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“Le repas que l’on ne partage pas entre amis, n’en vaut pas la peine.” — Paul Bocuse (1926-2018)
“Cooking – the art of instantly and joyfully transforming products charged with history,” is Guy Savoy’s mission statement. Chiberta, his 1* Michelin address, sits on a side street in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe. Dotted with exciting contemporary art, originally opened in 1932 (acquired by Savoy in 2003), the Art-Deco style building was named in homage to Le Golf de Chiberta, arguably one of the most beautiful courses in France, set in the heart of Basque country, a truffle’s throw from Biarritz.
Begin with 6 oysters with lemon-apple granité (€35); or Normandy scallops, celery salpicon, coral and truffled broth (€39); or Whiting caviar, grenailles potatoes with lime and taramasalata. Mains include Poached char Apremont white wine and sorrel sauce, grilled leeks (€39); Normandy scallops, celery salpicon, coral and truffle truffled broth (€65); or Saddle of lamb crisp-melting Jerusalem artichoke, hazelnut cremolata from Piedmont (€48). Finish with cheese by Quatrehomme (€20) and Chocolate caramel ganche, Breton shortbread (€19); or Grapefruit and Orange terrine, Earl Grey tea sauce (€19).
The red and black décor is by Jean-Marie Wilmotte. Glass fronted wine-walls are a design feature; choose from an eclectic selection of bottles. This chic (and cher) wine and oyster bar ticks all the boxes for top quality fare and excellent service.
Sit at the bar or ask for Winston Churchill’s table!
3 rue Arsene Houssaye, 8th. Metro: Charles de Gaulle Etoile. Tel: +33 (0)1 53 53 42 00. Discovery Menu €110 /€165 with wine pairings. Average A La Carte Spend €90. Closed Saturday lunch & Sunday.
The landmark Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) exhibition (until 23rd July) in the Louvre’s Hall Napoleon is the perfect prelude to discovering:
Benoit at the Louvre – a concept by Ducasse Culture– dedicated to great quality eating in world museums and cultural institutions.
The original Benoit dating from 1912 is located between City Hall and Les Halles, revised and corrected with discreet charm by Alain Ducasse. The menu serves excellent traditional rib-sticking dishes such as “Langue de veau Lucullus”, “Nantua sole fillet” and the divine “Benoit profiteroles, chocolate sauce.” Brand Benoit has evolved with addresses in Tokyo and New York.
Open since April 4th, the atmospheric style continues at the 94-seater Pierre-Yves Rochon designed Louvre location with zinc bar, parquet floors, oak woodwork, brass rails, and red velvet banquettes. On the menu: snail casserole, pâté en croûte, blanquette of veal, rum baba – served by immaculate white aproned, bow-tied staff, well versed in the art of service. Average spend is around €29 – low compared to Benoit rue Saint Martin – go figure.
And, Les Ombres, the rooftop restaurant with the best views, Musée de Quai Branly, re-opens soon – with Ducasse at the helm – and an Asiatic style menu.
Benoit au Louvre, rue de Rivoli, 1st arrondissement. Metro: Palais Royal / Louvre Museum, exit Carrousel du Louvre. Tel: +33 (0)1 40 20 52 27
Founded 1686 – more than a century before the French Revolution – this café was frequented by the likes of Molière, Diderot, Voltaire. Each salon is named for one of these illustrious panjandrums of letters.
Fast forward to 2018 – enter multi Michelin star superchef Pierre Gagnaire, whose tome La Cuisine des 5 Saisons (Editions Solar €30) recently won the 1st Procope Award for Cuisine Bourgeoise. Cuisine Bourgeoise? “Middle class” family style cooking you wish mama had made – or maybe she did.
And, from Thursday April 19, Gagnaire’s roast plaice, mashed potatoes and caramelized apple dish (the recipe’s in his book) takes pride of place on Procope’s menu. “This dish interprets Cuisine Bourgeoise technique, revised and corrected for the 21st century,” explains Pierre Gagnaire.
13 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, 6th arrondissement. Metro: Odéon. Tel: +33 (0)1 40 46 79 00. Open 7/7
The latest concept from Hugues Courage (creator of La Tête Ailleurs, La Bastide Blanche, Marcella, My POP) interprets contemporary Indian cuisine for chic Parisiens. It’s tapas/sharing style with delicious food (and wraps) paired with savory and sweet naan bread and chapatis baked in an authentic Tandoori oven.
“The menu respects the rules of Ayurveda – sugar, acid, salt, bitter, piquant, astringent,” says Courage. “There’s vegetarian, lactose and gluten free dishes – some are very spicy,” he warns. Bollywood Punch (€6), Maharajah Salad (€12), Papadoom Bun (€14), Tchai chocolate cake (€7) with interesting French and world wines to match. And, kindly, some proceeds are donated to www.wildlifesos.org
157, rue Montmartre, 2nd. Metro: Grands Boulevards. Tel: +33 (0)1 40 41 02 14
Open Monday-Saturday from 11h30-15h and 18h30 to midnight. Sunday Brunch: 11h30 – 18h (€22-€24, Kids €12).
“La cheffe” Julia Sedefdjian – just 23 years of age – formerly wowing foodies at David Bottreau’s fabulous Fables of the Fountain, just opened her own chic left bank space Baieta (little kiss in Niçois dialect) located at Sylvain and Sarah Sendra’s former Itineraires.
Julia notched her first Michelin star in 2016 at Fables when only 21, and was recently ranked 29th in Atabula’s list of top French chefs/cheffes.
A wall painting by artist Frédéric Agid representing that little Niçois kiss greets diners; accents are on Niçois/Mediterranean cuisine from where “la cheffe” hails.
Expect amuses of pissaladière, in homage to Nice. There are five seasonal starters, five mains and five desserts. Say, Potato cannelloni with mussels, velouté of creamy green curry soup; Pavé of cod with shellfish, fregola sarda, olives, artichoke, a cloud of garlic confit or the house signature La Bouillabaieta, Rouille et croutons. To finish, lemon tart, sorbet citron pastis. Wines are by Grégory Anelka (from €7 glass) and Julia’s second is Sébastien Jean-Joseph.
As for the adorable, welcoming and talented Sendra duo, their restaurant was named for their itinerant lifestyle and that is what they’re doing now. “We already have the concept for a future project in our heads – nothing’s totally written as yet”, they say.
“I want Baieta to be a Côte d’Azur vacation without the hassle of traveling”, says “La cheffe” inspired by her time at “Aphrodite”, Nice, with David Faure.
Next door at 8 rue Poissy – the Sendra’s former Italian Bocca Rossa – “make pasta not war” trat – Julia opens Bô showcasing Caribbean cuisine. Jerk chicken tapas, anyone?
Average spend €50 – €75 – à la carte. Menus €29 € (lunch). Discovery menus €45 (lunch) and €85 (lunch & dinner)
Best table? No. 16.
5, rue de Pontoise, 5th arrondissement. Metro: Maubert-Mutualité. Tel: +33 90)6 27 91 12 62. Closed Sunday and Monday
A neat idea whereby, each month, a celebrity chef is invited to create his “box” of tricks. April’s invité is “nice one” Cyril Lignac. I’m there!
Lead photo credit : The Oenothéque at Chiberta. Photo: Henri Saromsky