Clou de Fourchette, Mini-Palais Terrace, Akrame, Liza + Tea By Thé Buzz

Clou de Fourchette, Mini-Palais Terrace, Akrame, Liza + Tea By Thé Buzz
Walk into Le Clou de Fourchette and you have a feeling of déjà vu, you’ve seen owner Christian Leclou on French TV cook-shows strutting his stuff. A charming friendly man, ex-Ledoyen, L’Escargot de Montorgueil, etc., his neighborhood bistro should be featured in a Woody Allen movie. Bright décor, pots and pans punctuate the lively salle, nice terrace, fun art from It’s right by Gare Saint Lazare; when the trains pass, you’re definitely part of the movie. “This is why I stayed in Paris,” you’ll sigh. Leading the pack is young Maxime Leclou (ex-Le Bristol). “Bonjour mamzelle,” he says to all the old biddys, with total Gallic charm. Leclou has an affinity with Noirmoutier, the potato-growing area of France, and brings them back when he goes. He does a little fishing and translates the fish into mouthwatering dishes à la plancha, salade de pommes de terre de Noirmoutier, bulots and caviar de hareng, bliss. Foie gras is flash fried, spiked with a skewer of tiny potatoes and fresh apricots. Choose from the daily blackboard or the menu. Tartares are traditionnelle, faҫon César or aller retour. Make sure you’re hungry if you order Quasi de veau Franҫais aux légumes nouveaux, jus à la sariette, it’s a trencherman portion. Cheese is “of the moment”, served with salad, and desserts include Gros baba arrosé au vieux rhum, crème battue au sucre vanillé. It’s all good. Try tapas, Le Clou style, because the speciality is also in the superb selection of wines at knock-down prices, and people pop in for a glass of wine and Assiette de jambon “Iberico”, tortillas aux oignons or sardines à l’huile d’olive served in the tin, and that’s just for breakfast, darling. Sit at the retro bar and taste by the glass or bottle. This is a great bistro to come alone, everyone chats away, often about the excitement of being able to order a 178€ bottle of Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2004, Domaine Confuron for 89€ or a glass of Château Maucaillou 2007 Moulis at 6€. Le Clou de Fourchette 121,rue de Rome, Paris 17th Métro: Rome Tél: 01 48 88 09 97 Lunch 15€ A La Carte spend about 31€ Shut Sunday Magnificent Mini-Palais terrace dining The magnificent terrace at Mini-Palais ticks so many boxes. The just-opened Veuve Clicquot Champagne and Piano Bar now serves the widow’s finest from 6PM to midnight. “Cole Porter” tinkles the ivories from 9PM. Great after the theatre or a visit to the Grand Palais which often stays open late, especially with the Anish Kapoor “must-see” Leviathan in the nave. Eric Fréchon continues to create new dishes with the talented Stéphane d’Aboville, and the handsome terrace buzzes with ze beautiful pipole. Study the menu with a flute of Veuve Clicquot and gougère puffs that are like golden mini-cheese soufflés. The seasonal clafoutis theme continues: it’s now crunchy green asparagus and smoked salmon, a winning combination; d’Abovville was using truffles before. New light starters include Carpaccio de Betterave, écume de hareng fumé and a light and refreshing Melon en gelée de pastèque, coppa et sorbet miel-poivre. Drink rosé Bugey Cerdon “Méthode Ancestral” from Bernard Rondeau (40€) or the red Saint-Emilion Réserve Louis 2008 at 7€ a glass. The concept of Mini-Palais is that you can pop in any time and there’s always something delicious to eat and drink in a majestic calm atmosphere. Service is seamless, as you’d expect from Fréchon & Co. His new website, listed below, explains everything. Mini-Palais Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 8th Pont Alexandre 111 Métro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau Tél: 01 42 56 42 42 Valet Parking Open 7/7 from 10h to midnight Lunch menu changes daily 28€ A La Carte 45€ The day after BUZZ lunched chez Akrame a polite note arrived thanking me for my custom and asking that I complete a questionaire, “which only takes seconds.” Nice touch from a talent who really wants to please. Accueil & Service, Qualité des mets, Ambiance, Cleanliness, Quality Price, Noise level, Business/family/friends/romance/solo? In the comment box, I wrote: Akrame Benallal, you are so happy in your chic restaurant, working in your tiny, shiny beautifully equipped, open kitchen with John Erwin. You create surprises for your clients at each service. GaultMillau dubbed you Grand de Demain, and with your parcours in Tours, then with Gagnaire, Ferran and Passard you’ve absorbed but you’re not copying, you have your own definite signature. Crème de petits pois, petites fleurs d’acacia, the acacia flowers gathered from your garden, en amuse bouche. Sablé parmesan, encre de seiche, oeufs de poissons volants. The butter’s spiked with Tonka beans and the bread’s from Poujauran. Carpaccio de daurade with black quinoa is excellent as is Lotte cuit avec feuille d’algues and fleur de capucines, purée de carottes et carottes en émulsion, a triumph. Onglet de boeuf retour d’Espagne, purée de pommes de terre a l’ail, tick, tick, tick. Dessert citron-vert Panacotta, sorbet d’acacia, gelée de citron vert, today. But not tomorrow—they’ll be variations. Only you know, Akrame, that’s why we’ll keep coming back. Thank you. Akrame 19, rue Lauriston, Paris 16th Métro: Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile Tél: 01 40 67 11 16 Shut Sat-Sun Menus 25€-35€ Lunch 45€-65€ Dinner   Liza’s Lebanese restaurant, 14 rue de la Banque, Paris 2nd, is a firm foodie favourite. Lovely décor, delicious food, wine and atmosphere. Now there’s Liza’s pop-up bistro/design boutique on the first floor of Galeries Lafayette. Like the banquette by Godot de Bokja you’re sitting on? Then you can buy it right there. As well as Bowya tables, mirrors by Nada Debs, photos by Fouad El Kouri. Little…

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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, 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 !