Across the ravishing Cocteau’s chapel and the indecent blue sea… The Cosmo at Villefranche is ideally situated in the heart of Azur paradise. But more then the ideal situation, this restaurant full of joy and spirit has many facets. Stéphane Guglielmi and Arnaud Fallet, the dynamic owners reveal some secrets…
Hello, Arnaud, tell us everything or nearly…How was the Cosmo born?
A.F: the cosmo came from a strong desire to work in catering and from the pleasure of contact with people. It was born also from my passion for gastronomy and good wines…but also for table craft, nice plates…plus finding a magical place.
Originally you did hostelry school, yours parents where in the business?
A.F: …Not at all, l read Law in Nice although I was born in Paris… But as saying goes: “law takes you anywhere as long as you get out of it”.
Your customers are mainly tourist, seasonal?
A.F: no, we are busy all year, 7 days a week and the atmosphere is familial. Of course we receive many tourist with great pleasure, specially the anglo saxon that love the Mediterranean way of living. But we have many regular customers, among them “Some celebrities who enjoy the quiet and authenticity of the Cosmo that has become their canteen”. Others come every morning to enjoy the sunny terrace…and feast on fresh Viennese buns.
We can say your menu is inspired
A.F: that’s correct or more exactly our chef Charles Vasseur (who cooked for the intercontinental of Cannes and also in Jordania and Africa) is very inspired. He likes to work with top quality product, fresh fish, “foie gras”. He is assisted by Frederic Dessein who looks forward Asia and creates more eccentric plates. We have become both classical and modern…in concrete terms you can appreciate a chicken/honey/almond pastilla or a Chinese roll with raw tuna, sesame and soja sauce even an authentic Parisian bistrot cuisine or a Lebanese mezzé.
And for the wine
A.F: I like a good wine specially the good provence vintage like Château La Font du Broc or the Domaine de Gavaisson in with and the Rosé Bodin Cassis.
You describe your restaurant as a restaurant of many ambiances, why?
A.F: because depending on the time of the day, le Cosmo offers a different facet. As I said there in the morning sunny and sweet-toothed terrace, then lunch around original salads served in giant v.et b.bowl like the thai chicken with marinated soja in honey and ginger. At sunset time our bartender Michael Guglielmi prepare wonderful cocktail on the actual tendency: “the mixology” with fresh fruits. On the evening our clients appreciate a more sophisticated cooking like home made “foie gras” with onion marmalade or our specialties with gambas. Then the very big and requested ice creams arrive.
I know the Cosmo has an history
A.F: it’s true, the place has a soul, we extended and modernized and old restaurant loaded with history. You have to know that during and right after WW II, US Navy ships anchored in the harbor. Sailors use to have parties at the Cosmo and dance on the first storey dance floor. And today, well cruise ships often come into the harbor bringing 70 to 80 years old Americans with children and grandchildren whom they make visit the places of their youth. And then they tell us their memories of their Cosmo.
The Cosmo is a state of mind?
A.F: yes it’s a united and faithful team and the regular clients like to joke with the waiters.
Are you going to develop the Cosmo, Arnaud?
A.F: the Cosmo evolve every day, it’s a living place it will anyway stay faithful to himself and keep the best quality.