Mirazur, Menton 8
May 27, 2014
Even though Mirazur is one of our most frequent blogposts (this is the eighth), we had not been there for a year and a half, and only twice in the last five years. So Linda and I were looking forward to our return for lunch on April 23, 2014.
We started the culinary day with a shopping excursion to Ventimiglia, a short distance across the Italian border from Mirazur. We bought coffee beans at our favorite torrefazione and the renowned pink shrimp of the region at the fish market.
Other prizes included seasonal spiny artichokes, which one eats raw, sliced thinly; a rolled rabbit roast; cheeses, of course; grappa; salt-packed capers; fresh peas; starter lettuce plants for our vegetable garden and a torte verde.
At Mirazur we were warmly welcomed and seated by the window with a view of old Menton and the sea.
A freshly baked loaf of “sharing bread,” an Argentine custom, arrived with Mirazur’s lemon and ginger olive oil.
There was a choice of several menus, including a special off-season weekday luncheon menu. We chose the Menu Degustation.
Ordering wine from the extensive list was difficult as we did not know what was coming and we did not want to overdo it at lunch. (The course titles below come from the printout we were given at the end of the meal.) Trying to match with what would surely be a varied cuisine seemed fruitless so we took advantage of an attractive offer on a well-aged bottle of one of our old favorites, 2003 Domaine de Trevallon. It was excellent and matched well with the two vegetable dishes and the meat course.
The first course was
Crème d’échalotes, déclinaison de poires Williams
The oyster was accompanied by a shallot cream, tapioca and varies forms of pear: gel, cylinder, sorbet ball and juice. This was good; it was more that the oyster was garnishing the pear than the other way around. The borage flowers were lovely.
Carpaccio de Pagre
Pomme verte Granny Smith
Thinly sliced, raw local sea bream was garnished with green apple slices, nasturtium petals, dill fronds and a bit too much Menton lemon. The waiter said that the white ribbons on top were long turnips, but they seemed like daikon, or Japanese radish, to me.
Carpaccio d’asperge, sauce au yahourt et pamplemousse
Fresh, thick, seasonal green asparagus were cut in a variety of formats and lightly dressed with a yoghurt sauce. Chunks of pink grapefruit provided some zest. Decorating the plate were thin strips of a vanilla gel, which had quite a strong flavor and was a good enhancement in small dabs.
Œuf de poule
Crème de choux fleurs, noisettes du Piémont et émulsion à l’anguille fumée
An egg yolk had been cooked at low temperature. It was served in its shell with a cauliflower cream, hazelnuts and a flavoring of smoked eel. Very good.
Arlequin de pommes de terre
There were chunks of five varieties of different colored potatoes. The carrot-colored ones were quite sweet. The garnishes on top were capers and thin slices of dried mullet roe. The sauce was flavored with coffee and mustard. Very good.
Ragoût de pois chiche du jardin
A crispy-skinned piece of daurade was served on a bed of chick peas and a white onion sauce. Chive flower petals added a bit of spark and color. Very good.
When this course was served, it was accompanied by a discussion on several subjects with our genial, young waiter with the result that I forgot to take a photo. Sorry. You would have seen a rectangle on the left of the plate surrounded by a swirl of brown sauce. The rectangle was pressed, shredded meat of seasonal, local young goat topped by a crisped piece of its skin. The delicate meat had no direct seasoning. On the right were three mounds, half pistachio purée; half fresh sheep’s milk cheese. The mounds were topped with very thin disks made from dried glaze of the kid stock. There were also Menton lemon and wall pennywort garnishes, but I do not remember just where. Anyway, we enjoyed the meat and finished our Domaine de Trevallon with it.
We declined the optional cheese course.
Naranjo en flor
Crème de safran de Sospel, espuma d’amandes et sorbet à la clémentine
The predessert was served in a small bowl topped with a crisp disk. When one broke through it, there were tangerine sorbet, saffron cream and an almond foam. Nice.
Déclinaison de rhubarbe et fraises de Carros
Verveine et sureau
Carros, a town north of Nice, is famous for its strawberries. These were the first of the season and very good. The sorbet was of rhubarb, a traditional seasonal match with strawberries. There were also rhubarb pieces and tapioca scattered in. The decoration was of verbena tiles and elderberry flowers.
There was a bowl of warm lemony madeleines. The macarons were of Menton lemons. The plate with moss and twigs contained two very good dark chocolate twigs.
As we left, I took this view of the dining room with a few remaining diners finishing their lunch.
At the bottom of the stairs leading down from the dining room to the entry, we looked through a small window into the kitchen to see the preparatory work for the evening meal.
Chef Colagreco was not there today.
You can just see the window into the kitchen through the left of the open front door of the restaurant.
Our meal was excellent. There was a wide variety of courses, all within the scope of local cuisine of the Côte d’Azur and of the season, so the meal was consistent in its diversity. The combinations of ingredients, sauces and garnishes were well thought out and executed. The emphasis on vegetables was well done. The service was always cheerful and efficient. The pace was just right. The noise level was low and the view spectacular.
To see all of our blogposts on Mirazur click here.