Step up to the Plate: 5 Exciting Restaurants for January

Step up to the Plate: 5 Exciting Restaurants for January
Thé à la Française at The Ritz Le Salon Proust, at the recently transformed Ritz Paris, is the chic address for tea created by chef patissier François Perret. The elegant booklined space – dedicated to the writer who called The Ritz his second home – is a savory-free zone with Grand Cru Prestige teas selected exclusively for The Ritz Paris by Singapore based TWG Tea Company: Ritz Earl Grey, Jardin Vendôme (my favorite), L’Hiver au Ritz and Vendôme. Begin with warm ‘madeleines de Proust’. “This is like a meal with amuse-bouches, then ‘mains’ of petits fours, chocolates, cakes, jams, butters and biscuits, and to finish a giant chocolate Madeleine,” explains the amazingly skinny Perret. “I use less sugar, that’s the secret,” he grins. Reservations necessary. 65€ or 85€ with a flute of champagne Barons de Rothschild Réserve Ritz. Note the specially designed Haviland porcelain and discreet presence of a tea sommelier. Post-teatime head to the Ritz Concept Boutique in the Ritz Gallery and buy Ritz Monopoly (86€) to take home and dream of your next visit. Ritz Paris, Salon Proust, 15 place Vendôme, 1st. Metro: Concorde. Tel: 01 43 16 33 74. Daily from 2:30- 6 pm. Café de la Paix Laurent André, the newly appointed Executive Chef at the iconic Café de la Paix, overlooking the Garnier Opera House, hails from the Jura in the east of France and began his culinary career with the late great chef Alain Chapel at Mionnay in the Ain region. “Working by his side I discovered that being a chef requires commitment and humility”, he says. André also sharpened his knives at Le Louis XV, the Michelin 3-star restaurant at Hôtel de Paris (Monaco) and subsequently at La Grande Cascade (Bois de Boulogne) with Jean-Louis Nomicos. For the last seven years you’ve tasted his cuisine at Raffles Le Royal Monceau where La Cuisine and the former Il Carpaccio (now Matsuhisa) were both awarded Michelin stars. “For Café de la Paix I’ll revise and correct the menus presenting a different region every few months – it will be a Tour de France in the heart of Paris”, he explains. Signatures include Foie Gras “Café de la Paix” with quince chutney, apples, raisins and brioche; flash-fried turbot, braised chicory a touch of orange, roasted vegetables, raw leaves, jus; Quenelles Lyonnaise with seasonal vegetables, sauce “Albufera”; Omelette Norvégienne flambéed at the table with Grand Marnier/Vanilla Ice Cream. There’s Sunday Brunch (94€) and Menus from 39-55€ + A La Carte. Café de la Paix, InterContinental Paris Le Grand, 2 rue Scribe, 9th. Metro: Opera. Tel: 01 42 66 12 51   Odette Auberge Urbaine Located in the privately owned newly transformed Maison Albar Hotel (1923) Paris Céline, near Les Halles, this gastronomic project is by Michel Rostang’s delightful daughters Sophie and Caroline in collaboration with Nathalie and Jean-Louis Poiroux, creators of the sublime Cinq Mondes brand and the hotel’s owners, the Albars. So, not only a handy hotel address, but also a great restaurant, spa, pool await. Odette – in hommage to Odette Albar – opens for breakfast (house made granola anyone?!), lunch and dinner. Lunch formula at 22€ plus A La Carte. Chef Yannick Lahopgnou’s (ex-Le Meurice) dishes I enjoyed include: Vegetable and winter fruit Cocotte topped with Richerenches truffles (22€); Egg white omelette (12€); Avocado toasts with chia seeds (12€); Cheese from Martine Dubois (11€) and caramelised Rubinette apples, shizo sorbet (12€) + Le Truc au chocolat and warm madeleines. Try crisp white Viognier de Rosine (Roussaine) from Domaine Stephane Ogier (10€-42€) Odette Auberge Urbaine, 23-25 rue du Pont-Neuf, 1st. Metro: Les Halles/Pont Neuf. Tel: 01 44 88 92 78 Betjeman & Barton at Le 39V  Agnes Defontaine, Directrice Générale of Betjeman & Barton (Tea Merchants in Paris since 1919) and Michelin-starred chef Frédéric Vardon of 39V– the penthouse restaurant located just off the Champs-Elysées– have combined their savoir-faire to create a menu for a special “mets et thés” dinner on Thursday January 26th, 2017 (Tasting menu €150). “It’s all about the flavors,” says the delightful Vardon. “We’ll be serving exceptional and rare teas to match the dishes.” Begin with foie gras amuse bouches and White Nepal Shangri La beetroot infused tea. There’s Green Taiping Houkui with the Marinated Saint-Jacques Scallops from the Bay of the Seine. And aromatic Darjeeling Ambootia Safran to match the Langoustine ravioli. For the main of lightly smoked stuffed Bresse chicken and seasonal root vegetables from Monsieur Riant – Thé Sencha Premium 2016. The comté cheese Grand Reserve is from Monsieur Anthony and paired with Bleu Verte green tea de Coree Oolong Dragon. Add a porcelain tasse of silky Wulong Milkj with the bio-Litchi vanilla dessert. “And voila you can drive home!” add Vardon and Defontaine. Le 39V, 39 Avenue George V, 8th. Metro: George V. Tel: 01 56 62 39 05. Valet Parking Crabe Royal This bar/restaurant was recently launched by Kaspia Group. Decorated by the owner Ramon MacCrohan working with interior designer Thomas Urquijo, the concept’s dedicated to variations on a theme of the giant Alaskan Kamchatka Royal Crab. Xavier Caussade’s menu (Executive chef of Groupe Kaspia formerly at Nobu) includes spring rolls of Crabe Royal – Salmon – Lobster. Crabe Cakes – Crab Burger – Delicious noodles au Crabe Royal good salads. Eat in, take away (lots…

Lead photo credit : Michel Rostang with daughters Sophie and Caroline

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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 !