November 15 2013
The new Paris
Not exactly fine dining in the classic sense of the term, or high-end breweries, a wave of the “neo-gastro” venues have been popping up lately in Paris. The opportunity has arrived to take a new kind of gourmet tour in the city and discover the young talents who don’t hesitate to call upon major designers to create the interiors surrounding their plates.
A funny name for a funny place…Le Sergent recruteur is one of the new flagship addresses of the neo-Parisian gastronomy. Set in the heart of Ile Saint-Louis, chef Antonin Bonnet happily mixes bistro recipes with high-quality products and an added touch of originality that makes them extra special. With a conscious respect for nature, the chef strives to only serve short cuts of meat, fish from the nets of the only fisherman allowed to work on the Loire, home churned butter and vegetables that come directly from restaurant’s garden. A luxury previously reserved for only starred restaurants. It must be said that Antonin Bonnet is accustomed to the best: he was at Bras first, before moving on to Baumaniére and the Greenhouse in London. He was also trained at a very good school, which gives him the ability today to offer dishes that highlight the quintessence of the ingredients. To serve as a backdrop to these treats, Jaime Hayon created a design that was in keeping with the philosophy of the chef. While respecting the history of one of the oldest restaurants in Paris, the Spanish designer mixed furniture, lighting and Aubusson tapestry woven by the textile museum in Amsterdam with masks and vases, all of which are unique pieces created exclusively for Le Sergent recruter. A culinary experience based on the good, the beautiful and the simple.
41, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Isle – Paris IV
The opening of Lazare caused a huge stir: Chef Eric Frechon exited the kitchens of Le Bristol to open a brasserie in the heart of the Gare Saint-Lazare, having already launched the Minipalais at the Grand Palais. In this airy and accessible location, the three-star chef intends to democratize good food and make it available to the masses. Here, he offers authentic and generous home cooking, directly inspired by la tradition Française. True to his Norman origins, Eric Frechon highlights the best products from the region: Dieppe sole, mackerel terrine served with white wine, horseradish sauce and Paris-Deauville, the restaurant’s signature dessert. Those nostalgic for large family tables will love the “grandmothers lunches”, the anti-brunch consisting of dishes served in pots or in large friendly dishes. Conceived as a place in perpetual effervescence, Lazare boasts a warm and elegant décor where striking materials (leather, wood, copper…) occupy a prominent place in the theme. A comfortable space, created by interior designer Karen Lewkowicz.
Rue Intérieure – Paris VIII
In a neighborhood that is not at all lacking in hotspots – even if they do not always live up to their reputation – here we have the “modern brasserie”, the latest venture by Gilbert and Thierry Costes. Known as tastemakers of trends, locations and talent, here the two brothers offer the best of the classics, but with some very strong modern accents. “Beautiful, just and good”, could easily be the official tagline for this place. The best products from the best suppliers are served up by Pascal Lognon-Duval (who was at Le Grand Véfour when it had three stars), under the guidance of Jean-François Trap (formerly of the Crillon, formerly of the Plaza Athénée, and also formerly of three stars). And to serve as a backdrop to this cuisine, a deceptively simple but extremely effective décor by India Mahdavi and studio M/M. Again, the finest materials have been selected to emphasize the radical lines, tempered by soft furnishings in tricolore colors, very à la Française. Upon arrival, the result is highly successful, as much in the setting as it is in form.
The message is clear: here, the sole purpose is to awaken the desire in people to share, exchange and above all, to savor. Currently, the big names in gastronomy are obsessing over the neighborhood of Bastille: Michel Trama, Yannick Alleno, David Toutain, Akrame Benallal, Christopher Hache, Pierre Gagnaire…and as a welcome gift, they offered Thierry Monassier, the founder of Manger, a recipe to compose the menu for the “chefs’ dinner” which is available here every evening. But the originality of the place does not only have an impact on those who are present. Here, at lunch and at dinner, it’s nice to be seated at a table eating excellent food, all while helping people in situations of professional exclusion to reintegrate themselves into society by grace of jobs in the restaurant trade. As for the dishes, Thierry Monassier, who also created the Toques & Partage association, defends the use of ingredients ourced nearby and is on a mission to rehabilitate the strawberries of the Orgeval valley, the cauliflower of Aubervilliers…At the stove, William Pradeleix imagines a cuisine based on the selection of ingredients and taste, thinking about a weekly menu which, for lunch, offers dishes according to different modes of cooking. Manger is also a restaurant designed to delight the eye, courtesy of Marie Deroudilhe. A play of transparencies and contrast, combinations of marble, metal and wood, an overhead glass canopy, and vegetation that divides the space into two areas: the brasserie and its cozy bar and the gourmet restaurant around the open kitchen.
22, rue Keller – Paris XI
Only a few steps from the Louvre, Boeuf à la Mode (hence the name Balm) was created in 1792 before becoming a garage, and then a light shop. Thanks to Pierrick Mathon and his wife Kanya, the place has been restored back to its original vocation. Designed as an “extra room” for guests, Balm is divided into several different areas, like a bright and light living space with huge windows, in materials that combine the mineral and the vegetal, all punctuated by large portraits by Belgian photographer Marc Lagrange and works by Chilean artist Cosmo. In the kitchen, Cyril Arachequesne uses simple ingredients in a cuisine that goes back to the basics and seasonal products. Even though he includes some Thai influences in his recipes, the chef is primarily devoted to highlighting the origins of the produce: fish and shellfish from small fish farms, carefully selected meats, and vegetables from small producers…
6, rue de Valois – Paris I