Thursday, 16 January 2020

Dining at Mirazur: The Best Restaurant in the World 2019.

After dining at Osteria Francescana in December 2018 with a group of nine friends, we *somehow* managed to keep to our promise of starting a new tradition and visiting the World's 50 Best, 'Best Restaurant in the World' each year. The list comes out each June, and as soon as it was announced in June 2019 that Mirazur was the new Number One, Sid booked a table that very day and once again we were spending a dreary first weekend of December dining at the World's Best Restaurant!

We flew into Nice on the Friday evening and checked into the Boscolo Exedra Nice, which wasn't my favourite hotel in the world and was a little tired and grubby...but hey, I had a nice balcony and I got double Marriott points! Mirazur is around a 40-minute drive from Nice on the motorway, but we chose to pre-book two big private taxi's for the twelve of us and make it a little road-trip along the coastal route. It took just over an hour along the coast and is well worth that extra 20-minutes drive - the panoramic views of the Côte d'Azur from the top of the winding cliff-road are just breathtaking.

Arrival at Mirazur

Finally we arrived at Mirazur and from the moment we entered the restaurant it was the polar opposite of the service we'd experienced at Osteria Francescana. You may remember the disappointment at the sour and frankly unwelcoming atmosphere at Osteria in 2018, but thankfully the staff at Mirazur made our dining experience an absolute joy.

Nothing was too much for them - as soon as we sat down a small wooden stool was placed next to my seat before I even had a chance to put my handbag on the floor, and throughout the meal the staff helped us take the best photos possible (kindly offering advice on what time was best for capturing the view, and patiently holding out items for photographing).

Additionally, Osteria's restaurant was very dark and dim and had a bit of an unusual and hostile atmosphere. As soon as you step into Mirazur you can't take your eyes off the view that stretches 180 degrees around the restaurant. The restaurant is filled with light, and white linen tables cloths are nowhere to be seen - instead beautiful handcrafted wooden tables fill the room.

Because we were such a big group we were split into two tables of six, but the tables were next to each other. This actually worked really well and made it much easier for chatting! We all chose the 9-course tasting menu, and while some opted for the paired wine menu, a couple of us chose to just buy by the glass instead. I did the same last year because, frankly, I'm an absolute lightweight. There is absolutely no way I could have drunk NINE glasses of wine over 4 hours and been standing by the end of it, let alone enjoyed and appreciated the food. Instead I chose a glass of Rosé champagne to start, and then a glass of red with the meat course.

The 9-Course Tasting Menu at Mirazur

Our meal began with a selection of welcome appetisers. I can't for the life of me remember the details of each one, but the little black ball was one of my favourites (it was filled with goats cheese), and I also really loved the long breadstick-looking one (it was a root vegetable covered in a special ham). The potato on the stick in the last photo was definitely the stand-out of the appetisers though - it consisted of hundreds of layers of potato soaked and cooked in goose fat. It was absolutely incredible and one of the best potato dishes I've ever eaten!

We then had a little break before the first official course began, in which the waiters brought us home-baked bread with olive oil infused with lemon. Guys. This bread was the best bread I have ever tasted in my whole entire life...I'm still dreaming of the soft pillowy dough with the perfect outer crust. It was unbelievable and honestly I'd happily pay 300 again just for the bread - it was *that* good! The recipe is apparently a family recipe from Mirazur's Italian-Argentinian Chef, Mauro Colagreco, and accompanying it is a very cute poem dedicated to bread.

The first official course we had was Gillardeau Oyster with shallot cream and declination of William's pear. This was actually my first time eating Oyster as it's always freaked me out a little mostly never appealed to me because I'm not the biggest fan of eating very 'fishy' tasting fish. Anyway, after bravely eating it, I decided it wasn't my favourite dish of the meal, but it was okay and not too bad.

Pumpkin from our garden with coffee creamer and rubiola was a really gorgeous salad dish in a very impressive hollow golden coffee bean. I'm usually not a fan of coffee, but this had a very subtle flavour.

We then had another selection of breads (not as good as the first bread, but still impressive bread), and then while my dining companions had the famous Mirazur Beetroot dish (I unfortunately don't eat Beetroot), I had the '<<Black>> pie' which consisted of trumpet of dead mushroom and black truffle.

