Flaveur’s contemporary, by the sea-inspired design illustrates that its skeleton was built with the Mediterranean genes of its two head French chefs – the Tourteaux brothers, while its culinary flesh reflects the surrounding environment of their intrepid lives. Like sun tanning the skin, wind turning the cheeks red, exotic travels and a childhood in Guadeloupe coloured the face of the brothers’ first culinary duet. Evasion is the theme at this Niçoise two Michelin stared restaurant.
The sea is represented by wood-carved fish and pebbles, while olive branches adorning the walls at Flaveur maintain the accent on the Mediterranean. The French brothers fly in their exotic travel experiences to flatter to the local, seasonal ingredients such as asparagus, fish, lemon and wild herbs. Their transcendental approach yielded well-deserved two Michelin stars in 2018.
The finest meal in Nice, like a fine painting, Flaveur profoundly impacts on our overjoyed senses. The foreign spices dance vibrantly around, highlighting the fresh local ingredients. Gaël Tourteaux gained his starry gastronomic experiences with the chef Michel del Burgo (Executive Chef of Hotel de Bristol and the three Michelin-starred Taillevent in Paris), at Nice’s Negresco with the acclaimed chef Alain Llorca, and later with the Japanese perfectionist Keisuke Matsushima. His brother Mickaël also worked with these chefs, sweeping in the southern culinary mecca – Moulin de Mougins.
Floral cum shoots art on the plate permeates the dining experience. Always served in a crystal sea urchin bowl and white organically shaped porcelain the trio of appetisers evoke the sea and plants. Once, a Half-cooked Scottish salmon with Combawa and Granny Smith apple salsa, Haloumi and Kiwano relished in tiny mouthfuls was intriguing kicking with the Combawa (kaffir lime), the sensible seasoning cut the fatty richness of the fish. This summer the “iodine” trio included: Broccoli and chervil atop a bonito patè with gomasio (Japanese sesame seasoning) – nice, dried flossy beef like in China on a crisp coin, a superb aligot (a gooey potato cream) with quinoa souffle, turmeric, cucumber and herbs; and very rich and salty pork lard colonnata with sprouts, smoked fish, black truffles – not to our taste.
When the season sparks with wild ingredients, the chefs forage in the nearby mountains for wild asparagus, oxalis, flowers like violet, but also spring wild garlic and onions. Otherwise, the fragrant herbs are sourced from a local producer, the Auda family.
Gaël et Mickaël Tourteaux propose multi-course menus from €60 at lunch. The shorter Spice Road discovery menu encouraged the next visit extending to “Plaisir”, now titled “Exploration Toutes Latitudes”.
Rice crisps topped with smoked mackerel, citruses and herbs. Bordier butter served with freshly cut cresson shoots, chopped dried black olives and flowers next to coriander spiced crisp bread. Later, the local Jean Marc Bordonnat bakery provides the bread basket offered to your ceaseless indulgence. A ginger and coriander bread bun, olive or just plain or brown slice.
Next usually come two fish courses from Carras, one of the last fishing ports in Nice. Tony a Christiane Djian are the restaurant’s main suppliers. A marinated Swordfish on Carnaroli risotto with shaved Bellet (local hills) vegetables was a zesty starter. The mains can include a Mediterranean Drum fish, Champonzu and gyoza ravioli, in Christophine and Colombo bouillon. Something like a Yellowtail and Shrimps with summer vegetables (courgette, green zebra tomatoes skin, young potatoes) in a iodine bouillon, Indian Vadouvan spice sauce, and fresh almonds with girolles or Tandoori Monkfish with Black Rice cream and Grilled Clementines. Usually superb, clean, focused and not overtly saucy.
An optional meat plate can include Provençal Suckling Lamb or Beef from Piedmont, the nearby Italian region. The lamb is prepared to tenderness, but my husband’s recent tiny cut of beef with aubergine, tamarind and wild pepper was just too seasoned for his purist preference to meat. Indian flavours took over the Flaveur menu, even Garam Masala joined the eastern seasonings.
The sweet temptation at Flaveur is preset in the dinner menu. This summer, a Black nougat with halva, fresh dates and fruit kefir (the fermentation trend has landed in Côte d’Azur) and a contemporary take on the local pompe à l’huile d’olive. The later pastry, scented with orange flower water, is one of the 13 Provençal Christmas desserts. Previously, the Grand Cru chocolate with Tellicherry black pepper from Kerala, India hit my cocoa-craving tooth precisely. These large peppercorns are characteristic for their rich, aromatic citrus and floral notes. Later, the petits fours served with coffee or tea pluck remaining sugar longings. An Indian spice mix with tobacco (contains nicotine) known as Pan Massala inspired the sweet morsels recently, but Menton lemon and crepes Suzette whiff in local taste.
Coffee and tea selection are above the mediocre standards for French, leave alone Michelin star restaurants. Exclusive coffee pickings from the Jamaican Blue Mountain and superb Chinese teas alongside herbal and fruity infusions satisfy any clear head preferring drinkers. Organic iced tea from Menton, and juicy mixes add summer freshness to the non-alcoholic beverage menu.