William Shakespeare wrote that “if music be the food of love play on, give me excess of it.” At Music Hall, old Bill would have surely added Valério Berkovics to his cast of wacky characters, you know, the lovable ones in the sub-plots. The 31-year old peroxide blonde impresario would have been ideal material for the scribbler. “I have dreamed for a long time of creating a state-of-the-art restaurant ‘nouvelle generation’, sans limite”, he explained. And, his Music Hall opened last June; call it “Berkovics’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream!”
The French love to go to the “spectacle” and you should consider it too when in Paris. Le Cabaret, Le Milliardaire, Le Lido always have a line outside; sometimes there are even afternoon “spectacles.” You know the French; they’d much rather open a bon bouteille or crack open the Dom Pérignon than have a nice cuppa tea!
Berkovics previously worked at the Carrousel de Paris, which they say is the oldest in town. Located a few steps from the always mobbed Moulin Rouge, this is the gaff where Cocteau, Chanel and Colette chilled, and where Gilbert Becaud warbled a mean ballad. “Why not create a modern cabaret concept for the 21st century, with edible food?” reasoned Berkovics. So that’s what he’s done – no high-kicking bare-breasted dancing girls – but a contemporary space where, in fact, you are the cabaret. From the minute you walk in, you feel like a big-spender (although the prices are amazingly reasonable!). The 600 projectors with more than 16 thousand computer programmed colours are so soft and exciting you’ll think you’ve had a face-lift!
I don’t know if Elton’s been yet (Berkovics is far too discreet to give out names), but believe me “le tout Paris/Rome/Europe” knows a good thing. There’s a white-lacquer piano waiting for him in the “lounge” just behind the 50-seat restaurant. Tables are well spaced; you can’t even hear what “ze beautiful pipole” are saying, and you’ll want to. Supermodels with legs starting at their chins, guys with just the right amount of designer stubble – oh! I wanted to bug the tables!
So what about the food? It can’t be any good, it’s a “restaurant de la mode”, and will be shut in 15 minutes. Oh No! Wrong babe! Hervé Nepple orchestrates the kitchen and is he a virtuoso. Wow!
Nepple’s parcours includes Ducasse at The Plaza Athénée and the jazzman-genius Pierre Gagnaire. His technique is excellent – the boy’s composes original stuff. Think Glen Gould playing Bach. OK. The press blurb says Nepple uses “produits de saison et leur capacité à nous étonner.” You know what? I’m waiting to get a press release that says, “we use everything from chez Picard/Metro, and the rest from cans!”
Music Hall creates a daring colourful cuisine, young and full of joy, with a fistful of teriyaki and a touch of malice. Begin with tartare of veal-tuna, a contemporary turf-surf, or Cromesquis de crab au coco; frothy pumpkin soup comes in a tall glass “vase.” Amazing how unhip the hip are, the Galliano look-alike at the next table sent his back – “I want ziz in a bowl”, he ordered! None so strange as folk, eh! Fish specialties include Filet de lotte en tempura, and flanqué d’une tranche de lard épais et croustillant.
For carnivores, six meat items include Emincé de filet de boeuf aux épices et soja, and gnocchi à la romaine. And, as in any Music Hall, it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings, or ‘til you’ve tasted pudds by Yvan Lepape, who is not fat, but does whistle while he works. Who wouldn’t when they’re capable of creating chocolate spaghetti, ganache raviolis and the ravishing “Ruche Maya” – bavaroise de miel romarin, pollen croquant et meringue brûlé or “Foret d’Emeraudes – crème de menthe intense sur fines feuilles de chocolat amer aux dentelles de crêpe! You can wash it all down with wine by the glass or by the bottle – there’s many a magnum to be had.
Pop in at “tea-time” to have a look, taste some of Lepape’s patisseries, and sip some Mariage Frères tea. You’ll be booking a seat for the evening gig or our name is not Gourmet BUZZ! Go any time, in fact, because life is a cabaret at Music Hall.
63 avenue Franklin-Roosevelt, 8th (Metro: Franklin Roosevelt)
T: 01 45 61 03 63
Summer terrace – Car jockey
Average price night – 50€ + wine