Inheritor of a long dynasty of cooks where big family dinners were taken care of by passionate grandmothers, Julien Brun grew up observing a grandmother, who cooked without recipes, uniquely following her taste and instinct… and leaving no leftovers on the plates…This was cooking from the heart that we also called the “poor man’s feast.” But what a wonderful apprenticeship!
At 19, Julien Brun left Aix-en-Provence, his hometown, for Paris and enrolled in the ESCF, the Higher School of French Cuisine at Ferrandi, renowned for training to a high standard the chefs of tomorrow. Next he undertook a highly educational internship as a Chef Tournant at the Ritz, then as pastry chef at the two-Michelin starred Carré des Feuillants restaurant, and lastly, he found himself assistant chef in the Parisian brasserie, Le Murmure; there he learnt to manage a team and to devise the recipes for the dishes of the day.
Passionate and ambitious, he made the best of a good opportunity by buying the restaurant and hotel Le Relais de Saint Ser, located in an extraordinary site at the foot of the Sainte-Victoire Mountain, in Aix-en-Provence. At 26, he associated with his workmate Sebastien in this fine opportunity comprising a 40-seat restaurant and 9-room hotel. A unique address that enjoys a spectacular panorama from its magnificent shady terrace. The décor is sharp with lovely contemporary furniture and pretty white tablecloths inside.
Sharing and generosity are the words he chooses to define the qualities of a good chef. As for his cuisine, it’s both traditional and inventive at the same time; his goal is to start with less expensive produce to work it in a creative manner with precise tastes without extravagance. He also pays particular attention to the lightness of his dishes by reducing the amount of fat and by uniquely using grape seed oil, because “too much fat kills flavor.”
The contents of your so prettily presented dish will also transport you back to your childhood memories: the Marseille specialty “Pieds paquets,” or sheep's feet and stuffed tripe, and baked potatoes; braised beef; pan-fried fresh foie-gras; a splendid cod loin Meunière with carrot and cumin mousseline; vanilla rice pudding with rhubarb purée and raspberry coulis; a delicious floating island with a sticky caramel center… Enjoy and prepare yourself the delicious mackerel delicately perfumed with Mediterranean flavors, his grandmother’s recipe.
The chef has chosen to present a short menu in order to favor seasonal produce: here everything is prepared fresh daily… No set menus but a perfectly balanced offer of 5 entrées, 6 mains, and 5 desserts. Remember that a true bistro proposes a reduced selection to highlight the ingredients’ freshness. Expect to pay 35 Euros per person for a 3-course meal, without wine. The clientele is essentially made up of regulars, which makes it a safe bet.
At the Relais de Saint Ser, we feel special, happy, far from the clamor of the city, a moment out of time… We are seized by a sweet and delicious wisdom… A rare sensation.
Restaurant Relais de Saint Ser & Hôtel
Avenue Paul Cézanne
T 04 42 66 37 26