L'Amateur de Thés
Best Chef of 2014
The rare pearl from Nagoya, chef Yuri Nagaya (Le Guide Fooding’s Best Chef of 2014) has moved L’Amateur de Thés into an exotic minimalist space in Pau: an Art Déco façade, white walls, Japanese brass light fixtures, tokonoma and shojis. Our chopsticks danced in front of the unbeatable briny €25 menu at lunch: an exceptionally rich miso soup and purple shiso rice; classic maki with hake and cabbage, salsify purée, colorful carrots, dill, rice vinegar, white soy sauce and dashi broth; an utterly simple but divinely good grilled mullet with turnips, beets, Brussel sprouts and teriyaki sauce; then, for the finale, an impressive chocolate tart with mascarpone, clementine marmalade and a matcha tea macaron. Pure bliss, served with organic wines from the region (€20 for a bottle of Moncaut Hèita blanc), one of the fifteen sakes on the menu (€4-9 for 50ml) or one of the dozen Japanese teas, including a very green Karigane cha for €4. Lunch menus (€25-35-45), “Omakase” dinner menus (€45-65), and take-away bento boxes (€12-15-20). Plus, they sell over 250 (!) teas in shop or online from across the globe, selected by Joël Romualde, Yuri’s business partner. // P.L.