Café des Arts
The Colour of Maniglier
Old Sugar Mill, Trou D'Eau Douce (+230 480 0220; maniglier.com)
‘It’s not a normal restaurant,’ says Jocelyn Gonzalez about Fondation Maniglier, set up in 2004 to honour a great French artist: his mother. Yvette Maniglier (1922–2007) was Matisse’s last protégée and this painting-filled paradise has art, food, and adventure enthusiasts happily driving two hours to spend an evening among her landscapes, portraits, sculptures and pastels. Jazz and easy-listening classics play softly throughout the 1840-built sugar mill decked out in colour-splashed masterpieces that once travelled the world for exhibitions. White-clothed tables are seemingly set for a magnificent gala dinner and the à la carte French menu declares local and luxurious ingredients such as palm hearts, lobster, sole and foie gras care of ex-five-star-hotel chefs. Jocelyn’s father was a designer and furniture maker from Barcelona and Gonzalez Senior’s creativity has clearly also influenced the flamboyant setting. ‘There’s a rapport between the art and the heritage of the building,’ explains Jocelyn with pride. While Café des Arts invites you to admire Maniglier’s brushes with Expressionism, Fauvism (Les Fauves – meaning ‘the wild beasts’), and pictures of her time spent in Paris, Neuilly, Venice and Tuscany, the difference between this and a commercial gallery is that nothing here is for sale, except for a fine-dining experience.