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Nice: Dinner at Restaurant Lou Pistou

September 18, 2015

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Serendipity was at play again last night. I’d had a restaurant in mind for supper but it was closed. I’d looked at Lou Pistou in a Rue Raoul Bosio a few times. It wasn’t in my guide books or on the food tour’s restaurant list but its small intimacy and a menu consisting of mainly Specialities Nicoises appealed. And it did have a Trip Advisor badge of Excellence so that was some kind of guide. It’s nice to think you could just walk into the first restaurant that looks good and find a wonderful meal; the reality is that in a busy city like Nice, full of tourists and restaurants, it doesn’t easily work that way. Not if you’re looking for something special. So, with just five nights here, I was looking for some kind of assurance that my choice was good. I decided to just go into Lou Pistou. It was just after 7.00 and empty. A woman greeted me and said that yes, I could have a table but they didn’t open until 7.30. I filled in some time on the Promenade des Anglais, enjoying the improving weather and warm evening. Then, at 7.30 I returned to Lou Pistou.

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It’s a small restaurant that seems to be run by a couple – the woman front of house, the man busy cooking in the tiny kitchen at the back. They’re closed on Saturdays and Sundays. A menu was brought and two small blackboards with the day’s specials.

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I decided to have the Beignets de Fleur de Courgettes to begin. The woman explained that they weren’t stuffed – as is often the case – but fried in a light tempura-type batter.

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Courgette flowers have a subtle courgette flavour and sometimes I find stuffings overpower the delicate taste. These lightly battered ones were wonderful, allowing the flower’s taste to shine. For my main course I’d gone very Nicoise with a very typical dish of Daube de Boeuf.

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As is common here, the beef stew was served with fresh pasta – tagliatelle in this case – rather than potatoes. It was absolutely gorgeous! A daube has a lighter, fresher taste than a Boeuf Bourguignon (which I often cook at home) and this one had the typical Nicoise addition of some orange, which was easily picked out but perfectly balanced with the other flavours. The meat was meltingly soft and tender. It was a marvellous dish. I’d been wanting to have a daube while in Nice and I don’t think I could have chosen a better place to have it. I drank a very good local-ish red wine from the Var area with it.

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I was told that the only really local red wine came from the Bellet producers but their wines are very expensive. I’d been asked to choose my dessert – if I wanted one – at the beginning if I wanted a tart or profiteroles for they were cooked to order.  I chose a fig tart.

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How amazing to experience such attention to the cooking in such a small place with just one person in the kitchen! The tart – obviously as freshly baked as is possible – was delicious. The pastry gorgeously light but with a slightly cake affect – maybe some ground almonds in it? The figs were warmed through but not overcooked; they’d clearly been perfectly ripe.

I finished with a coffee. The woman, although busy looking after other diners as they arrived, was wonderfully attentive, making sure everything was OK, answering my questions about the cooking. It was a fabulous little place and I loved being able to have a typical Nicoise meal cooked so well. I felt fortunate to have found two excellent meals two nights in a row. My meal with wine and bottled water was €45.

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