Le Clarisse, Chez Clement, Best Baguette & Palace Hotels

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Le Clarisse, Chez Clement, Best Baguette & Palace Hotels
Le Clarisse, Paris 7th Sadaki Kajiwara, the new toque at Le Clarisse, recently taken over by gregarious entrepreneur Jean-Philippe Pluvinet, is a product slut. Only the best for his spotless rue Surcouf kitchen. Vegetables come from Les Vergers Saint-Eustache. Boucherie Lamartine supplies him with Boeuf de Coutancie, La Sablaise with fish and Toshiro Kuroda, “the man of 1,000 sakes,” with the sakes suggested with many of Sadaki’s dishes. Credit Jacques Génin for caramels and Le Coq Saint Honoré for the tender chickens. And talk about tender—rush to rue Surcouf to taste La Poulette de Bresse en 2 services. The first is lemongrass-flavored broth in which float chicken leg raviolis. The second features cabbage-wrapped white meat with foie gras. Roasted mango adds a touch of sweet-sour. It’s perfect and looks set to become Clarisse’s signature dish. Pluvinet suggests sake Dassai 23, Kuroijin d’exception poli à 77% (21€) “for its notes of white flowers and lychees,” or a glass of Chambolle Musigny 2007, Joseph Drouhin (18€). Clarisse’s airy space, on two levels, has been revised and corrected with contemporary furniture and paintings, black velvet banquettes. State-of-the-art tableware by JL Coquet is a frame for the minimal presentation of Sadaki’s dishes. He’s been in France for 10 years, although he only looks about 10—lucky him. No doubt of his talent honed at the top L’Ecole Tsuji, Osaka and subsequently chez Wada Chimpe, Osaka, who introduced him to French gastronomy. Arriving in France in 2001 he went straight to Kenzo’s kitchen, as second, at Kong, then to Catherine and Jacques Lacipière’s, Bon Accueil and Les Anges. I first tasted Sadaki’s light and lovely creations at Le Cercle du 17th, a frankly unimpressive bar-restaurant near Porte Maillot. I still can’t figure out why he was there, but when word got out of his cooking, you couldn’t get a table—it became a hidden cult addy. Now it seems he’s found his level having met the charming, discreet Pluvinel, a former finance wizard who admits he spent more time in restaurants than his office. “But I know what I expect of a restaurant, I had the best training,” he grins. Pluvinel and Sadaki planned the re-birth of the 40-seater Clarisse for six months. It’s their concept; you’ll see it’s got a unique identity, read: Zen. Apart from the must-taste chicken, start with Carpaccio of Dublin Bay prawns, ponzu jelly. Mains are La Terre, say, Rack of Lamb, slow cooked, with emulsion of coconut and green curry. La Mer includes a chunk of tender Turbot roasted with smoked butter, Swiss chard and pork belly. Finish with delicate Banana Cheesecake, caramelised with dark salted Okinawa sugar, Maple Syrup Japanese style. Chez Clarisse a star is born. Le Clarisse29, rue Surcouf, Paris 7th Métro: Invalides/Latour Maubourg Tel: 01 4550 1110 Open: Mon-Friday Lunch & Dinner; Sat: dinner only; Shut Sunday Valet Parking Terrace Lunch formula 35€ Average spend à la carte: 52€ + wine Chez Clément, multiple Paris locations Chez Clément, you can take to your heart. Lovely country house hotel décor with copper pots and pans, more tchotchke than you can shake a stick at. How nice to wander in (or book) on a warm day (lunch or dinner all day service) and order a glass of apricot wine which comes with a slice of nutty cake. It’ll take a while to choose from the extensive menu, so this will come in handy if you’re hungry. Spring/summer menus launched this week. All the dishes are under the supervision of “Chef des Chefs” Bernard Leprince (MOF), who quips he’s always loved slaving over a hot stove. Well, Bernie, rather you than me. “We serve 1,000 covers on weekends, so you know the food’s fresh,” says Leprince. He’s an ex-Ledoyen, Savoy, London, Tour d’Argent, Fouquet‘s and Prunier trencherman, one of the old school, none of your molecular for our Bernie. There are daily specials. Tuesday it’s Stuffed Tomatoes, Basmati rice. Thursday Cod ‘n’ Aioli with fresh vegetables. Sunday, Roast Leg of Lamb with the trimmings. You can tell a good chef by his omelettes; Chez Clément uses organic eggs with fresh herbs and adds thick-cut chips and salad. If you like oysters, they offer plenty of regional molluscs, and the Royal Clément Platter at 37€ is majestic with smoked salmon and toasted Pain Poilâne. There are garden-fresh salads, good old-fashioned roasts, fresh fish and seafood, cooked as you like by a white-toqued team in an open kitchen. Cheese and desserts such as soothing Crème Brûlée and ice creams made with Tahiti and Madagascar vanillas are excellent. If, like me, you would kill for an old-fashioned Strawberry Melba, don’t hesitate. And, from Monsieur Clément’s wine cellar, a Côtes du Rhône by Belleruche Chapouter (26.5€), red or white and ice-cold beers, nice in summer. Clément Blanc created the famous Au Pied de Cochon in Les Halles in the 1940s and when his sons, Pierre and Jacques, created their first restaurant in 1992, they named it for dad. “Chez Clément” is now part of group Frères Blanc with a yearly turnover north of 117 million euros for the 11 restaurants “Chez Clément” and 13 brasseries in Paris, La Rochelle and Luxembourg. Chez Clément123, Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Paris 8thMétro: Charles de Gaulle-Étoile Tel: 01 4073 8700 Open 7/7 Menus from 14.90-27.95€ Little Clément (under-12) 5.80-12.75€ Wine by the glass from 2.95€ Super-Palace Hotels in France The eagerly awaited results of France’s Super-Palace luxury hotels has resulted in quite a lot of angst. This week a French government-appointed committee elected the magnificent 8 and in Paris they are: Le Bristol, Le Meurice, Park-Hyatt Vendôme and Plaza Athénée. Away from the capital: Le Palais, Biarritz, Les Airelles and Le Cheval Blanc, Couchevel and Le…
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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 !