A Talented New Chef at Le Lulli Restaurant, Palais Royal

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A Talented New Chef at Le Lulli Restaurant, Palais Royal
In The Table Comes First: Family, France and the Meaning of Food, author Adam Gopnik refers to the gustatory experience that began in the years after 1780, in and around a “sort of Parisian strip mall called the Palais Royal.” Today it’s the setting for Le Lulli restaurant, named in homage to the Italian-born musician, instrumentalist and dancer Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) who, like you and me, came to Paris to have a look… and stayed! (He became a French citizen in 1662.) The restaurant is light and bright with decor by Pierre-Yves Rochon. And a talented new chef– Clément Le Norcy– has taken over the kitchens. Lunch (29€-38€) is served in the restaurant, resembling a jardin d’hiver. Dinner (from 29€-60€ + wine), and snacks, are served in the chic and relaxing lounge bar headed by mixologist Maxime Rousseau. “The menu’s not big; I work with seasonal, regional and organic products, and serve according to market availability, so there are five starters, five mains, and dessert,” explains Le Norcy who has worked with François Adamski in Bordeaux with Michel Portos, in the Gironde region, and with Arnold Fay at the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, Chantilly. “No stars yet but we’re rated L’Assiette Michelin 2016,” says the chef. Begin with low temperature egg, parmesan shortbread, watercress coulis; foie gras with mandarin marmalade, creamy white balsamic and almond toasts; or Corn squash soup, popcorn and vegetarian Chili sauce. Add a glass of Chablis 1er cru Montée de Tonnerre, Le Chablisienne 2013 (14€). There’s something for every taste in the mains: Roasted sea bass; Salmon in ginger crust, spinach cannelloni; Thyme marinated lamb, carrot and coriander tajine. Perfect with the peppy red burgundy Giury 1er cru Clos du Cellier aux Moines, Domaine de la Ferte (15€ or 69€). Fish is delivered to Le Lulli’s kitchen door, according to the catch, by Charlie Maquennehan of A La Pêcherie Dieppoise. Cheese comes from Eric Lefebure’s Fromagerie de Paris. Named a Meilleur ouvrier de France (MOF), Eric is a fourth generation cheesemonger, so his ancestors may have supplied Lully & Co. And don’t miss dessert, including Tanzania chocolate, “melty and crunchy”; Exotic caramel or Coffee with mini-pastries. By the way: Lully became the director of the Académie Royale de Musique, that is, the Royal Opera, which performed in the Palais-Royal and between 1673 and 1687 produced a new opera annually. And, as for Adam Gopnik, he comes to the conclusion that “what matters most isn’t what goes on the table, it’s what gathers around it: family, friends, lovers and conversation.” Get A Room: The Grand Hotel has recently joined Small Luxury Hotels. There are 68 rooms and two suites, The Palais Royal and Le Panoramic– with breathtaking views as far as Montmartre. You can check in any time you like, but I guarantee you will never want to leave! Pick up a copy of the recently published Paris Coté Palais Royal, a beautiful black and white souvenir album by photographer Thierry Dourdet, available exclusively at the hotel (40€). Le Lulli, Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, 4 rue de Valois, 75001. Metro: Palais Royal Musée du Louvre, Tel: +33 (0)1 42 96 72 20. Open for lunch from Monday-Friday.
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Lead photo credit : Le Lulli restaurant, courtesy of Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

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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 It.com, 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 !