Sublime food in a stylish setting

TEXT: KATIE TURNER | PHOTOS © PALOMA

The medieval village of Mougins is a food-lover’s paradise, set on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean on one side and the foothills of the Alps on the other. Just a 20-minute drive from the airport in Nice, it hosts a festival every summer bringing more than 100 Michelin-starred chefs to its medieval streets.

One local chef shines brightly among them: Nicolas Decherchi, who heads the kitchen at Paloma. He’s been working in Michelin-starred kitchens since the age of 16, alongside many of the greats of French gastronomy, including Georges Blanc, Philippe Labbé and Eric Frechon. But chef Decherchi’s dream was always to go it alone. He quickly rose up through the ranks and Paloma is the pinnacle of that effort: within just seven months of the restaurant opening, he was awarded his first Michelin star.

The accolade reflects his refined and elegant menus which change according to the quality and availability of seasonal produce. So is there one dish in particular which reflects Paloma’s cooking? Perhaps the mouth-watering Brittany lobster marinière on a bed of linguine, with a delicate foam inviting the diner to dive right in.

Chef Decherchi uses traditional cooking methods as his springboard, but he’s at the cutting-edge of his craft when it comes to combining flavours and his stylish plating. He’s also exporting his inventive cuisine, and Paloma’s sister restaurant is now open in Prague.

For those with more of a sweet-tooth, pastry chef Anthony Le Gouez’s soufflé is the go-to dessert with the filling changing through the seasons. This summer it will combine passion fruit and hazelnut.

Paloma was a family villa in Mougins before being taken over and completely renovated to house the restaurant. The interior is modern, yet warm with a muted, Baroque-inspired colour scheme and crystal chandeliers. This pared-down aesthetic comes with just 35 tables. The idea was to make the space intimate – a place at which guests feel totally at home when dining. Outside, the terrace has unbeatable views onto the Bay of Cannes: the perfect place to take in the beauty of the Côte d’Azur.

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Paloma’s Michelin-starred chef Nicolas Decherchi. | Discover Southern Europe magazine

Paloma’s Michelin-starred chef Nicolas Decherchi.

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