Q: What is it? A: A somewhat fading flower. Formerly a top restaurant on the Côte d’Azur.
“Pavlova aux fraises Tagada et sorbet citron” which means that you’re looking at a meringue-based little dessert with French strawberry candy on top plus lemon sorbet. The Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova gave name to the way of preparing meringue.
I’m looking at a rather sad risotto.
I’m not happy. The risotto is unable to spread happiness. Not even the pieces of Thai chicken that have landed on top of it are able to deliver any much-needed excitement. I’m sad as well. I’ve been to this restaurant a few times by now, and the first time, I was completely blown away by the smooth and friendly service and a kitchen for which the stratosphere seemed to be just a bus-stop on the way to higher ground. Since then, something has happened, and this I don’t mean in a good way. Maybe my expectations needed some adjustment? Maybe it’s just me? Maybe not.
Lost: One of their Michelin stars.
Until 2009 they had twice as many Michelin stars as they have now. Founding chef, M. Roger Vergé, certainly earned those stars. Today, I’m more surprised they are still holding on to one. Don’t get me wrong – a meal at the Moulin de Mougins is not some kind of punishment, but it’s far from the standard that was once celebrated by reviewers and foodies alike. To be even more precise; the old mill has dropped 372 places in the French culinary ranks, from #44 to #416.
Resting on their laurels…
When Roger Vergé retired, Alain Llorca arrived on the scene. He had left the Chantecler dining room in Nice’s fabled Hotel Negresco. for the old mill. In 2009, it was exit Llorca and enter Sébastien Chambru, formerly of Restaurant Paul Bocuse near Lyon. Maybe there’s a pattern here. Founding chef Roger Vergé developed his Cuisine de Soleil here, which was far from the cholesterol-fueling philosophies of M. Bocuse. When the main course is served, I’m trying to figure out the Poitrine de volaille farcie filled with shellfish that I have on the plate in front of me. I fail. It’s the first heavy-weight chicken breast I’ve ever had. Could this be the future of Moulin de Mougins?
Suddenly I realise…
Those old-fashioned ideas of the kitchen are still boggling me as I’m browsing for answers. An American website suddenly makes a lot of sense. ”You may rub shoulders with Sharon Stone or sitting next to Liz Taylor…” Well, “Basic Instinct” premiered in theatres in 1992, and Liz is no longer with us. Suddenly, I realise that the former olive mill of Mougins is very much a place of the past. It’s smells and tastes and feel like yesterday. That’s why it’s only worth two stars in my book today.
Kilometers from Cannes 6.1. Kilometers from Nice 29.99.
Closed Monday and Tuesday
Moulin de Mougins
+33 (4) 93 75 78 24