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March 2015 – French Savoir-Faire

Restaurant L'Abeille, Shangri-La, Paris © Shangri-La

New year for the Shangri-La “L’Abeille”

By Laurence Gounel

The departure of Phillippe Labbé exploded like a small bomb, disturbing the rhythm of chefs everywhere at the end of 2014, particularly amateur cooks at the Shangri-La in Paris. And then…nothing. Silence descends for several weeks…until the arrival of Christophe Moret, who comes straight from chez Lasserre. Originally a ‘student’ of Bruno Cirino and Jacques Maximin, then a pupil of Alain Ducasse, with whom he opened the Spoon Paris in 1998, before he them moved onto Plaza Athénée. The grandson of market gardeners originally from Loiret, it is hardly surprising that the pathway that he has carved out for himself leans towards vegan cuisine…and if you try ‘the best herbaceous tofu from our market gardeners’, it is definitely not boring. This is a case of product for product, with all the gardeners’ poetry on the plate. Perfected by a chef’s composition work. Without any tricks or trivialities. And yet, this does not prevent inventiveness in terms of style, cooking from outside sources (perhaps from his Ducassienne years?), especially when serving yellow Pollock covered in yoghurt, piping-hot sea-bass, Einkorn with cocoa milk and glazed shoulder of lamb…in other words, a new chef means new customs. Carved by the head waiter/hotel manager in the dining room, this is a wonderful ‘old school’ cooking experience. Interspersed with little folklore treats that take nothing away from the delectable taste, if not adding more to it. We absolutely loved tasting the juice of each course under giant cloches, before every mouthful. And to finish? Cheese AND dessert. Two courses that you would be mad to miss. Firstly because the trolley of the former, hidden beneath a cloche, is a visual spectacle. And secondly because pastry-chef, François Perret, embodies one of the most talented figures in contemporary pastry-making. His chocolate “Java” Sura, worked through a minimalist tube, is the highlight of this unique experience.
Gastronomic restaurant “L’Abeille”,
Shangri-La Hotel, Paris.

 Shangri-La, Paris © PLUME

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