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Mini Palais dining room. Publicity photo.
When Eric Frechon was asked to create and become Chef Conseil at the Mini Palais he didn’t hesitate. Located just behind the Grand Palais and Le Petit Palais, Mini Palais has incredible décor by ex-Christian Liagre disciples Gilles et Boissier under the watchful eye of Alain-Charles Perrot, architecte en chef des monuments historiques de la Ville de Paris; it’s now one of the most beautiful buzzing restaurant spaces in Paris.
Look up at the metallic ceiling, admire the neo-medieval patchwork wall-covering by Gilles Cenazandooti and smile at the plaster reproductions of plaster of Paris museum pieces and broken relics on the shelves. Then look outside at the wide terrace with elegant Greek columns and majestic orange trees. Are you ready to order?
Eric Frechon (3-star Michelin at Le Bristol) seized the challenge to create a luxury product but without the eye-watering prices.
“I’m a simple lad at heart and I’ve created dishes that I’d like to eat in this setting,” he said last week.
“Also, this gives me the opportunity to showcase my favorite artisans.”
So he gathered Jean-Yves Bordier for his exceptional Beurre Bordier butter; Philippe Camdeborde for traditional homemade charcuterie that Lady Gaga would love to wear; Frédéric Lalos for his incredible variety of breads at Le Quartier du Pain, served in hessian sacks; mareyeur (fishmonger) Claude Raffin for his line-caught fish; and he also tapped into the resources of Mr Good Fish to ensure that no endangered fish are used in the bright new kitchens.
Stéphane d’Aboville, who says he’s 30 but looks much younger, is in charge of the kitchens. He was at Le Bristol as second and premier responsable du Restaurant Gastronomique to Frechon for eight years.
“And I love him, and he loves me,” grins Frechon. “He’s a good boy.”
Before Le Bristol this boy from Tarbais (where the beans come from) learned his craft at L’Ambroisie, Tarbes (1-star) then Bayonne, then Drouant with the legendary Louis Grondard. In 2002 he joined la brigade d’Eric Frechon.
Drink, say, a white Chablis Le Finage de Chablienne 2007 (42€) or a well-structured Beaujolais Morgan, Domaine Marcel Lapierre 2009 (38€).
Bar at Mini Palais. Publicity photo.
After visiting Grand Palais or shopping on the Golden Triangle why not pop in for a snack: Sardines à l’huile, Bordier beurre aux algues (16€); Planche de Charcuterie “Lady Gaga” (14€), Planche de fromages affinés (8€), Club Sandwich de langouste (35), Tartare de boeuf taillé au couteau cru ou poêle (19€).
The menu is seasonal and market driven. Freebie gougères (feather-light cheese puffs) served as mini-soufflés are the perfect intro to discover a talented cutting-edge chef.
Delicious choices include:
- Slightly smoked Corrèze ceps batter pudding
- Pil-Pil squids
- Snails in cherry tomatoes, browned with almond butter
- Yellow wine, cheese-crusted sweetbreads
- Pearly cod, with coriander and citronella perfumed stock
- Tandoori pork pluma, candied onion, straw potatoes
- Giant rum baba, light vanilla cream for two.
- Chouquettes and expresso ice cream, hot chocolate fudge
Chefs Frechon and d’Aboville are bien in their baskets.
Take a half a minute to get the vibe via video by Jason Fist:
Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 8th
at the Grand Palais by Pont Alexandre III
Métro: Champs Elysées-Clemenceau,
Tél: 01 4256 4242
Lunch Formula 28€ –
Average Spend 45€ + wine
Glass of wine 7€
Open 7/7 10am-midnight
Margaret Kemp is a Cordon Bleu graduate who spent a year traveling the world, working and watching in the kitchens of top chefs from Sydney, Australia via Bangkok, Hong Kong, California, New York and France. She reports for BonjourParis on the latest European trends, restaurants and hot spots. Please click on her name to see her weekly on-the-scene reports dating back to 2003 . . . et merci, Margaret.
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