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This week, in a moving ceremony at The Cristal Room, Musée Baccarat, Guy Martin chef/owner of Le Grand Vefour received “Officier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur”. Presenting him with his red ribboned medal Joseph Olivereau, President d’Honneur of Relais & Chateaux, said he doesn’t know how Guy Martin manages 5 restaurants, travels, authors books, skis, and still dreams of being Mick Jagger!” Receiving the award, with a smile and a tear, Guy Martin said he was dashing back to his kitchen for the evening service and, no he wasn’t planning to pin his medal on his whites, “that would be disrespectful to the history of the Legion d’Honneur”, he thought.
Provenҫe born Flora Mikula learned to cook from her grandmother, chose a career as a chef so she could travel the world.
After New York, London and Italy, returning to France, Flora met and married Raphael Peraud while they were working for Alain Passard at Arpége, Paris. Together they launched the left-bank bistro “Les Olivades”, dedicated to Provenҫal cuisine and, by this time, Flora was hailed as one of Europe’s top women chefs.
Their culinary evolution followed with “Les Saveurs de Flora” in Paris’s posh “Golden Triangle” off the Champs Elysées. “But, we always talked of opening our own urban auberge, to express our personalities”, explains Flora.
Having sold “Les Saveurs” the couple took time-out to find the perfect address, which they found in the Bastille area. “Auberge de Flora” just launched and, it’s “ze place to be”.
Together with Flora, interior architects Simone&hug renovated a crumbling three story former hotel. There’s bright contemporary décor throughout the 21 rooms which showcase precious pieces, chtochkes and fabrics from Flora’s world travels. Vegetables grow in the window-boxes and she’s proud of the super-comfy beds in each category of room. “The same as Sofitel”.
On the ground floor the airy 30-seater brasserie nas a terrace and semi-open kitchen. “The accent’s on Mediterranean dishes with a modern spin, served all day, every day”, says Flora.
Worth going for the: Sablé au thym, légumes grillé, burrata fondue. A flute of Auberge Flora champagne (5€) Thierry Breton’s crusty bread at lunch, olive bread by Flora at dinner. Le foie-gras mi-cuit chutney mangue. The dishes of the day, say, Suprème de Pintade farcie au chèvre, galette de Polenta aux olives. Book well ahead and enjoy being chez Flora, don’t miss the local markets Aligré (daily except Monday) and Richard Lenoir (Sunday & Thursday).
Auberge de Flora,
44 boulevard Richard Lenoir 11th
T: 01 47 00 52 77
Average spend 25€ + tapas/ wine
Rooms about 100€ + breakfast 12€
At Le Dali restaurant, named for Salvador (and approved by his family) who spent one month a year at Le Meurice often dangling live lobsters from his suite above rue de Rivoli.
Bernadette Chirac always sits, surrealistically, with her back to the room, but there’s no doubt it’s the former first lady. Thierry Ardisson has his favourite table, as do Vincent Lindon, Harrison Ford, Brangelina etc.
Le Dali brasserie launched in 2007 with stunning ceiling décor by Ara Starck and a little help from papa. To mark five years of an exceptional address, chef Yannick Alleno has re-worked the menu and created “Cuisine de Palace”, read modern French favourites, based on the classics.
Begin with a few exquisite antipasti a “speck” of delicatessan then: Grilled aubergine, mozza and shrimp “au pistou”: Blue lobster salad with coral: Tomato and Basil salad, and, for the ladies who do, Lettuce heart and green asparague with duck foie gras shavings. Scrambled eggs and salmon: Club sandwich: Bouillabaisse:
Mains include Salmon lasagna with sorrel: Roasted quail: Black Angus rib steak and The New York Times “The Best Burger in Town”. Drink wines by the glass, ask chef sommelier Estelle Touzet, and also check out her wine tastings “Les Nocturnes du 228”.
Desserts by Camille Lesecq (Pastry Chef of the Year 2010) are epic. His variations on the classics are displayed in “L’Armoire Patisserie” (just near where Mme Chirac sits) because they do “Tea-Time” at Le Dali as well. Saint-Honoré Rivoli-style. Dacquoise, Lemon Meringue Tart, Roasted rhubarb, vanilla, rosemary infused panacotta.
I wonder which table Dali would insist on? Probably near the door, Babou, the pet ocelot, may need the space. And certainly Dali would approve of the the VIP service at the hotel, Very Important Pet that is, in hommage to the hotel workers who, in 1905, befriended a stray greyhound who became Le Meurice’s mascot. So, if you take your hound to the hotel expect a tag and bowl engraved with its’ name, toys, and walkies with the groom in the Tuileries while you do lunch back to back with the stars. Rover’ll sleep as well as you in his Dali inspired haute couture faux-fur trimmed “The Sofa O”. Oh My Dog!
Le Dali at Hôtel Meurice,
228, rue de Rivoli, 1
T: 01 44 58 10 75
Just a few minutes from Pont de Sevres, Paris, Les Etangs de Corot is a chic mini-resort, ideal for a weekend, almost without going anywhere!
There are 3 suites, 41 rooms, three restaurants, a Caudalie Vinotherapie spa, the possibility to ride bikes, walk through the lush forest des Fausses-Reposes (circa 1684) or visit nearby Versaille to take in the new summer exhibition created by Joana Vasconcelos, “la bomba latina”.
If you go marketing at Versailles on Tuesday, Friday or Sunday you may run into La Rochelle born Rémi Chambard, new young toque in charge of Les Etang’s kitchens. His formation is impressive, le Royal Barrière, Deauville, l’Hotel du Palais, Biarritz with Didier Anies at Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat and Nicolas Masse at Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux, small wonder then that chef is as talented as his namesake in Ratatouille! He’s cooking to rave reviews.
In summer gaze across the lovely lake as lunch and dinner are served at Les Paillottes, an authentic guinguette mounted on stilts: Starters include: Pressé de foie gras et jarret de veau, chutney d’ananas/Escabèche de rouget safrané, salade de fenouil/ Gaspacho de poivrons grillés/ Découpe de jambon Pata Negra, salade et copeaux d’Ossau Iraty/ Burrata, tout simplement/ Assiette de mesclun bio, matched with the delicious floral white Les Hauts de Smith 2010 (9€ glass 55€ bottle).
Note: Robert Parker awarded 100/100 for the 2009 Smith Lafitte, Grand Cru Classé de Graves so sip a glass of red Les Hauts de Smith 2009 and choose a main from:
Filet de boeuf rôti, thick frites de polenta, marmelade de tomates, roquette/ Suprême de poulet fermier, risotto carnaroli aux petits pois, citron/ Turbot à la plancha, pâtes à l’encre de seiche, carottes onctueuses/ Plump homard entier au basilic, asperges vertes, Remi’s hollandaise/ a little cheese; finish with desserts by patissier Sebastian Reul, his light and luscious seasonal creations include: Assiette de fruits des bois au fil de la saison, crème fermière/Sablé breton, crème légère citron vert meringuée/Tiramisu, biscuit mendiant, crème anglaise. Miam!
Need to get away for a breath of fresh air, look no further, it’s right here at:
Les Paillottes, L’Etangs de Corot,
55 r ue de Versailles 92410 Ville d’Avray
Open from Friday lunch until Sunday Dinner
Friday and Saturday nights & Sunday lunch there’s live jazz
T. 01 41 15 37 00
Average Spend about 60€ for 3 courses + wine
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