The last time I visited France I ended up losing my composure over some killer waves on a boat crossing the Blue Coast; but just because I may not feel safe in one of their boats anymore, doesn't mean I wasn't interested to try some of their Provencal cuisine; as long as it wasn't on another boat.
Cigalon is pretty. It's like really, really pretty. Shared between the main restaurant and an intimate dining room, Cigalon have gone out of their way to provide cool symmetry and geometric shapes with a Provencal and pastel edge. While I felt like the interiors could almost be colonial in a sense, Cigalon has made a stunning space that emphasis shape with mirrors, provides plush dining in scalloped booths and really gives off a luxurious edge thanks to the overhanging of bespoke lighting and palms, giving each dining corner its own feel of intimacy. Lucky enough to snag one of their comfy purple clams and dine in a giant parma violet? Yes, yes we were.
The Food and Drink
Stocked with plates that boast the very best from the South of France, Cigalon provide seasonal dishes that really pack a Provencal punch. Having started with their floral take on an Old Fashioned, it's clear that Cigalon know their way through their back bar, providing me with a cocktail that still kicked with the meatiness of whiskey, but came muddled with crisp botany. Pairing that crisp thwack with starters, we opted for the white asparagus with capers mayonnaise alongside a risotto. Not only were both dishes intimate and just the right, introductory size, the flavours felt natural, unprocessed and smart.
Heading to mains was a fishy decision, there ain't no doubt about it. Sharing between us the fish of the day, a crisp seabass atop pasta petals and a roasted cod with borlotti beans and sage, it's clear that Cigalon's emphasis on produce comes on strong. Not only was the seabass a rich and encroaching dish that promised a creamy texture atop the brilliantly brittle snap of the skin, the cod was perfectly accompanied by garden-fresh beans and modest notes. Pairing both with roasted potatoes and panisses (chickpea fries) gave the main that all important Southern edge. Our paired wine, selectively picked by our host was also a yellow-ing and inviting flavour that really brought out the potential in our fish plates.
Tidying the whole meal up with their cutesy and compact goat and ewe cheese selection (goat cheese is incredibly prominent in Provencal dining) is when you realise that three courses coming in at £34.50 makes the decision to dine at Cigalon seem simple.
Not only was our server and host an absolute gem that not only provided Provencal know-how and prompt dishes, the general feeling at Cigalon is that of mutual scarfing and lounging. While i'm not suggesting you kick off your shoes and idly flop about, Cigalon may look like the kind of restaurant that reeks with exclusivity, but there's absolutely no feeling of that within, only the gaggle of mutual diners and the peaking of candles come sundown. I thought i'd be wildly under-dressed in a crop t-shirt, but even our server's sharp suit couldn't sway me from the fun bustle of tables and welcoming atmosphere.
I was really impressed with Cigalon and their ability to mount palates with the very best in Provencal cuisine. Not only are their team clued up and the dishes incredibly acknowledging of seasonal ingredients, Cigalon provides a smart yet uninhibited dining experience no matter how big your brood.