Maya Bay – Monaco

September 28, 2006

On September 27, 2006, four of us dined at Maya Bay at the east end of Monaco.  One enters through an expensive art gallery in the Roccabella, a big, luxury apartment building.  (Usefully, a four-story parking ramp has just opened across the street.)  The décor is sort of Japanese-Vietnamese fusion. 

The main dining room is decorated with three sumptuous embroidered silk Kimonos and the other with a wall of many fabrics.  big_rocabella_monaco3.jpgThe covered outside area, where we sat, has numerous spotlit bonsais and cages with mechanical birds which occasionally twitter.  Each table has a burning wick in scented oil which gives an oriental aroma without being too much.   Only half the outside tables were taken, none inside, which was surprising for a place which has received much trendy publicity.  The cuisine has various degrees of Mediterranean-East Asian fusion techniques and ingredients.   The excellent amuse-gueule was a glass of hibiscus jelly topped with diced mussels with Asian spices.  Two of us then started with the “Cou de Canard,” rich, spiced duck meat stuffed into duck skin to form a round galantine.  Three slices were served with a green salad with a bit of soy sauce in the dressing to make the fusion effect.  One had the nems, chicken spring rolls with a bean sprout salad and one had an excellent dish of spiced cèpes encircling a piece of sautéed foie gras topped by a small fried egg.  For the main course two of us shared the côte de boeuf, marinated in a teriyaki sauce and served with a bowl of mushrooms and a plate of spiced, puréed, fried potato sticks.  This course was enormous, quite out of proportion with the restrained servings of all the other dishes.  The beef was grass-fed and very flavourful, although too chewy for someone used to corn-fed beef; thinner slices would have been helpful.  One had the frogs’ legs in a coconut milk sauce and the other had a veal stir-fry on top of noodles.  We skipped the dessert menu, which had the same fusion descriptions, but they served us some ordinary French friandises.  We shared two bottles of a St Joseph red.  The food was satisfactory, with a few high points, but not up to the level I had expected.  The service was fast and efficient.  At 72 € each for everything the price was reasonable. 

Addendum: The award winning chef and his team were fired as of October 21 and the restaurant was closed. It has since reopened, but we have not yet been back to try it.

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