L’Aphrodite, Nice 2

June 17, 2010

Three years ago, David Faure the chef of L’Aphrodite, introduced a Menu “R”…evolution using what is broadly called molecular cuisine. Linda and I went then and found it interesting and enjoyable. We had not been back to L’Aphrodite since, but were pleased when it was awarded a star in the 2010 Michelin Guide. It has been closed for several months for a much needed renovation and reopened in early May 2010. Linda and I went for dinner with another Michael on May 19, 2010. 

The Menu “R”…evolution is still being offered with some new creations; two tables near us ordered it; we enjoyed watching them. The aromatic smoke from one dish wafted across our table. But we decided to try the Menu Découverte.

At the suggestion of the sommelier, we ordered a bottle of 2007 Domaine des Hautes Collines de la Côte d’Azur, Vignoble de Saint-Jeannet, “Cuvée du Pressoir Romain.”  This white wine grown quite near Nice has a light fruitiness which he said would go with our menu. We also ordered a bottle of 2006 Domaine du Jas d’Esclan “Cuvée du Loup.”  This red wine is from an upcomong producer in the Var and is very drinkable.

The amuse-gueuele was a little glass of very good lobster foam with a brunoise of green beans on the bottom. There were chips and a dry wafer to add texture. 

Our first course was
Raviolis transparents de Homard au bouillon de Volaille rôtie
Gnocchi de Seiche poêlée et pousses de Soja

Small chunks of lobster meat were wrapped in thin meat from some part of the lobster. The squid gnocchi were light and good as was the chicken broth. The barely cooked bean sprouts added a little crunch. The whole combination was a success.

The next course was
Un Œuf poché au parfum de Truffe & Ciboulette
Crème de Pleurotes et quelques Champignons en persillade
For some unknown reason I didn’t take a photo of this dish. A nicely shaped poached egg was floated in a cream of spring oyster mushrooms. There were some of the mushrooms and slices early summer truffles which were surprisingly flavorful. Very good.

The next course was
Nissart Kebab (appellation d’origine créatrice Les Toques Brûlées)
Poitrine de Veau braisée, galette de Socca et Légumes du Pays
é des Cultures. l’identité Niçoise dans l’air du temps… Good Food!

Credit is given to the Toques Brûlées for creating this dish. It is an association of young chefs in Nice of which David Faure is the President. A filled cone of socca was presented in a conical serving dish and then placed on a plate with roquette and sauce. Socca is a thin pancake made with chickpea flour and is an emblem of niçoise cuisine. Local spring vegetables were mixed with julienned pieces of braised veal. This dish was fun and we always enjoy variations on local specialties, but it wasn’t at the high culinary level of the two previous dishes.

The cheese course was
Crème glacée de Brie de Meaux, huile de truffes blanches, apricots, mesclun et truffe d’été.

Good ripe Brie cheese had been whipped with cream and chilled. White truffle oil was drizzled on it. Apricot chunks, a flavorful summer truffle slice, a salad of small greens and a slice of toast were included. This was a very successful innovation.

The first dessert was
Tarte au Citron du Pays revisité
Mousseux au Citron, Sablé pulverisé, tube de meringue, Sorbet au Citron

There was meringue on the bottom, topped by a lemon gel, topped by cookie crumbs, lemon sorbet and a slice of lemon confit. This was nice as the lemon flavor had been allowed to come through gently.

We were then each served a different dessert; two had rasperries, one was chocolate. They were nice too, but I don’t think that desserts are L’Aphrodite‘s strong point even though David Faure started as a pastry chef.

Then we were asked what fruit flavors we liked and, after some confusion, we were served meringues with these flavors, banana for me. But all we could taste was sugar, which we really didn’t appreciate.

The meal before the dessert was interesting and enjoyable. I appreciated the inventiveness and the restrained use of modern techniques melded with local touches. L’Aphrodite deserves its new Michelin star.

And so Michael, Linda and I left enjoying the lovely spring evening in Nice.

To see our meal at L’Aphrodite three years before with the Menu “R”…evolution click here.
The restaurant’s website

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