“A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay”- English rhyme
On the street named for the Marquis de Jouffroy-d’Abbans– at No 51– the neo-bistro Agapé recalls the Greek word “love”. Owner Laurent Lapaire takes care of wine, the dining room and ensuring an elegant and warm welcome to clients who remember him from Alain Passard’s L’Arpege where he headed the team for 10 years. In Agapé’s kitchen, Tokyo-born Yoshitaka Takayanagi describes his cuisine as “classic, modern, balanced”.
Begin with a glass of natural champagne from Comte Hugues de la Bourdonnaye (12€)– perfect with the delicate amuses-bouches. Starters include Tataki of Mediterranean red tuna or thick white asparagus from the Champagne region with Poutague from Martigues and marinated egg yolk. Then delicate leaf-wrapped steamed sea bass or Corrèze lamb, spelt and buckwheat risotto. There’s four-year old Comte cheese from Monsieur Anthony and Chocolat Grand Cru “Guanaja” among the desserts.
Lapaire says his wine book is his bible – it makes fascinating reading. From the Rhône Valley, choose Cuvée C’est Le Printemps 2014 (AOC Crozes-Hermitage, 50€) and the white Burgundy Chablis AOC cuvée “Montserre” 2015 (€70). Menus are price at €44-€99-€139€-€149 and €205 with wine pairings or choose A La Carte about €129. We loved the perspective of the restaurant where the mirror reflects the paper-mâché bell lampshades made by Swazi women from recycled newspaper – and tableware by Sylvie Coquet.
Agapé, 51 rue Jouffroy-d’Abbans, 17th, Tel: 01 42 27 20 18. Closed Saturday-Sunday.
Rôtisserie d’Argent & Boulangerie
The former Rôtisserie de Beaujolais has been revised and corrected, with the addition of a well stocked corner bakery/patisserie. It’s still an authentic neighborhood brasserie where you can even take home what you don’t eat in a “Ducky-Bag”. It’s part of the iconic Tour d’Argent led today by André Terrail with a loyal and enthusiastic brigade. “We use the same products as at La Tour for the quality – it’s our prêt-a-porter canteen”, he says. The bread is baked by Alexis Bourgeot and behind the state-of-the-art silver rôtisserie Sébastien Devos roasts chicken “Pattes Noires Challandais” with chips/potato purée/season’s vegetables or green salad. Pigeon, Duck, Lamb (from 21€).
Tip: It’s exciting to eat the signature Quenelles de brochet André Terrail as a starter (14€). The blackboard notes the day’s specials, say, Asparagus from Nathalie & Jérôme Galis and fish of the day which could be a hearty grilled sea bass. Or try the Clovis Burger (19€) or just a plate of 36 month Comté cheese with a glass of Tour d’Argent red (from €8). We enjoyed the White Chablis Tour d’Argent 2012 (59€) and the attentive service from Steven and Patricia. Pop into the patisserie if you can’t make up your mind about dessert (from €8); the lemon tart’s luscious!
Rôtisserie d’Argent & Boulangerie, 19 Quai de la Tournelle, 5th. Metro: Pont Marie/Cardinal Lemoine. Tel: 01 43 54 17 47, Open 7/7
Opposite the Saint-Germain Covered Market, appreciate the all-day sunny terrace attitude (from 8h-midnight) at the former Left Bank establishment, La Petite Cour, which has been recently acquired, revised and corrected by the fabulous Vaconsin sisters, Marie-Lorna and Florence. They also own the nearby Blueberry and Bocca Della Verita. The daring hipster Brooklyn loft décor is by Gabriel Pistre. Milan-born chef Aristide de Vita (ex-Romantica, Clichy and Byblos St. Tropez) sends out dishes that evolve throughout the day, from “all day” breakfasts of fresh juices (€8), warm croissants (€5), cappuccino (€6.50), egg white omelette / ricotta and spinach (€12).
It’s La Dolce Vita at lunch with sexy finger foods, to share or not, “Tramezzine” sandwiches (€5), breads by Monsieur Lalos. Fritto misto (€13) Salads (from €16), Burgers – including vegetarian (from €19-36), and of course pasta, ravioli and “Nudi” – ravioli without pasta ((€18), Demi burrata with truffle purée (€16) and– to finish– Catwalk Cake (€10) & Paris-Turin choux buns filled with Gianduja cream (€12). Prosecco’s on tap (€12) and beers from (€6) plus Pierre’s exciting cocktails shaken or stirred with panache (€14).
Marcello, 8 rue Mabillon, 6th, Metro: Mabillon. Tel: 01 43 26 52 26. Open 7/7 from 8h-midnight
Rural Marc Veyrat
Benjamin Patou (great nephew of Jean), head of MOMA Group, is the main man behind Rural— the country-style “brasserie chic” with iconic black hatted superchef Marc Veyrat. In an atmospheric chalet setting the 200 seater space (no reservations) designed by Lionel Jadot, serves breakfast (€8) lunch from 24€-29.50€ or all day dishes from €6 say, soup du jour or Croq’ Rural (12€) cheese and charcuterie with a generous children’s menu for the under 12’s (14€). Delicious organic food and wines make the most of mountain plants and herbs. And, rather than using butter, flour, eggs, oil, or cream, Veyrat and his team favour roots, mountain plants, herbs, and wild alpine flowers.
Rural, 2 place de la Porte Maillot, 17th. Metro: Porte Maillot. Tel: 01 72 69 0303. Open 7/7
Strategically located on the edge of the newly transformed Les Halles, the former kitchen of Tomy Gousset is now helmed by François-Xavier Ferrol, who sharpened his knives in Sweden and with Eric Frechon at L’Epicure & Lazare and then with Yannick Alleno, chez Ledoyen. Mission statement: “In Harmony with Nature”. On the blackboard, five starters, say, soft egg, Jerusalem artichoke, chestnuts and celery or Spring vegetables with morilles mushrooms and yellow wine. Five mains may include Roast lamb and herb gnocchi; Fish of the day with sesame and kale; and five desserts – the dramatic surprise is the delicate dessert, Cream of Parmesan, covered with a black buckwheat tuile, spiked with old balsamic. The menu changes according to the market (from €20-65€) and the very knowledgeable Gilles Soumeillant will advise on the excellent Tour de France wine card – by bottle or glass (from€8). Do give Pirouette a whirl!
Pirouette, 5 rue Mondétour, 1st. Metro: Les Halles, Tel: 01 40 26 47 81 Closed Sunday
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Lead photo credit : ©Agapé