Restaurant Keisuke Matsushima
Michelin Star French Cuisine
Rating: 4 stars
Price guideline: $$$
Chef Keisuke Matsushima’s Michelin Star restaurant is located in the heart of the city of Nice, which is situated right on the coast of the French Riviera. Keisuke Matsushima is originally from Japan, however his style of food is very much modern European with a hint of Japan here and there.
The restaurant is located off a busy high street and is very unassuming, I actually walked past it twice while trying to find it, there is a very simple frontage to the restaurant and no obvious sign. The indication that the restaurant was there was that the chef’s name is stylishly etched onto the windows. Upon entering the restaurant we were greeted by the very friendly staff and immediately sat at our table, French was spoken as the friend with me spoke fluent French and that seemed more appropriate and added to the experience, at any point where I needed to interact with the waiter, they spoke perfect English and helped me understand anything on the menu that I couldn’t translate.
We started with a glass of champagne each which came perfectly chilled and with speed, we ordered our meals fairly quickly from the reasonably priced Lunch menu which offered three courses for 30 euros. There were a few dishes on the menu which required a supplemental charge such as the foie gras and the beef tenderloin, we chose to pay the extra few euros to enjoy some of the more intricate sounding dishes. Soon after we had ordered we were offered a choice of freshly baked bread rolls which were deliciously crusty and warm, unfortunately they did not bring butter for the bread and when I did ask for it they bought unsalted which was a little disappointing.
The meal began with a selection of miniature savory canapés which were a warm cherry tomato covered with a thin layer of crunchy caramel, a ball of cantaloupe melon with a swirl of prosciutto mousse and a red pepper sorbet with pickled anchovies. The combination of caramel and warm cherry tomato was very unique and quite delicious, it reminded me of a toffee apple with a softer texture only with a savory twist, these were so good that we actually asked for one more. The melon was served with a prosciutto mousse, which, again was very unique and an original was to pair prosciutto and melon, it was light and creamy and paired very well with the sweet melon. The red pepper sorbet was sweeter that I would have expected and had a very powerful red pepper flavor, the salty acidic pickled anchovy helped to cut through the sweetness of the sorbet and added a contrast of flavors, delicious little bites that really did get your appetite going for the next course.
For our first courses we chose a local fig salad and a foie gras terrine, the fig salad was actually a little disappointing, it was approximately one fig sliced and placed on a plate with a few sprigs of arugula a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of finely sliced pressed anchovy, I think the dish was intended to let the figs shine as an ingredient rather than being too elaborate. The fig was beautifully ripe and delicious however I think this appetizer was a bit lacking in originality. The Foie gras terrine consisted of a pressed layer of foie gras topped with a honey, pistachio and apricot mousse. The combination of the sweet rich mousse and salty meatiness of the foie gras was truly a match made in heaven, I would say it was one of the most delicious things I have ever tried and something that I bet would be hard to replicate with such finesse.
For our main courses we chose beef medallions with wasabi and tempura vegetables and a stuffed squid with red pepper sauce and artichokes. The main courses were small so we did not swap tasters, I chose the beef medallions which were very nicely cooked to a perfect medium rare and layered with a small amount of wasabi, which tasted much like traditional horseradish. Served on the side of the beef there was some sweet potato, asparagus and zucchini which were all dipped in a light batter and fried until crispy. Although the dish was tasty and very much enjoyed I did feel somewhat let down by it, being a Michelin star restaurant I would have like to see something with a little more imagination and with more elements.
The desserts were very simple, mixed seasonal berries macerated with Chambord liqueur and topped with a light crème fraiche and vanilla ice cream and a pineapple salad in a light syrup topped with vanilla ice cream. The dessert were fresh and light and great for lunch, however as with the main courses, I thought they needed more originality and flair.
Finally the meal was ended with a selection of sweet treats, there were raspberry and lemon jellies which were incredibly soft and tangy and literally melted in the mouth. There were delicate little almond macaroons which were deliciously crunchy, a small choux pastry filled with a rich chocolate cream and a homemade marshmallow flavored with herbs which was unusual but delicious
Overall we had an excellent meal and I would thoroughly recommend this restaurant, I would have liked to see more flair to the dishes but in fairness it was lunch time and you are probably more likely to see the show stopping dishes at dinner time. The lunch menu is good value for money and the food and service are top notch.