Menton – Mirazur

Menton is a relatively unpopular part of the French Riviera compared to Nice, Cannes and Monaco. Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought of coming here if it wasn’t for Mirazur. When I knew that I would be in Nice, I thought that it was the best chance to try Mirazur now, because I think that’s the closest place to Menton that I would travel to in the the near future. I happened know about Mirazur because it was frequently featured on one of my favourite travel-food blogs.

Menton is actually quite accessible and if you wish to get here entirely by public transport, it is really possible. There are scheduled public buses from the train stations in Menton and it’s good if you plan ahead instead of checking it out spontaneously. However, I wasn’t so lucky on the day of my reservation because the trains were on strike (typical of France) and I could only get to Menton from Nice by bus. The queue for the bus was painfully long as a result.  I ended up paying extra (like S$30 worth?) for taxi fare from where the bus dropped off to Mirazur but I couldn’t really care about that because the anxiety of uncertainty was killing me slowly but surely instead. I was terribly late and even missed the last order. However, the restaurant was very accommodating and even made the kitchen open longer just for us! I was quite surprised by their good attitude but they probably knew this was only the result of the train strikes.

I am glad that everything bad for that day ended there and from the moment I stepped into Mirazur I had a great day ahead.

The restaurant was brightly lit with natural day light and the view was nothing short of amazing. I don’t think there’s any other restaurant with a view better than this. The train track was very quiet throughout because there were no trains.

The view from this angle onward belongs to Italy. Mirazur is the last house of Menton and is 20m away from the border.

I felt everything was so worth it when I could finally be seated. I did not want to give up because it was my last chance to dine here for this trip! It was Friday and I was going back on Sunday. They are closed for lunch on Saturday, and dinner will end too late for us to get back to Nice before it gets too late.

They informed us that I could only order from the a la carte menu because they no longer have set lunch due to my time of arrival.

After we placed our orders, we were served with three “Canapés de réception”.

Pissaladière

This tart dish often served as appetizers originated from Nice and is a Southern France thing, although this version here obviously is presented differently from the sort that people would make at home, reinvited by the chef. I have not tried traditional pissaladière from Nice so I can’t really say what’s the difference in the pastry, but I’m quite sure it’s not the same thing (thanks to Google images). It was a good first pissaladière experience for me.

080314_1210_MentonMiraz6.jpg

Patte de fruit à la betterave et brousse de brebis

This was a beet root gel with brousse de brebis cheese.

Croquant de mascarpone aux agrumes

Mascarporone cheese in some crispy pastry. I liked this one the most among the three!

Pain du partage

Homemade sharing bread was then served, with a lovely poem and lemon ginger infused olive oil. The bread was crumbly and fresh. The texture was unique in my opinion.

Bread,
you rise
from flour,
water
and fire.
Dense or light,
flattened or round,
you duplicate
the mother’s
rounded womb.
How simple
you are, bread,
and how profound!
You are
mankind’s energy,
a miracle often admired
the will to live itself.
The earth itself,
beauty
and love
all taste like bread
Everything
exists to be shared,
to be freely given,
to multiply…
Then
life itself
will have the shape of
bread,
deep and simple,
immeasurable and pure.

– Pablo Neruda

P1020044
The olive oil use is a product of Menton. I appreciate good olive oil and they don’t all taste the same.
Cannelloni de tourteaux
Gelée de pamplemousse et espuma d’avocat 

This wasn’t part of the three canapes but somehow it was served to us. The cannelloni itself isn’t actually made from pasta – it’s grapefruit jelly. The filling was crab and it is accompanied by meringue, avocado mousse and  assorted seasonal flowers and herbs.

Œuf de poule
Crème de choux fleurs, noisettes du Piémont et émulsion à l’anguille fumée

This was also given to us by surprise and I appreciate it. This is egg yolk cooked at low temperature with cauliflower cream, hazelnuts from Piémont and emulsion of smoked eel. Other than the pretty presentation, the taste and texture was a winner too. I love sous-vide cooking method eggs and this was even better. It wasn’t too heavy on the palate because the flavour of smoked eel was just a subtle one mixed with the cauliflower cream (which is generally blander).

The menu at Mirazur works this way – they won’t tell you exactly what’s going to be served but you order based on the description. Here’s what they offer:

To start…

Chlorophyll / Vegetables from our garden
Terra / The finest produce from our valleys
Acqua / From sea or river

To follow…

From the sea or fresh water:
Fish of the day
Shellfish or crustacea
From the land:
Meat of the moment
The forgotten and transformed bits

To finish…

Seasonal fruits dessert
Chocolate dessert
Spiced dessert

Carpaccio de beau Yeux
Fruits rouge, citron vert et fleur de sureau
I opted for the starer from the sea or river and was given sea bream carpaccio. This was not unexpected because sea bream carpaccio has been served several times so far throughout this trip. It is evidently in season. This one was served with red fruit, lime and elderflower. A very refreshing starter.

Pagre
Ragoût de pois chiche, bouillon Parmentier

This was the fish of the day, Porgy (relative of sea bream), served with chickpea stew, potato broth and mussels.

Homard et camomille
Haricot coco et fleur de printemps

I opted for the shell fish and was given lobster with chamomile, beans and spring flowers. I somehow feel that in this part of France you must only have seafood.

The lobster was juicy and fresh. Nothing short of expectations.

Naranjo en flor
Crème de safran de Sospel, espuma d’amandes et sorbet à l’orange

This was the spicy dessert – saffron cream from Sospel, almond froth and orange sorbet. I picked this one because I do not like fruit desserts and chocolate desserts are way to common. Spicy dessert is rare in comparison. While I wouldn’t say this is my favourite dessert ever (because I do not like fruity and sour desserts but this has orange sorbet), it was really interesting. I have only tried saffron in savoury dishes so this was an refreshing twist. I generally like my desserts to be rich and heavy (think tiramisu, soufflé, lava cake etc).

Branche de chocolat, pâte de fruit carotte et orange
Macaron à la frambiose et madeleine citron

Petite fours of raspberry macaron, lemon madeleine, candied orange and carrot and chocolate bark was provided after the wonder meal. The macarons cannot be compared to the good macarons I’ve had in France of course. The portion provided was so big for just two! I really wished I could take the madeleines away.

And this, is officially my favourite restaurant in the world at the moment. Understanding service staff, perfect ambiance, creative food, good flavours – everything I’m looking for in a restaurant. I’d give 10/10 for all ratings
30 Avenue Aristide Briand, 06500 Menton, France

 

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