Mova is one of those restaurants that might easily have fallen through the cracks of the Covid epidemic, having opened just a few months before the March 2020 lockdown in France. Luckily for us, it survived and, luckily for me, a friend who lives in the neighborhood happened to notice it while walking past just a week before we were scheduled to have dinner together.
Although there are not many reviews on the Web, a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin guide is a good enough recommendation for me. On arrival, my dinner companion Terry and I liked the restaurant as soon as we walked in, with its modern yet cozy decor.
The menu offers two choices at dinnertime: four courses for €39 or six for €59. We chose the latter, tempted by the idea of a tourte de canard for the meat course and the server‘s promise that each portion would be smallish so that we wouldn’t end up seriously stuffed.
It was a good choice. The first course was perfect, and not just because it contained an œuf parfait (perfect egg), which swam in a warm, creamy sauce and was judiciously dosed with bits of excellent bacon and tender leek. This soothing dish was probably my favorite, but it was extremely hard to choose from so many delights.
The next course is a case in point: I was also mad about the cod quenelles with lobster bisque foam and a point of lemon and lemon zest, prettily topped with red flower petals. Another soothing and satisfying dish with a perfect balance of flavors.
Next up: delightfully silky, lightly cooked sliced scallops with pickled wild asparagus. I found that the pickled flavor slightly overwhelmed the delicate scallops, but the sauce was lovely. Terry thought it was just fine as it was.
It was time for that much-anticipated tourte de canard (duck pie). Instead of a pastry crust, it came wrapped in what looked like dark bread studded with toasted seeds. Inside were an incredibly tender and flavorful piece of duck breast, mushrooms and a slice of celeriac. It was worth the price of the tasting menu.
Rounding out the six courses were two desserts. The first was a divine combination of pumpkin ice cream with toasted squash seeds and honey-flavored cream.
The other was a daring combination of mango ice cream, fresh mango and coffee-flavored cream. In this case, the crunch came from hazelnut and almond crumble.
Every single dish had just the right amount of seasoning or a perfect subtle hint of sweetness. It would be totally unnecessary to ask for salt or pepper for these carefully thought-out dishes.
At the end of the meal, the chatty young chef, François Merle, came out to greet us and told us how he had picked the wild asparagus himself and pickled it because he is averse to waste, although his companion, Charlette Lin, who had provided the charming service, was getting fed up with all pickling jars on the counter. He also shared the source of the restaurant’s name: since it’s located on Rue des Dames, the couple decided to honor their mothers by using the first two letters of each one’s first name. We can only thank Monique and Valérie for producing such great restaurateurs.