Belle de Mars

Restaurant Belle de Mars (Marseille)

© Meriadec Chouchen

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We knew Belle de Mai, the artsy neighborhood adjacent to the Saint-Charles train station, whose name pays homage to its past glory, and more specifically to the contest in which a lucky girl would be crowned queen with a wreath of white flowers… Now meet Belle de Mars, a rather austere neo-bistro with brand-new parquet flooring, softly iridescent globe light fixtures and utterly nude walls. But from their show-stopping kitchen, Kim-Mai Bui (ex-Petit Nice and Ourea) and Michel Marini (ex-Lasserre and Ze Kitchen Galerie in Paris) serve blind tasting menus that are sharp yet still affordable, as the various courses flow seamlessly into one another. Take the other night as an example: a textural fish soup flan camouflaged under a bouillabaisse espuma, then Mediterranean tuna sashimi caressed by a pickled rose petal for the amuse-bouche; razor-thin slices of radish dipped in an incredible ginger and lemongrass sauce, all topped with bottarga shavings; a duo of warm, plump oysters covered in clementine sabayon; a candy-like al dente porcini mushroom agnolotti with a porcini mushroom mousse; flash-seared Mediterranean little tunny, served with a powerful grey shrimp sauce and seaweed jam; before a graphically pleasing dessert, poached pear hidden under crushed bergamot meringue – an earth-shatteringly good combination! // Meriadec Chouchen 

FEELING THIRSTY? : A short but clever selection of organic wines from across France’s winemaking regions, which will likely grow over time: an elegant Aix-en-Provence red from the Domaine Les Béates (€7 a glass), a straightforward Pierre Rousses chenin from Catherine and Pierre Breton (€37 a bottle), a Bandol red from the Château de Pibarnon (€64)… 
PRICE: : Set menus at lunch for €27-36 and dinner for €49. 

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