Do I prefer Provence 2.0 to the classic, frumpier version? I think I do. Freeman and her partner don’t always produce the absolute best food in town, but they’re masters at creating a sense of warm, fuzzy bonhomie. Sit in the garden room, enjoy a glass or two of frosty rosé, and you may not actually care whether your pissaladière is a little greasy or that your shrimps are underdone.
The desserts, for their part, are simple and straightforward in a faithfully Provençal way. There are plates of dates stuffed with mascarpone; slices of good, rich chocolate-almond cake; and a smooth lemon-and-rhubarb tart made with a crumbly, fresh-rolled crust. Then there’s the Pavlova, a cloud of hard meringue with a decorative scoop of passion-fruit sorbet in its middle, like a hen’s egg. Crack it open and the sorbet drops into a layer of soft whipped cream, just like some confection you might encounter while sitting among hordes of German tourists in a sunny café by the beach in Cannes.