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During the lockdown in Paris, the French Government closed all non-essential addresses, including restaurants. These are uncertain times, not only for restaurants but also for the diners that love them. In the latest news, cafés, restaurants and bars may reopen at the end of May. We will be sure to publish the date once it’s confirmed. When it’s all over… we’ll party. Here are some restaurants that I tried prior to the closings. We can look forward to dining at them soon.
Following a year of work, rising from the ashes of the Gilets Jaunes attacks, Gilbert and Thierry Costes (Group Beaumarly) have created a restaurant chic, cocktail/oyster/champagne bar… Read: an address that ticks all boxes.
Martin Brudnizki’s décor– with floral, gold leaf, and seashell– includes confidential alcoves for lovers and a terrace for sunny days. Sit back, order a flower-based cocktail (from €9); the playlist pleases as does the menu and the cheerful wait staff.
A few menu examples: Eggs Benedict (€24), Onion soup (€21), Beef tartar (€25), Kale, Quinoa, Avocado, pomegranate (€14), Beetroot & Burrata (€13), Roast cauliflower, condiments, coriander (€14). Mains of simply seared scallops accompany wilted fresh spinach; white butter and lemon caviar sauce enhances the delicate flavor. Love me tender veal chops are roasted with wood mushrooms and dauphine potatoes. For dessert, Bourbon vanilla mille-feuilles with airy vanilla cream. Excellent wine card includes gems such as Château Margaux 2007 (€1600). We sipped Château Belle Assise Coureau, Saint Emilion 2017 (€50/€12).
In the shadow of L’Arc de T. – Les Jardins de P. is a triumph.
Coming up next: The transformation of L’Aventure on avenue Victor Hugo in the 16th.
3, avenue de la Grande Armée, 17th
Metro: Charles de Gaulle, Etoile
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 00 24 77
Sumptuous Sunday Brunch €60
Coming soon: “Le Tea Time”
Open 7/7 from 8am until late
Qasti – Bistrot Libanais
“This is my story,” says a proud Alain Geeam (the chef behind a Michelin * restaurant, rue Lauriston, 16th – L’Auberge Nicolas Famel, 3rd and an eponymous boulangerie). The Lebanese self taught talent whizzes between his addys on a scooter!
For his latest Marais project Geeam transformed MG Road at the angle of rue Saint Martin near the iconic Les Bains-Douches complex.
The walls are decorated with bold blue “Matisse meets the Mediterranean” cut-out collages by Linnea Andersson. How far-sighted to install a beau washstand at the entrance – everyone washes their hands before they’re seated.
“I’m cooking by the season, so there’s no tomato or taboulé at present”, he says.
However, there’s a plentiful choice of dishes, inspired by Geeam’s homeland and his family. The table is soon laden with mezzes, warm focaccia breads, golden olive oil, sumac and zaatar (Lebanese spices), hummus, cauliflower caviar, stuffed vine leaves. Then, slow roasted lamb cocottes and plenty of choice for carnivores and vegetarians. Eat with fingers, or not, make NBFs at the nearby tables. Sit at the bar and watch the world go by.
Do book, it’s small (about 30 covers) it’s buzzing, it’s delicious – you’ll love Qasti, Geeam and, special shout out to restaurant manager Gordana.
205 rue Saint Martin, 3rd
Metro: Etienne Marcel
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 76 04 32
Average spend €21 lunch formula – €42 dinner + liquids
Open 7/7. Bistronomique Beirut style Sunday Brunch (€39)
Just by the Bastille, Corcoran’s Irish Pub is now Rosie, a must-visit neobrasserie. At the helm are Juliette Cerdan and Kevin Caradeuc, school friends, now business partners. “Our concept revives authentic brasserie spirit, à la française,” they explain. “Everything’s l00 percent made in-house by a young brigade (headed by chef Eloi Spinnler, pastry chef Yohann David) using products we sourced on a road trip throughout the Hexagon, before launching Rosie.”
The bright, light, pleasing decor is by British designer John Whelan (Flo-Reims, Julien, Paris) of the Guild of Saint Luke – an affiliation of artists, architects and craftsmen. I wonder who placed the bidet and weighing scale in the ladies loo? Nice touch.
