Buzz: Summer Restaurants

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If you dream of getting a table at L’Osteria (“they” say it’s the best Italian food in town: I’m not so sure) hurry! Seems that Toni Vianello is selling up and heading for Cap Verde (www.caboverde.com), apparently the next big thing: I’m not so sure about that either. He’s going to chill in a home designed for him by none other than Jean Nouvel. Now that’s a cute way of assuring a plate of Toni’s white truffle pasta, risotto and osso- bucco for life! (01 42 71 37 08). Happy Birthday Dominique Bouchet (27 th July). His restaurant has been “full house” midi and soir since it opened. Great products, about 50€ a head make it a BUZZ best buy. “We’re closing for the whole of August, and then opening a little salon below stairs in November”, he says. Bouchet’s got the last laugh now The Crillon has been sold – will his successor Jean-Francois Piege be looking for a job come September? Watch this space. (01 45 61 09 46) www.dominique-bouchet.com Much travelled Gilles Epié (ex- Miravel, Paris L’Orangerie, L.A. ex-La Cour St Germain, Paris etc.) has openedt Francois Clerc’s former Bouchon de just off the Champs Elysées, opposite Guy Savoy’s Chiberta! At Citrus Etoile, expect to pay around 50€ for a fine repas including Epié’s classics. And, the good news is that, Epié likes the place so much he’s bought the wine cellar. Alert readers will remember that Clerc went belly-up offering “ grands cru à prix coutants”. Let’s hope the same thing doesn’t happen to gorgeous Gilles. And, talking of Guy Savoy, remember Cap Vernet? The cruise-ship style fish and seafood canteen at the angle of Avenue Marceau? You need to pop in, check out the nice new décor by Daniel Magnac. Out go the kitsch blue and white marine stripes, in come sand- dune tones, exotic wood floors, touches of plum for the carpet, and outsize chandeliers decorated with computer graphics of naval prints. Call it new wave, read, your own private luxury yacht in the heart of Paris! The décor may have changed but most of the staff stayed. Stephane Marcuzzi isstill Director of the Salle. So who’s below stairs in the galley then? Jean-Marc Lemmery a self- taught chef who explains: “I am a physiotherapist by trade, but aged 33 realised my ambition was to be a chef!”. So, Lemmery, putting all his oeufs in one pannier, brought his wife and 3 kids to Paris. “I was lucky enough to meet Pierre Gagnaire and began my culinary career washing dishes in his rue Balzac kitchens”. Lemmery went on to work all the posts chez Gagnaire, was then offered the post of Head Chef at the very posh St. James Club; he stayed for three years. “Then I had a call from Stephane Marcuzzi to join the team at the new Cap Vernet, a fabulous opportunity to widen my horizons”, he explains. Lemmery relies on products delivered fresh daily from Cancale, St. Malo, the Bay des Veys, Normandie. And, when in season, the finest oysters d’Isigny, or Les Marennes d’Oléron. Recently a friend in Tahitisent him a 48 kilo fish by DHL! “It was so exciting, I used every part of it, even the cheeks!” Expect Cigales de Mer, outsize Saint Jacques and Red Label wild salmon. All cooked simply with plants and exotic flowers to add a dash of Lemmery. Carnivores will find côtelettes d’agneau a la plancha, filet de boeuf with pommes de terres de Noirmoutier and excellent wines to wash it all down. For vegetarians, organic legumes, steamed or pan-fried. Desserts, by Lemmery,include delicate peach crumble, a caramel balsamique-miel with soupe de fraises or a wicked warm chocolate cake. At lunchtime the Cap is packed with captains of industry (maybe doing fishy deals!). Tea-time features patisserie by Gérard Mulot. At night, a glass of Coteaux de Vendomois with tapas, on the terrace, as you watch the movie that is Parisstroll by. Whatever, Cap Vernet is a delightful address. As is the Cristal Room at Baccarat. That’s the magnificent Hotel Particulier, once owned by the de Noailles family, now the flagship offices, museum, boutique for Baccarat, through the looking glass design by Philippe Starck. Booking a table can be tricky; the wait, the refusal. “Non Madame nous sommes complet”. Finally you hit on a mutually convenient date, six months ahead, and unless the dog/dad/gran dies, you look forward to the evening. To be fair, it is easier at lunch-time, for the Ladies Who Do. The restaurant is like the Hollywood Bowl, stunning, tables set with Baccarat glassware, starched white linen, lots of silver. Thierry Burlot’s menu is created for his hip- hip-huppé clientele. Starters include Soupe de petits pois, soupcon de menthe chocolat. Nicoise de legumes Croquants, lait de concombre a boire. Caviar Oscietre Imperial Petrossian et Blini (170€ for 50 grs)….
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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend It.com, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !