The surprising simplicity of Pecora Negra

The pizzeria, opened in Menton by Mauro Colagreco, recently celebrated its first anniversary. The restaurant is easy and accessible to all: little attention to appearances and lots of delicious substance

28-09-2020
A detail of Pizza du moment which we tasted rece

A detail of Pizza du moment which we tasted recently at Pecora Negra in Menton: with figs, fresh goat cheese, fior di latte, rocket, prosciutto di Parma

A simple pizzeria. This is the feeling when you dine at Pecora Negra in Menton, overlooking the very popular beach des Sablettes, a few metres from the historic centre of the French town. The place is identical to other nearby places, with a large dehors and a smaller area inside.

A simple pizzeria, that in fact is hardly simple. The palmarès of the person who opened it is decisively extraordinary: Pecora Negra was born in July 2019 thanks to Mauro Colagreco, chef part Italian, part Argentinian, part French. Three Michelin stars and a restaurant, Mirazur also in Menton, at the top of the World’s 50Best.

The restaurant

The restaurant

«I wanted to open an accessible, immediate, informal place, especially for the people of Menton», Colagreco told us in September 2019, when, after a first trial phase, he officially presented this new establishment. Little over one year after that statement, his intentions are confirmed: on a nice sunny day, under the August sun, the tables at lunchtime are mostly filled by French families (of course, this is also because of the special summer we’ve experienced), coming from the nearby beach.

So what makes Pecora Negra different? What really counts, the food. The menu is rather concise, but allows to have a good range and satisfy different tastes and needs. We start with the dishes that are not baked in the wood oven: pop starters such as platters of cured meat prepared on the moment, a take on Veal in tuna sauce, and of Ratatouille, a Carpaccio with the catch of the day, a couple of salads and of sandwiches.

Veal in tuna sauce (photo Pecora Negra)

Veal in tuna sauce (photo Pecora Negra)

Then we move to the core business, pizza: six classic recipes, including MargheritaMarinaraDiavolaTre formaggi, and finishing with two “geolocalised” recipes, thanks to their main ingredient. Cetara, with anchovies coming from the very town, and Genovese, which shows off a garnish made with pesto from the famous Roberto Panizza.

Few pizzas, few ingredients, highest quality. This is the indeed simple and effective recipe followed at Pecora Negra. Then there are two more recipes, mostly linked to seasonality: Jardin du jour, with seasonal vegetables on a white base with excellent fior di latte, and Pizza du moment, following the inspiration de Mauro Colagreco. It changes weekly, and on the day of our visit it was Fior di latte, figs, fresh goat milk cheese, rocket, prosciutto di Parma.

Margherita...

Margherita...

The tasting of course began with the crucial test of every respectful pizzeria, Margherita. It looks inviting, the edge has grown nicely, without the exaggeration of some “inflatable boats”. The colour gives an idea of the blend of flour used, selected carefully, with a high percentage of whole wheat flour. This is confirmed when tasting it: the dough has an intense aroma and flavour and is very pleasant.

...and its edge 

...and its edge 

The softness of the dough is almost surprising. When it’s like described above, it’s often more compact, less melty. But the balance reached in the backstage of Pecora Negra is impeccable. The tomato sauce is also delicious, it has a fresh aroma, of vegetable garden, with a perfect acidity to match the abundant Fior di latte. Bravo, and let’s move to the second act.

Pizza du moment

Pizza du moment

Could we resist the call of the pizza of the moment, which follows chef Colagreco’s inspiration? Of course not: the dough is again impeccable, it has risen nicely and is well cooked (in a Neapolitan wood oven, using olive wood). The choice of ingredients is delicious, with very sweet figs and prosciutto di Parma cut in front of us, one moment before it is placed on the freshly baked pizza, thanks to a sparkling black Berkel located in the middle, among the front tables of the pizzeria.

Special beer produced for Mirazur

Special beer produced for Mirazur

Great simplicity, great satisfaction. Even the craft beer we tasted was lovely: it’s called La Mentounasc, and the blonde (called La Biounda) is produced with real lemons PDO from Menton. Lively hop, nicely sparkling, with a unique aroma, very refreshing but without being too strong: it’s a perfect match for a pizza in front of the sea. Confirming the quality of this small craft brewery and the appreciation of the Argentinian chef, La Mentounasc has just presented a new product: a blanche made with redcedar from the garden at Mirazur, and meant for Colagreco’s restaurant.

Who even with his Pecora Negra has shown he knows how to succeed.

Pecora Negra
Quai Gordon Bennet
Menton, France
+33.4.93963038
Closed on Tuesday 
The prices of the pizzas range between 11 and 19 euros

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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