Southern France has always been one of the many places I long to visit. Seeing Eurostar was doing special promotions for trains to France, I have decided to visit Marseille for a quick getaway.
Our first day at Marseille has been great thus far. The weather is so sunny and warm – a delightful change from chilly and rainy London!
We arrived at around 3pm at Marseille. After checking in to our AirBnb and settling in, we took a walk towards the famous Vieux Port (a.k.a the Old Port of Marseille). The view is stunning there and the vibe is so lively. There are lots of restaurants and cafes lined up along the port. After a morning of travelling, the first thing on our minds is to sit down and savour some good food and take in the stunning view of Marseille.
However, little did we know, many restaurants end their food serving at around 4 pm. It was around 4:15 pm and we struggled to find a place that serves actual dishes. We tried asking each restaurant if they still serve food but with no luck. Eventually, a member of staff from one of the restaurants kindly pointed us towards a certain direction where food is still being served. We checked out that side of the port and eventually settled at Brasserie Le Soleil.
It’s a relatively smaller brasserie in comparison to all those big ones around the port. The staff was really friendly and speaks good English. The menu focuses a lot on seafood-based dishes, as well as pasta dishes.
If you don’t already know, Bouillabaisse is a speciality dish in Marseille. It is a traditional Provencal fish stew with lots of exciting flavours and spices. As I see it on the menu under a reasonable price, in a heartbeat I’m set on ordering that.
It is said that an authentic Bouillabaisse must include several types of fish – red rascasse, bony rockfish, sea robin, and European conger. This is the very reason behind the intensive and rich fish flavour. It has such a bold and full-bodied flavour and texture. The fish meat tasted really fresh and has this al dente texture to it. Potatoes are used in this stew – simply imagine how tasty it is for the potatoes to be cooked together with this flavourful mixture where it gets to absorb and soak up all the essence of such goodness!
I thoroughly enjoyed the Bouillabaisse but my most favourite part is its rouille. The rouille is traditionally served alongside with the Bouillabaisse. In a nutshell, the rouille is mayonnaise made of olive oil, garlic, saffron, and cayenne pepper on grilled slices of bread. I was quite taken away by the amazing flavours of the rouille. It has such exciting flavours that it is as if there’s a party of flavours in your mouth. I really enjoyed how the flavours from each component of the rouille danced around on my tongue. It’s hands down my absolute favourite of the meal.
For the other main dish, we ordered a classic Moules Frites (mussels and fries). First of all, the mussels pot is massive – the pot is humongous and the mussels are topped high up in the pot.
The mussels are juicy and simply beautiful. They are so fresh and very nicely seasoned. The soup at the bottom is very flavorful but never does it overwhelms the original freshness of the mussels. The fries have a beautiful golden colour, nice light crisp on the outside and proper fluffy on the inside. We cheekily ate the fries with our remaining rouille from the Bouillabaisse and it was an absolute foodgasm.
Pretty sights, relaxing vibe, sunny weather, and AMAZING FOOD – I really couldn’t ask for anything better. I am so excited for the rest of my trip and I can’t wait to discover more of the Southern France cuisine and culture!