Egg mayo, pâté en croute, ham with sprinkles of Espelette pepper, cromesquis of pork shoulder, rabbit. Add the pretty, generous, homemade sausage and mashed potatoes nicely served with its “nest” of sauce, duck pithiviers and foie gras, parmentier vegetarian pie – the duxelles of mushrooms replace the beef – there’s always a plat du jour. And don’t leave without tasting Yohann’s signature Saint Honoré! Sip Cuvée Rosie (€15/€3.50). From the cocktail menu “Rosie” vodka, vertical infusion of hibiscus, thyme, rose, rose petals, lemon juice. “Everything’s coming up Rosie!”
53 Faubourg Saint Antoine, 11th
Tel: +33 (0)7 49 19 19 62
Average spend from €20
Celebrating 100 years of French caviar production, Prunier (opened on avenue Victor Hugo in 1924) recently launched their “street food” concept and new “Café Prunier” menus for the Victor-Hugo and Madeleine restaurants, while reviving the first ever tin of French Prunier caviar – an homage to Emile Prunier.
Well worth a visit for the magnificent ground floor listed salon created by architect Louis Hippolyte Boileau and designer Léon Carrière in celebration of all things marine – now elegantly revised and corrected in the best possible taste.
Prunier 2020 means more than ever that “la star c’est le caviar” explains chef Filipe Alloin, a young talent who’s mentor is the great Jean-Louis Nomicos. Alloin suggests the delicious Lalos baguette caviar (eat in or take out) with fillings such as mozzarella/mortadella/cream and wild pepper.
At €15 per delicious baguette that won’t break the bank – caviar today is not just for Prunier’s rich and famous clientele – Yves Saint Laurent, Dali, Christian Dior, Alain Prost, Vanessa Paradis, Sophie Marceau, Margaret Kemp! And, ever tasted a caviar cornetto? “Perfect with a glass of Jurançon sec,” suggests Café Prunier director Jorge Carvalho.
16 avenue Victor Hugo, 16th
Metro: Charles de Gaulle, Etoile
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 17 35 85
Closed Sunday – Terrace
Weekday lunch €49. A la carte from €40
Since its creation in 1922, Bœuf Sur Le Toit’s history has been linked to Jean Cocteau and a clan of artists, musicians, poets and painters who gathered there weekly, Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Francis Picabia, Picasso, Erik Satie, later Charles Trenet, Léo Ferré; those evenings became legendary improvised concerts and artistic performances.
Now owned by Benjamin Patou, President of MOMA Group. The new face of BSLT beautifully tweaked by French fashion icon Alexis Mabille. “There are fantastic Art Deco vibes here. We stayed faithful to the initial score placing the artists at the heart of the house. Music Hall awaits but, before the show, the table calls!” he smiles. “And, with the collaboration of chef Jean-Pierre Vigato, Le Bœuf sur le Toit presents the great classics of Parisian brasseries Vigato style.”
“Le Bœuf sur le Toit continually evolves – let’s spend the night together, from bar to restaurant, via the Music Hall, cigar and private lounges,” suggests Alexis Mabille
Chef Vigato (ex-L’Apicius now at Laperouse) sends out warm field leek vinaigrette, fat Burgundy snails; Sole meunière or grilled; Canadian lobster white frothy butter/ saffron rice; Charolais beef tartare or traditional tête de veau (calf’s head) casserole.
As for the Music Hall. “Imagine a place unlike any other in Paris.” Benjamin Patou asked his bestie Patrick Bruel, the French singer-songwriter, actor and professional poker player, to join him in this project.
“Le Bœuf sur le Toit needs a program that lives up to its 1920s heyday,” thinks Bruel. So, there’ll be jazz, pop, stand up, new young talents, etc. Thursday to Saturday nights from 10pm.
34 rue du Colisée, 8th
Metro: Franklin D Roosevelt
Average spend €70
Music Hall – Les Bœufs Musicaux Thurs-Sat from 22hrs
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 93 65 50
Lead photo credit : courtesy of Les Jardins du Presbourg