Fifteen minutes of driving down a bumpy, dusty back lane my mum and I were getting concerned that Hotel U Capu Biancu didn’t exist. Thanks to a satnav blip, we’d taken several wrong turns and passed miles of farmland without any sign of a restaurant, before the gates appeared. But as soon as we stepped into the grand foyer and caught the first glimpse of stunning sea view, our travel worries were forgotten.
Perched on top of a cliff, this exclusive hotel is completely cut off. Boasting two private beaches, stunning, manicured gardens and a modern infinity pool, it’s a dream retreat. We were there to try out their onsite restaurant, but, as is custom on holiday, started our evening in their poolside bar.
If you’ve been to Corsica, you’ll know their rugged coastline is beautifully unspoilt and, truly, U Capu Biancu offers the best viewing point. If I’m honest, our stressful journey was made more stressful by my urge to get there in time for sunset and, thank goodness, we did, because it was a corker… as were the sundowner cocktails.
The hotel is intimate, with only 40 bedrooms and a handful of villas, and after chatting with the hotel manager, it’s clear they want to keep it that way. As Virginie Sayede told us, “we’re reducing the number of bedrooms, so we can expand the ones we have. We want to make it a more pleasurable experience for the customers we already have coming through the door”.
It’s also in a perfect location, remote enough to feel like you’ve got your own pocket of Corsica, but also only a twenty minute drive to the historic Bonifacio; a stunning medieval city with a lively marina.
U Capu has two restaurants, one by the hotel and another which is beachside. The main restaurant has an appropriately rustic and relaxed feel, which mirrors the ocean view. It’s stylish but simple with big wooden beams, woven-bamboo lamp shades, exposed brick walls and hand-painted, colourful plates.
Much like the bohemian vibe, the service is relaxed too; waiters are in no hurry to take your order and certainly in no hurry to rush you between courses, which allows you to enjoy every sip, mouthful and, most importantly, the surroundings.
Unlike the other Corsican restaurants we visited, U Capu’s menu is unexpectedly experimental and takes risks. Their head chef Gadio El Hadji has been there for 19 years and has very much made his mark, taking local produce and injecting worldly flavours. After hearing they have their own fisherman – yes, you read that correctly – we naturally ordered every fish dish they had to offer. On the day we dined, we were treated to freshly caught squid, seabream and crayfish.
My highlight was the squid, which was served in a black squid ink soup; its frothy texture mimicked ocean waves: it was salty, thick and loaded with meaty chunks of lobster. I could have eaten bowls of it. Equally as stunning was the seabream, which had been poached in a lobster bisque, served alongside a buttery white bean puree and local Corsican vegetables. The portions aren’t huge and, thankfully, the prices aren’t either, with most main courses costing around €30.
Just as we were about to decline pudding, our waiter informed us that the restaurant has a resident pastry chef, Marianne Davin, and it would be a “huge loss” not to sample her work. Instantly, we backtracked and ordered the ‘three flavours cake’, topped with locally made ice cream it was ten mouthfuls of sweet heaven.
Throughout our time in Corsica, we didn’t have one bad glass of wine and our vino at U Capu Biancu was no different. Recommended by our superb sommelier, we shared a bottle of Buzzo Bunifazziu 2018, an elegant, lively white which went down a treat with the fish.
Months on from our visit, I can still vividly picture our night there; the gentle sound of the sea, the warm breeze and a feeling of absolute contentment. If you’re wanting to escape the rest of the world, a stay at U Capu Biancu is a must, if however one night of tranquility is enough for you, the restaurant is certainly worth the bumpy ride.
The hotel opens from mid May until October.
Address: Domaine de Pozzoniello, 20169 Bonifacio, France
Phone: +33 4 95 73 05 58