BUZZ: Le Fouquet’s and Le Diane, Gaya by Gagnaire, Michelin San Francisco 2012

BUZZ: Le Fouquet’s and Le Diane, Gaya by Gagnaire, Michelin San Francisco 2012
  Le Fouquet’s and Restaurant Le Diane at Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière, Paris 8th Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière, in the heart of “The Golden Triangle” has taken its place in the hearts and minds of chic Parisians since it opened in 2006. The 50 million euro building sits just behind Le Fouquet’s, the legendary restaurant with names of César-winning celebs engraved on copper plaques in the entrance. Always buzzing, it’s opposite the Louis Vuitton flagship store, where there’s usually an orderly line of shoppers waiting to be let into the HQ of conspicuous consumption. To greet you are the hotel’s Clooney look-alike doormen wearing sexy livery. Once inside there are 81 rooms, 31 of which are sumptuous suites with names like Backgammon. Barrière is, after all, darling, famous for its legendary up-market casinos, and each room/suite comes with its own butler. The “silent building” is constructed around an internal garden courtyard designed by brilliant French architect Edouard Franҫois with interior décor by Jacques Garcia. It’s also big on sustainable development that offers “eco-friendly lifestyle choices throughout your stay,” the most intelligent, in my opinion, being Pommery‘s vineyard creation of POP Earth Champagne, sitting in an ice bucket in your room/suite. Everybody gets one. When you leave, no paper is wasted, your invoice comes on an iPad, no you can’t take it with you dear. The gorgeous gardens are watered with saved raindrops, so they won’t be falling on your head. And, below stairs is the state-of-the-art spa with 8 treatment rooms and a 15-meter pool, steam room, sauna, etc. Restaurant Le Diane and Le Lucien Bar Restaurant Le Diane is an homage to Diane de Barrière, who never fully recovered from a 1995 air crash before she died in 2001. Subsequently her husband, Dominique Desseigne, took over direction of the group. A beautiful woman, there are tributes to her throughout the hotel and she will never be forgotten. Wearing the whites at Le Diane are a talented team headed by MOF (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) Jean-Yves Leuranguer (ex-17 years in the kitchens of Le Martinez, Cannes) with Christian Willer. Add Christophe Schmitt (ex-Crocodile, Strasbourg, Le Rosenmeer in Rosheim, Alsace under Herbert Maet and Maison Lameloise, Chagny) plus talented pastry chef Claude Ducrozet, whose version of cupcakes are available at Le Lucien Bar along with other wicked creations. Chill out in the bar after a hard day’s night and let Stéphane Ginouvés mix an exotic or classic drink—he’s “MOF” Best Barman in France 2011. Holiday laser light show starts December 2 From December 2nd, Fouquet’s Barrière celebrates the holiday season by lighting up for Christmas. The magnificent interior courtyard showcases an innovative light display: the “mapping building” technique using projected 3D images gives new life to the 19th-century façade. The exceedingly realistic effects are awesome and the illuminated façade takes on new colors and seems to come to life. Expect surprising daily entertainment from 6:30pm from December 2, 2011 to January 9, 2012. Holiday menus For both Christmas and New Year’s Eve Chef Jean-Yves Leuranguer has composed delicious menus for the traditional Le Fouquet’s restaurant and Le Diane. Claude Ducrozet’s magical sweet treats will round off festive dinners. Le Fouquet’s has planned menus specially designed for young gastronauts, to be enjoyed while waiting for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve… Le Fouquet’s & Restaurant Le Diane at Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière Tél: 01 4069 6060 46, Avenue George V, Paris 8th Métro: George V Lunch 60€ including a glass of wine Dinner from 70€-140€ Shut Sunday-Monday and Saturday lunch Le Lucien Bar & Garden are open daily from 7hrs until very late for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and evening drinks Rooms and Suites from 700€ U Spa, Pool Open 7/7 Restaurant Gaya, Paris 7th Three-star legendary super-chef Pierre Gagnaire heads 12 restaurants from Paris via London, St. Tropez, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Dubai, and Seoul. Gagnaire created molecular cuisine with his friend, physicist Hervé This, the man who unboils eggs. Heston, Marx, Anton, Barbot, etc., followed the leaders. PG’s dishes are presented as a constellation surrounded by satellite components. He can make a silk purse from a sow’s ear; in his hands simple turnips become precious edible jewels. In 2005 PG, whose Michelin 3-star couture flagship restaurant is on rue Balzac, off the Champs-Elysées, launched the Left Bank bistro Gaya. State-of-the-art décor is by architect Christian Ghion and fish is the theme. At night choose from spectacular dishes, created by PG and interpreted by chef Nicolas Fontaine, say, Pétales de lieu jaune; fenouils grillés, pommes vertes, shiso. Poêlée de gambas du Mozambique au poivre vert and Reine de reinette rhubarbe dessert. During the week lunch “La Semainier” changes daily, read: plat du jour Gagnaire style. Monday: Côte de Cochon fermier de Monsieur Ospital rôtie à la sauge. Tuesday: Turbot saisi au grill, sauce Béarnaise. Wednesday: Steamed langoustines, velouté vert. Thursday: Sole grillé, beurre fondu au pamplemousse and Friday: Coquillages et crustacés, légumes d’automne. Gaya is oyster central, so just pop in for Six Spéciales Y Madec served with pâté de maquereau à la coriandre fraîche/gingembre frais/banane/pomme verte and a glass, from 6€ or a bottle of, say a zesty Saint Péray “Cuvée les Pins” from B. Gripa (49€). The crowd are cool gastro-nomads. Today a couple arrived, at lunch, schlepping the Vuitton suitcase, “we’re too excited to go to the hotel, this is our third visit, we can’t get enough of Gaya,” they said. “When is Gaya coming to Maryland?” they asked a puzzled waiter. Restaurant Gaya
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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 !