Five for February: Restaurants to Try in Paris

Five for February: Restaurants to Try in Paris
Tomy & Co Launching Tomy (&Co) on a quiet Left Bank street near Les Invalides, Tomy Gousset explains is a natural evolution to his culinary career. Since graduating from École Grégoire-Ferrandi — one of France’s leading professional training schools — he worked with super chefs Alain Solivérès at Taillevent, Yannick Alléno at Le Meurice, and Daniel Boulud at Daniel NYC. He was, until recently, Head Chef at the popular Restaurant Pirouette (Les Halles district). Try Tomy&Co’s version of Tête de veau gribiche; Pigeon from the Pornic region, roasted abats (organ meats) and cuisse confite (drumsticks cooked in their own fat). Dessert’s a variation on cheesecake, made to chef’s recipe from Ossau-Iraty – a Franco-Basque ewe’s cheese – topped with dense house made black cherry compôte. Some ingredients come direct from Tomy’s vegetable garden at Château de Courances. The bright interior of the 50-seater space is designed by architect Richard Lafond using raw natural woods and the designer’s signature shades of grey. On the walls, graffiti winks to tattoo art that fascinates the chef. Lunch is priced from €25-45€. Dinner menus are €45 & €65 with wine pairing. Note: Sweet Valentine Dinner 95€ includes a flute of champagne. 22 rue Surcouf, 7th. Metro: La Tour Maubourg. Tel: 01 45 51 46 93. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Web: Reservations by e-mail: [email protected] L’Office Charles Compagnon’s Bib-Gourmand pocket-sized neo-bistro and bar is a sequin’s throw from Les Folies Bergère. In this informal, relaxed atmosphere, make NBFs (new best friends) while seated elbow-to-elbow. The cuisine changes with the rhythm of the market and the seasons: vegetables from Courances, coquillages from Jean-Pierre at Croisic, fish from Mathieu de Concarneau, boldly interpreted by Benjamin Schmitt (formerly in Berlin and at Le Meurice with Yannick Alléno). Choose from three starters, three mains, three desserts. From the interesting list choose, say, White Burgundy Aligoté Domaine Paul Pillot 2014 (€30) Glass of rosé (€5.50) Red Morgon Côte du Py Jean-Marc Burgaud 2014 and why not sip a glass of 20-year Calvados Dupont (€16) or eau-de-vie Mirabelle de Nancy (€14), very civilised my dear. Oh la la ! Lunch €31-€38 Dinner Discovery Menu €60 or €78-€84 with wine pairings. The Menu du Marché is priced at 45€. 3 rue Richer, 9th. Metro: Notre Dame de Lorette. Tel: 01 47 70 67 31. Closed Saturdays and Sundays. Web: Restaurant Jean Minutes from Gare du Nord, Jean-Frédéric Guidoni’s Chez Jean is an elegant reflection of his home and lifestyle. Step into his country manor house and order a cocktail maison while reading the menu (Lunch 31€-€38; Discovery Menu Dinner 60€-€78-€84 with wine pairings; Menu du Marché €45 or A La Carte about €57 + wine). Hard to believe that the youthful looking Guidoni, who speaks perfect English, was Maître d’hotel at the Parisian institution Taillevent for 20 years, helping to set up Château Taillevent, Tokyo, and also with Alain Senderens at Lucas Carton. Married to Delphine, a talented artist whose work, with revised and corrected pieces bought in Normandy, punctuate the restaurant. “We met chez Taillevent, Delphine was the receptionist,” he reveals. Since April 2016, young (26) Executive chef Mickaël Poyault has headed Jean’s kitchen. He’s sharpened his knives at top addresses such as Fauchon, Mandarin Oriental and Garance, with the two Guillaumes – Iskander the chef and Muller the manager/sommelier. Poyault– who listens to rap while creating, say, foie gras, haddock, cabbage and beer/ Chicken, apple and forgotten vegetables/Mackeral, watercress, olive, kiwi– rocks extraordinary technique, combining flavors and textures with audacity, provocative, yes, with perfect balance. His vegetables come from Guidoni’s Normandy garden. The wine list reads, and reflects, Guidoni’s incredible savoir-faire. Note: Multi course Saint Valentine’s dinner €90 or €150 with wine pairings 8 rue Saint-Lazare, 9th. Metro: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. Tel: 01 48 78 62 73. Closed Saturdays and Sundays. Website:  Le Bœuf Sur Le Toit (There will be fish…) From 22nd February until the 31st March, Bœuf Sur Le Toit presents “Lacs et Rivières” when the culinary spotlight shines on fish. Not only the seafood stand that fronts the restaurant (to take away as well) but beautifully prepared freshwater fish from French lakes transformed by young chef Nicolas Jollivet and his enthusiastic team. Begin with a tasting of Savoy region smoked trout : Dombes carp tartare and Loire Valley smoked eel (17€ 90) matched with Crozes Hermitage Vallée du Rhône White AOC Les Jalets 2015 from Domaine Paul Jaboulet Ainé (€37 or €6.50 glass). For the main, it’s fun to think what Coco Chanel, Cocteau or Picabia (former regulars at this Art Deco brasserie) would have chosen or would they be begging for beef! I don’t think so, once they’d tasted the perfect plancha grilled Omble Chevalier trout with sorrel butter, vialone Italian nano noir risotto and buttery root vegetables (€22.90) or the chunk of flash fried dos de sandre (pike-perch) with crunchy épeautre (spelt) de Provence, green asparagus and tuna belly chips (€24.90). Hard to ignore the salmon façon meunière with almonds and potato purée (€27.90). Desserts (from €4-€13.50) include warm confit citrus soufflé with crunchy choux pastry and pressed orange sorbet. Worth noting: Valentine’s Menu Tendresse €65 + wine not an imposed menu, lots of choices. Book ahead – enjoy! 34, rue du Colisée, 8th. Metro: Saint Philippe de Roule/Franklin D. Roosevelt. Tel: 01 53 93 65 55. Open 7/7. Web: Tavline Translates as spices in Hebrew….

Lead photo credit : The "dos de sandre" dish. Photo: Studio Isalan

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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 !