David Faure’s Aphrodite is my go-to spot when I want a truly extraordinary lunch at a price that won’t give me indigestion. I hadn’t been to this restaurant in Nice since it received its first Michelin star last year so I was curious whether the quality was the same as I remembered a couple of years agol. If anything, the restaurant had improved its lunch offering.
For an inexpensive fixed-price lunch (€25), some chefs decide not to exert themselves by elaborate preparations. Not here. We began with a cool amuse-bouche of a delicate mousse punctuated with crispy paper-thin potato slice and a fresh cracker but what followed was a total triumph. Chef Faure has mastered “molecular” cuisine and the entree was a full display of his technique. Fresh peas were surrounded a chunk of quail topped with a fois gras flavoured ice cream (who would have thought?) and then dressed up with a carrot foam that looked like a flower on the plate. Insane. The main course was a perfectly broiled cod topped with a light bath of savory sauce and complemented by fried radishes. Dessert was an exquisite concoction of violet sherbet, rasberries, mascarpone plus meringue cookies over a rasberry gel sprinkled with vanilla. Mignardises of meringue and rasberry gel completed the meal.
What was great was not only the subtle balance of flavors and the summery coolness but the portions were designed to be just filling enough for lunch without weighing you down. We left neither hungry nor stuffed. It was just right. Everything was just right from the cascading water that formed a backdrop to the enclosed terrace to the carefully chosen paintings inside the formal but cheerful dining room. Aphrodite is clearly one of the best restaurants in Nice. If you can find a better-value lunch in town, let me know!