Ok, now it takes a lot to really truly impress me as I can be quite picky with food, but this was honestly one of the best dishes I have ever tasted. I am a huge Mushroom fan which helps, but it was - in one word - BEAUTIFUL. The tart pastry was perfectly flaky and crisp, the mushroom contained within it was creamy and every bite I took I found myself holding it in my mouth that bit longer because I didn't want it to end. The finely sliced truffle atop the mushroom filling just finished it off perfectly. For me, this was the stand-out dish of the entire meal (along with the bread).

It was late afternoon by this point and the views from the restaurant were just glorious. I stared out and dreamed of retiring to the French Riviera and waking up to this view every day. A girl can dream, right? Anyway, my dreams were snatched away when the "Cèpes" mushrooms from Piedmont with "Maison Mitteault" grilled fois gras and forest broth arrived. Sadly this wasn't my favourite dish. I'm not the biggest fois gras fan and have concerns over the ethics of how it's produced, and the dish as a whole was very very rich, so it didn't go down well with me for multiple reasons.

Slowly the sun started dipping towards the horizon and we were still nowhere near finished. No matter, we were in foodie heaven and up next was the beautiful Boar Consommé with red cabbage ravioli, fois gras and chestnut. Sadat didn't really enjoy this one as he found the ravioli too 'al dente', but the rest of us absolutely adored it. Again it was quite a rich dish, but not as bad as the mushroom and fois gras and much tastier.

When we first booked Mirazur I honestly assumed we would be eating more fish, and was surprised that there were only two fish courses our of the nine-course tasting menu. However, the main fish course was a masterpiece. The delicate Bonito with black garlic, lily bulb, and liquorice hollandaise impatiently raced from my fork to gullet at a speed which inspired comments from every one of my dining companions. They had never seen me eat a dish so fast. "That was my second favourite after the Mushroom tart!" I announced.

It's funny how some dishes are so magnetic you want to savor and enjoy them for as long as possible before letting the flavours disappear, and others are so wildly delicious that you just want to eat it ASAP in the hope they waiters will think they forgot to serve you and will bring you another plate.

After our fish course, my red wine arrived just in time for the main meat dish: Pigeon from Marie Le Guen with cabbage leaf and red wine sauce. I've had Pigeon before and wasn't a huge lover of it, but actually I thoroughly enjoyed this one and it's definitely converted me!

Before the dessert section we went onto the balcony to watch the sunset, before enjoying a refreshing palate cleanser; Tangerine texture with Meadowsweet, which was essentially a tangerine flavoured granita with a creamy under-layer.

The main event for the dessert section was a Chocolate "cru" from Bali 70%, Maison Duplanteur with Rosemary ice-cream. I'm the biggest dessert person ever, but I really wasn't the biggest fan of this one. It was definitely interesting and it was impressive how they created the flexible chocolate top, but for me the Rosemary ice-cream just wasn't to my taste. Osteria Francescana's dessert, 'Oops I Spilled The Lemon Tart', was far better suited to my own personal tastes and probably a dish that's better able to be more universally-enjoyed.

Before the Petit Fours arrived the staff kindly brought out a little Cheesecake for our restaurant-booking-extraordinaire, Sid, as it was his birthday! Something that the staff last year at Osteria didn't bother to do. As you can see, it made him very happy haha.

The Petit Fours finished off the meal perfectly (I particularly enjoyed the zesty little jelly ones), and the staff kindly gave us a tour of the kitchen before we left!

After four hours of dining at the Best Restaurant in the World, our experience was sadly over. All of us absolutely adored our dining experience at Mirazur, and agreed that it was far better than our experience at Osteria last year, and well deserving of its three Michelin stars and 'World's Best' accolade. There were a couple of dishes I really wasn't a fan of, but you tend to expect that with a tasting menu.

What really stood it apart was the entire dining experience; the service, the food, and the location and view. It ticks every box and is well worth the visit for a special occasion. My 9-course tasting menu meal with a glass of champagne and glass of red cost me around £350, which is undoubtedly expensive, but in my opinion, well worth the treat if you can budget for it and afford to do it.

Read more about our Winter Weekend in Nice!

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