This time last year, I was double fisting dessert at La Vigie. In one hand, a mini-cone of homemade chocolate ice cream dripping down my fingers; in the other, wedges of the freshest fruit I have ever tasted.
And, like Bono and his entourage next to me indulging in the daily grill specials, no one could have ever imagined a year later that lunching would take on a whole different experience thanks to a nasty virus called Covid-19.
From June 2, a socially starved Principality returned to the restaurant scene wearing face masks to be seated at reservation-only tables, which are positioned at least one meter away from everyone else. At Monte Carlo Bay’s l’Orange Verte, additionally your temperature is taken before entering, a protocol followed by all SBM locations.
After months of isolation, l’Orange Verte is the ideal spot for an informal lunch to ease yourself back into the real world. The private shaded garden terrace is the right dose of outdoor without street or pedestrian traffic, but not so isolated that you won’t run into a familiar face, like Victoria Silvstedt.
Michelin-starred chef Marcel Ravin, who runs the Blue Bay restaurant and the “snackomanic” eatery Mada One, takes the bistronomy menu up a notch by refining classic lunch dishes, like Caesar salad with quail eggs (€29).
The Hall of Fame starters are perfect for sharing, especially the organic salmon tartar with avocado and pickled ginger (€26), although you might be tempted to eat it all yourself. As for the gooey burrata cheese with tomatoes and pesto (€24), Le Grill at the Hotel de Paris could learn a thing or two from chef Ravin’s version.
For mains, the fish, chicken and beef options (€26-€45) may not be extensive but they tick all the taste boxes. The menu also includes a detailed legend indicating allergens of fish, peanuts, gluten, nuts, milk, sulphite, mustard and celery—you name it.
These days, it is no longer the lingering taste of ice cream that makes my meal memorable. It is the mask wearing wait staff who work so hard to make our lives seem normal.