaurant beneath the shadow of the Pope's Palace

One morning in October, we headed to Avignon with friends Steve and Mary for lunch at La Mirande Restaurant. Shirley and I had eaten at La Mirande before at the suggestion of fellow blogger, renown cooking instructor and friend Barbara at Cuisine de Provence, but this would be the first time for Steve and Mary.

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.

Pope's Palace

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.

Assorted mignardises

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
84000 Avignon
Tel: 04 90 14 20 20
website: www.la-mirande.fr


  1. Wow, it looks fantastic.
    I am so going to copy the idea of savory madeleines.

    1. Thanks for checking in. I was looking at madeleine recipes yesterday. Thinking about making some today. Hope you are well. Happy New Year.

  2. Those desserts look amazing!!!!

    1. Thank you Cheryl for stopping by to check out my blog and for leaving a comment. This is much appreciated. The whole meal was amazing. So many nice refined touches and the food was delicious. We will definitely return soon.

  3. Hi Michel, I just found your blog when I was doing some research about Provence. I travelled there last Fall and fell in love. It is an amazing place. I have not seen all the beautiful sites listed in your beautiful blog. I have spent all morning looking at your beautiful, informative blog and I just love it and all your gorgeous pics. My dream is to also have a home in Provence and retired there. You are living the life! I am an artist and I live and travel all over the world with my husband for his work. We are now back living in Basel Switzerland after 3.5 years in South Africa. We plan on going to Provence over Easter. So I am very happy I found your blog to help with seeing some more places we have not seen on our last trip. Also I am painting some more scenes of Provence and your blog has totally inspired me! Thanks for sharing your travels around Provence with us. Best wishes to you and your wife and family, Lisa Lorenz www.lisalorenzpaintings.com

    1. I just belatedly found your comment. Very happy you like the blog. As Easter is coming soon, you are likely deep into planning by now. I have not been to Basel Switzerland for many years. We used to go often when my family lived in Strasbourg France many years ago. Enjoy your trip. I hope you stop in often at my blog and let me know how your trip goes.