The day promised to be the best of my trip weather wise (rain and even thunderstorms forecast later), so I wanted to make the most of it. Hence the bus ride to Éze in the morning, which I wrote about last time, for magnificent views, then a return to Nice where I had an excellent salad for lunch in Bar de la Degustation (I’d discovered it as a great place for aperitif the night before).
I spent much of the afternoon walking along the Promenade des Anglais. I hadn’t been able to find any of Nice’s iconic blue chairs since my arrival but by walking further along today, at last they appeared and I sat down for a while to enjoy the sparkling azure blue of the Mediterranean and a warm full sun on my face.
After my wonderful lunch at Peixes the day I arrived, I knew I had to return. The cooking is sublime. I thought it would be a good choice for lunch on Monday – a final meal of the trip before I fly home in the evening. But I discovered they’re closed Sunday and Monday. With a table already booked for Saturday evening, it had to be Friday evening that I ate there again. You can’t book but it’s open all day from 12-10pm and I decided to turn up early to be sure of a table.
The staff were so friendly the first time, I’d got talking to a couple of waiters; had exchanged ‘bonjours’ when passing – and I have to pass it almost anytime I leave my hotel. I was welcomed back like an old friend; it was lovely. It was quiet still with most diners choosing to sit on the little terrace outside while I chose ‘my’ little table just at the entrance – almost outside but not quite. All the staff were gathering together into a group. Would I take a photo? of them, I was asked, as a phone was held out to me. It was someone’s birthday. I happily obliged and then took this with my own phone’s camera. For a solo traveller it was a delightful moment of inclusion.
My friendly waitress came and explained the menu to me and when she told me about the special ceviche of the day, my meal was decided. Fantastic bread came with anchovy butter, a glass of Tarn white wine (€4).
More diners slowly streamed in as I waited for my food. Then came my special ceviche: sea bream ‘cured’ in orange juice, lemongrass, chilli, pecan nuts, a gloriously smooth fennel mash (€14).
Oh my word, it was truly incredible; absolutely glorious. Sea bream is one of my favourite fish and I’ve had carpaccio of it before, but this was something different, quite thick pieces of almost raw fish but so tender and tasty. The accompanying ‘sauce’ perfect with its citrusy notes and little bursts of chilli heat.
All the dishes are ‘small plate’ size but this was enough for me with the bread and left room for dessert. I chose Financier (almond pastry), Greek Yoghurt, crisp honey (€7).
Given the small plates of the menu, I was somehow expecting something quite modest but actually it was a good-sized pud! And full of delightful surprises: moist almond sponge, a light cloud of yoghurt foam, gorgeous smooth yoghurt ice cream with a lovely tart edge, pieces of honeycomb, little drizzles of honey and a sprinkling of lavender.
A good espresso finished my meal. The Michelin guide says Peixes (pronounced pesh and Portuguese for ‘fish’) is ‘the stuff of great memories’. I shall certainly remember eating here always. But will I resist coming back for lunch on Saturday before they close for the rest of my trip??
The total bill was just €27.
It was too early to go back to the hotel so I walked further up little rue de l’Opera towards the sea. The day of sun had faded gloriously into a beautiful sunset over the Mediterranean.
I walked up to Quai Rauba Capeu and joined the crowds looking back over the lovely Baie des Anges. What a perfect end to a lovely day.
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