How Rech by Alain Ducasse carves out a slice of French summer through seafood

Hailing from Nice, Rech’s executive chef, Stéphane Gortina is an enthusiast when it comes to embracing summer.

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Stéphane Gortina

“[Late summer] is the best time in France and I often tend to go back to rediscover my region and my culture,” he says. As a 13-year veteran of the Alain Ducasse enterprise, Stéphane raves that his journey has been truly amazing.

“You learn so many things working for Mr Ducasse and what I appreciate most is being able to buy the best products and ingredients available on the market – this means we never have to compromise on quality. Here at Rech, we are also very lucky to have this beautiful kitchen and the breathtaking view – on a sunny day, I feel as if I’m actually in the South of France.”

With sweeping views of the Victoria Harbour, the design of Rech was heralded by Marie Deroudilhe. It boasts serene, light and airy interiors with gorgeously curved Branca chairs that reflect the sinuous shapes of the seaside.

 

Being able to buy the best products and ingredients available on the market means we never have to compromise on quality.

Design details

Mr Ducasse has also put a lot of thought into all of the details – the custom tableware in colbalt blue was designed by Belgian ceramicist Pieter Stockmans to reflect seaside elements, while new plates by French porcelain manufacturer, Pillivuyt, showcase the fish artwork of Jean-Pierre Guilleron.

Even the white pebbles and oversized natural rocks were sourced from the shores of Brittany – serving as a decorative tablepiece as well as a natural perch for the restaurant’s homemade seaweed bread.

Squid, shellfish and crustacean in delicate broth

Seafood dream

For the summer experience, Stéphane recommends starting a meal with the squid, shellfish and crustacean in delicate broth. “I decided to make a pasta made entirely from squid – inside it’s filled with all the fruits of the sea – periwinkles, clams, lobster and so on. I add some lemon condiment to boost the flavour, some cognac and reduce the lobster sauce. You have all the freshness of seafood inside this dish.”

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This is followed by the John Dory aiguillette and squid with fennel, which Stéphane claims to represent the feeling of summer for him. “I love eating this fish. I barbeque the fennel so there’s a slightly smoked flavour and then I pan fry the John Dory with olive oil – no salt or pepper is really needed and there’s enough flavour to shine through.”

Baba with Rum

Dessert delights

Desserts are a highlight as much as the seafood at Rech, with tantalising creations such as XL Chocolate Éclair with chocolate or hazelnut and the Apricot Soufflé. But it is the traditional French dessert, Baba with Rum, that the chef claims has no match anywhere else in the world and is considered a legend in Mr Ducasse’s restaurants.

When it arrives beautifully presented in a fine silver bowl, Stéphane says, “What is good is the simplicity of this dessert, though, of course, there is a lot of technique involved to make it. I’ve made it a game to try this every time I’m at a restaurant, and never have I had one as good as Mr Ducasse’s Baba.”

On a sunny day, I feel as if I’m actually in the South of France.

 

Rech serves its own homemade seaweed baguette and decadent butter.

Head Sommelier Romain Loriot prepares the sweet wine, Rivesalte Ambre – Domaine Mas Deimas 2012, which pairs beautifully with the Rum Baba.

Recommended wine pairings include the Sancerre, Domaine Vacheron and the Côte de Provence-Chateau Roubine 2016 rose wine.

The crisp fresh flavours of Gillardeau oysters and John Dory are brought to life within the chic, airy interiors.

 
 

Recently opened by Black Sheep Restaurants, click here for our review of chef Shun Sato’s late-night izakaya, Fukuro.

Photography: Edgar Tapan
Art direction: May Lau