Architect Jean Nouvel designed the hotel buildings and swimming pool, taking his inspiration from tobacco driers. From this exceptional setting overlooking Bordeaux and the Garonne, you will enjoy the quiet of the vineyards and the park.
Arriving at the St. James in 2002, chef Michel Portos found a space to match his talent which is expressed in a cuisine that audaciously combines Mediterranean and exotic flavours with the products of the terroir of southwestern France.
Michel Portos works with ingredients from all regions of France, but he has a preference for those from the Gironde. His creative cuisine, represented by dishes such as "pig's foot crépinette with calamari and pequillo peppers with acidic pan juices and chorizo," or "roast langoustines with crunchy vegetable sushi and boquerone ice cream," is accompanied by the finest wines, selected and explained by the sommelier. There are two further temptations: "Côté Cour" (fish theme) and "Le Café de l’Espérance" (rotisserie).
Michel Portos long ago abandoned sauces in favor of reductions, little delicately spice- and herb-flavored juices. His cooking borrows sometimes from Maghreb or Asia, often from the Mediterranean Basin and constantly from his Gironde region in a perfect balance of flavors.
He skillfully manages the acidic note in his dishes with a masterful use of citrus and vinegars, and tries always to introduce a "crunchy' note for balance. He likes dishes that reflect particular people and situations, interpreting them in his own personal style. On the St. James menu, there are no traditional recipes. "This style of cooking is achieved very well by local artisans. A gastronomic restaurant has a duty to be creative."
Michel Portos cooking "titillates the palate." It is all contrasts and surprises, beguiling and astounding. A magazine known for uncovering today's major talents wrote: "Sincere, intense and impertinent, Michel Portos' cuisine turns our preconceptions upside down, blazing new paths for the 21st century diner who is not won over simply by gourmandise, but who has a keen regard for the cultural and aesthetic sense of the plate."
He wasn't expecting it... but it happened!
When Michel Portos decided to become a cook, his father became depressed. Achieving two Michelin stars is certainly proof that he made the right choice.
Professionally, it was complicated for this native of Marseille to move to Bouliac. It's not easy to change one's habits, but this second star confirms the rightness of his choice.
He remembers, during his time working with Dominique Toulousy, imagining himself with two stars: "One day, I'll do it."
His instinct has served him as well in his career path as it does in his cooking.
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