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The former Sicilian cantina at Porte Maillot (“Convivium”) is now chef Ugo Ghion’s domain and he’s getting rave reviews from the likes of Gilles Pudlowski, Paris Match, Le Figaro newspaper and L’Express.
La Table d’Ugo is located on the avenue dedicated to U.S. Army General John J. Pershing (1860-1948) who commanded the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe during World War I.
Young talent Ugo Ghion, is in command of his first restaurant, La Table d’Ugo, on the late general’s eponymous boulevard near Porte Maillot, “behind the Palais de Congrés and next door to Monceau Fleurs”, says the grump in the newspaper kiosque when I ask directions.
“The menu changes almost daily; I only work with fresh products and make everything myself,” explains Ugo, with a passionate gleam in his beautiful brown eyes. He’s self taught and has tapped into the zeitgeist of the greats working at Ledoyen with Christian Lesquer, at Laurent with Alain Pegouret and Citrus Etoile with Gilles Epié.
Today we began with salmon, smoked by Ugo in his kitchen, thick tender chunks, on a bed of warm herbed diced potato, drizzled with balsamic. Fabien chooses the cool cucumber tartare à la greque, gazpacho of tomatoes, perfect with a glass of Lalande de Pommerol Chevalier d’Haurange 2009 (14€). Then swordfish squares sitting on crunchy, spicy, fresh vegetables and, for Fabien, Beef Rossini, smoked then grilled, red wine jus, asparagus, ratte potato purée, perfectly pink, perfectly cooked and presented. A bottle of Costières de Nimes, Mourges du Gres, Galets Rouges 2012 (30€). Dessert for me: Strawberries Gariguette, rhubarb, yuzu, fromage blanc sorbet. Layered raspberry sablé, creamy raspberry sorbet, which Fabien says is fab. But I don’t get a taste!
Lots of Damien Hirst style coloured dots make Ugo’s dishes rather art-centric. Fabien wishes Ugo would loosen up a bit and go for it. “He has such potential but he’s playing it safe”, was the writer, philosopher and wine aficionado’s opinion. Ugo grins. “I will, I will, I’ve only just begun!”
After the war, Pershing served as army chief of staff from 1921 to 1924. At La Table d’Ugo, at present, it’s Monsieur Eddie serving in the salle. Take his advice on the excellent French wines; he speaks perfect English.
Here’s a showcase for all that is good in French cuisine and products, created by a young talent with a great future. You read it here first.
La Table d’Ugo, Produits de la Ferme & de la Mer, 3 Boulevard Pershing, 75017. Metro: Porte Maillot. Tel: 01 45 72 56 56. Small terrace – Valet Parking. Closed Saturday night & Sunday. Lunch 26€ + wine; Dinner 39€; 6 course Tasting Menu 60€. Dinner A La Carte Average Spend 50€ with wine
Lead photo credit : La Table d'Ugo/ Photographer Francoise Dorelli