La Merenda, which in Niçoise dialect means a delicious morsel, is an old restaurant in Nice in the south of France. It was run by Jean Giusti and his wife and a single kitchen hand for many years until they retired and sold it to Dominique Le Stanc.
Le Stanc was Chef at the 5 star Michelin Hotel Restaurant Le Negresco in NIce, when he bought La Merenda.
He didn’t change the style of regional cooking of Jean Giusti . Simple often slow cooking. The open kitchen, no telephone, and 18 seats on stools, remains the same as the Giusti days.My menu of 1996 dates from before Le Stanc. In those days there were original Lithographs from Matisse and Braque on the walls. All very simple and delicious, food that has pretty much disappeared from France these days.
The Markets in the old part of Nice.
1 litre of whole milk
115g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
6 eggs, 6 eggyolks
Caramel, 225g sugar
Combine the milk, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let infuse 1 hour.
Make caramel by bringing the sugar and 125ml of water to a gentle simmer, stir to dissolve.Simmer only until it reaches a deep caramel colour. Pour out into six ramekins, to cover the bottoms, swirling to coat the ramekins. Set to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180°.
Lightly whisk the eggs and yolks in a bowl. Strain the cooled milk onto the egg mix, slowly whisking.PLace the Ramekins in a water bath, bain marie and half fill with hot water. Cover with tin foil and cook in the centre of oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Don’t over cook or the texture will be ruined. Allow to cool then put in fridge. Unmould by placing ramekins in a bowl of hot water for 15seconds then run a knife around rim. Place serving plate on top and turn over, slowly removing the mould.