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Bongo and L’Alchimie

  • A fresh breeze in the restaurant world


This new generation subscribes to no creed, rejects the dictatorship of the restaurant guides and makes customer satisfaction the absolute priority.


David Mijoba, 30, and Cédric Valero, 27, are brothers-in-law who first met at catering school in Marseille. Their restaurant, L’Alchimie, which turned two this summer, serves seasonal fare with locally sourced produce and wild fish «only». «We have Madame Didier’s 800m2 kitchen garden with lots of fruit trees. Our vegetables are grown from non-hybrid seed taken from naturally pollinated heirloom varieties. It’s against the law but that’s how it is,» says David Mijoba, the cook. «The kitchen garden enables me to keep in contact with the earth,» says Cédric, the sommelier. Cedric has 70 wines on his list, though that figure changes with each new discovery he makes. Lunchtime and evening, professional people and local residents happily tuck into this flavoursome, intuitive, wide-awake cuisine.
The same freedom is evident at Bongo. Tania Bruna-Rosso, former journalist for music magazine Les Inrockuptibles, Nova Mag, Radio Nova and Canal +, left Paris with her graphic artist life partner François Audiffren, who hails from Manosque. «We aim for an ‘M’mm’ rather than a ‘Wow!’», says François, «People thought we wouldn’t hold out but we are, even though it’s tough.» «The Bongo embodies our dreams of California,» says Tania. «Our cuisine includes Asian and North and South American influences.» The young couple reject the idea of a traditional restaurant, «even if it looks like one». «Let’s say it’s a place ruled by feeling,» says the cook. Customers flock here for every service, to François’ delight, though he says «We won’t be doing this all our lives, it’s a stage along the way.»


Bongo, 126 rue Sainte, Marseille 7e - Tél. 04 91 33 84 10
L’Alchimie, 26 bis rue d’Endoume, Marseille 7e - Tél. 04 91 04 01 22