Mirazur, Menton 2

September 8, 2007

Mirazur opened a few years ago in a new modern airy building next to the old French customs post at the Pont Saint Louis. Before the autoroute and the coastal tunnels this was the only road crossing near the Mediterranean between France and Italy, but nowadays this road is not used much and there are no more customs or immigration officials here. We had enjoyed our one Mirazur lunch shortly after the original opening, a very Provençale cuisine under the consultancy of Jacques Chibois. But the restaurant soon closed.   

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After reopening last year Mirazur quickly received its Michelin star in March and became the culinary sensation of the Côte d’Azur. During the busy May season, which includes the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, it was mentioned by most of the Parisian restaurant critics who descend on the area. Gastroville gave it a rave review. Our contributor David went in February and was a bit more nuanced. Linda and I finally made it to Mirazur for lunch on September 6, 2007 after a morning shopping in Ventimiglia. The meal was up to our highest expectations.

We received a warm welcome and were seated at a table by the glass wall with a stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea and Menton. We could watch small boats coming in and out of the Garavan Marina below, large ships crossing in the distance and sunlight on the sea ruffled by a mistral.  ob.jpgoa.jpg

We ordered apéritifs, a crisp Taittanger “Cuvée Prestige” for Linda and a softer Billecart-Salmon rosé champagne for me. The à la carte menu was limited, but intriguing. We ordered the 75€ Menu Dégustation. There is also a 90€ Chef’s Surprise Menu.

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There was a glass with very long grissini on each table. 

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on.jpgThe amuse gueule was a tray with a small glass of cucumber soup, two spoons with chopped vegetables and a ricotta ball.  

We ordered a bottle of 2002 Philippe Bouzereau 1er Cru Meursault Genevrières which was luscious and went well with the menu.  

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A slice of brown country bread and a round almond-cinnamon bread arrived.

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The first course was Œuf à la coque, citron de Menton et Maïs. A soft-boiled egg had been enhanced with a lemon cream. Menton is the warmest place in France and is famous for its very flavourful lemons. Mirazur has its own lemon grove between the restaurant and the railroad tracks below. 

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Next came a Martini de tomate, aromes du jardin. A jelly of tomato water in a martini glass had been sprinkled with various herbs and little flowers.  .oh.jpg 

Then followed Langoustines, Bouillon Dashi. Pieces of raw langoustine were served in a bowl. Warm dashi, a Japanese broth of seaweed and dried bonito flakes, was poured to cook them lightly. The flavor of each bite varied with the little leaf or flower which happened to come with it. Most of them were slightly bitter which went well with the slightly sweet dashi.

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The next course was a Salade de courgettes, Pêche blanche et amande fraiche. Ribbons of trumpet zucchini were the base of this dish. In Italy this type of long, sinuous light-green zucchini is more highly regarded than the common variety. This unusual combination with chunks of white peaches and fresh almonds worked very well. Good olive oil, good coarse salt and some basil leaves enhanced the dish.  .

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The next course was Foie gras grillé, betterave et citron confit. A nice chunk of browned fresh foie gras was served on a bed of beet purée with a dab of Menton lemon jam. Superb.

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The following course was simply listed as Pêche sauvage, sauce fumée. We were told that the flavorful fish was liche, which translates as leerfish, a sort of Mediterranean pompano. It was served on a bed of sorrel and surrounded by a froth of a smoked fish and shellfish broth.  

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Next came Queue de porc, sauce moutardée. I’m not sure what cut of pork this was, but it didn’t have a tailbone. It was probably what is served in New York as pork belly, although it was quite meaty. The richness and a traditional mustard-cream sauce were welcome after so many elegantly light courses. There were little green onions with fresh caper berries and a sandwich of chopped lettuce between green apple slices; the tartness cut nicely into the  richness of the pork.

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The pre-dessert was a pineapple sorbet, a shiso jelly and a foam with another Japanese flavor.   

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The dessert was Sorbet de thé de maté, truffe froid, terre de chocolat et noisettes caramalisées. The sorbet was made from Yerba Mate tea which is common in the chef’s native Argentina. The cold truffle and granules were of excellent dark chocolate.

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There were two sets of mignardises to enjoy with the coffee. 

This meal is an argument for those who contend that the cuisine is better in the very good one-star restaurants than in many of the two or three stars. (Of course, most one-star restaurants are not really in this category.)  Mirazur has a one-star ambience in décor, casual staff uniforms, a small menu and wine list, reasonable prices etc. But the ingredients were first rate; the cuisine was imaginative, well done and appropriate for the summer season. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. It will be interesting to go back in cooler weather when different fruits and vegetables are available and one wants more substance.  

www.mirazur.fr

3 Responses to “Mirazur, Menton 2”

  1. Elaine Says:

    What a wonderful view! I was taken away by the beautiful setting, wonderful presentation of food and the smile on Linda’s face.

  2. John howell Says:

    What a wonder! Every course so perfect-it is sure we will make the pilgrimage when we return.

  3. Lynda Palmer Says:

    I’m so glad to read of the Mirazur’s lovely cuisine. I had wondered what was happening to it. We will be sure to try it on our next trip to the Cote d’Azur.


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