If you visit the illustrious Arènes de Nîmes, you may undoubtedly dream about a gastronomic moment, full of delights. For instance, the SKAB restaurant stands in front of the Musée de la Romanité (read our article here), represented by the culinary talent of the Chef Damien Sanchez associated with his wife Séverine, with whom he wished to build a creative concept.
The promise of an elegant gourmet address where a sunny vision of Mediterranean and Occitanian gastronomies get married to unveil a set of flavors, issued from this rich local terroirs. All those delights are sublimated, by the elegance and strength of Languedoc wines, in a vegetal framework, where two huge negundo maple trees display their branches in a naturally shaded patio (photo credits: AP).
Adding to this, the dining hall proposes a regularly renovated and refined setting, adorned by a wide selection of paintings. This artistic installation is even completed by several pieces realized by craftsmen from the Gard region, such as potteries and even knives from Le Camarguais manufacture (read more below what for).
As far as we know, the chef Damien Sanchez, who was already trained at many gastronomic addresses (such as Christophe Coutanceau, at the Cabro d’Or and La Réserve in Beaulieu-sur-Mer), wanted from the beginning to achieve his culinary art in his native city of Nîmes. That’s why he decided to come back there in 2014, accompanied with his wife Séverine, while eventually finding this opportunity of restaurant.
Therefore, after collaborating in some renowned addresses, like Castel as and Jérome Utile, the no less inspired Damien Sanchez opened his SKAB project in 2014 and even obtained his first Michelin star in 2017. Regarding Séverine, she has been running the table-service in SKAB since 2020, after a solid experience in the Cheval Blanc also in Nîmes, among other fine addresses.
This love story get pursued under the framework of an inspired family gastronomic project. Based on this statement, we invite you to experiment this wide florilege of delicate and surprising savors, proposed in accordance with the wine selection from the cellar.
Indeed, you can be sure that you Nîmes tour would be complete with such a gastronomic touch… Especially if we believe that the kitchen team of this SKAB restaurant pays many efforts to propose a set of premium ingredients, sourced from the best local suppliers. This authentic vision of Nîmes terroir would provide you in a plate a unique identity from the countless facets of this Occitan gastronomy. This is the case here with various types of menus, like this Menu Degustation which is proposed in 8 services, eventually completed with 4 glasses of wines.
Counting on a regular and close cooperation with regional producers, the chef and his brigade have not stopped developing their borderless research for homemade culinary creations. This is notably the case for the seasonal cocktail (renewed every three month) lavender syrup from Ventoux, completed with vodka, along tonic and balanced by some Vouvray sparkling wine.
Introduced by a selection of tempting appetizers, composed of an oily but charming focaccia filled with dried tomatoes, plus capers and spring onions, naturally bathed in an Anaïs typed olive oil. Before having a taste of some brandade dome, covered by red pepper jelly and laying on a squid ink shortbread, followed by spelled crisps and radish mousse.
Without forgetting a tiny pita bread and its chickpea mousse, unless you prefer a chips made from Canavere black rice, and its puree of pitchouline olives from Jeanjean.
In fact, this is such a good opportunity for all gourmets, served with ceramic crockery by Mongolfier, to discover some treasures from Gard, sometimes embodied in various textures. This is the case of smoked trout revisited in gravlax, crushed with creamy spinach breadcrumbs and sashimi, garnished with a fennel heart, in broth and creamy form, served with some Ventoux wine, which is round and floral.
Another seafood treasure succeeds to this fish, embodied by a langoustine, that has just been snacked in a vegetable cap of cabbage (either green and smooth), decorated by a touch of pearl caviar and steamed cauliflower. As a surprise never come alone, this wonder is accompanied here by its langoustine tartare, grated cauliflower on a crispy toast.
This is also the case for lamb, coming from the nearby locality of Gap, proposed in slice of rack, along a shoulder of lamb and some pulled pork, which was stuffed for a long time with lettuce, foie gras by Franck Vialle (from Bagnols-sur-Sèze) and adorned with onion, all surrounded by a sheet of brick, pan-fried peas ‘Orange resting on a lettuce leaf, bathed in a cooking juice made with red wine from Costières de Nîmes.
What else than a fresh break, consisting of a variable champagne sorbet, a flanked by cut red fruits, and even lightly caramelized and flambéed with a real gin from Nîmes. Followed by a pre-dessert, composed by a hazelnut biscuit, lemon marmalade, lemon sorbet, lemon foam and again a slice of candied lemon.