Le Sergent Recruteur
Add: 41 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris
Tel: 01 43 54 75 42
Hours: [Tue-Sat] 12:30~13:45pm, 7:30~9:45pm (closed Sun & Mon)
Price: [lunch] €75 [dinner] €95 or €145
Tasted on: Mar 2014
We were looking for a casual dinner place near Île Saint-Louis, and as a half-hearted last-minute decision, I made a reservation at Le Sergent Recruteur, vaguely remembering good reviews about this restaurant. Upon entering, we quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be a simple evening – the decor, the service, and the ambience were all a bit too posh to be called casual. As dishes began appearing on our table before we even set eyes on a menu, we found out that the whole affair was going to be “carte blanche”, and what’s more, the restaurant has recently been awarded one Michelin star in the newest 2014 guide. Well then…
For those who aren’t already familiar with “carte blanche”, the idea is that the chef will design a no-choice tasting menu that best showcases his cooking. Handling the kitchen at Le Sergent Recruteur is chef Antonin Bonnet, who previously trained under the famed Michel Bras. As we were to discover throughout the evening, his cooking style is light and fresh, focusing on coaxing the best out of his carefully sourced ingredients.
Price-wise, the carte blanche lunch is set at €75, and dinner €95 or €145 depending on the number of dishes. Our €145 menu, which turned out to be an elaborate meal filled with many pleasantly surprises, commenced with crème de panais et radis de la ferme, pétales de Paquerettes - parsnip cream with farm radish and daisy petals.
Jus de pamplemousse, pomme, carotte, orange, citron et gingembre - juice of grapefruit, apple, carrot, orange, lemon, and ginger.
Add: 60 rue du Faubourg Poissonière, 75010 Paris
Tel: 01 42 46 10 45
Hours: [Tue-Sat] 12~7pm
Price: €3.50~6.50/individual pastries, €120 or 260/pastry lesson
Tasted on: Mar 2014
Christophe Michalak, the head pastry chef at Plaza Athénée since 2000 (and until the luxury hotel went under renovation at the end of last year), is one of the top high profile pastry chefs in France. He has published a dozens of recipe books, hosted “Le gâteau de mes rêves” on Teva, been the judge on “Qui sera le prochain grand pâtissier“, yadi yadi yada. Naturally, he generated quite a buzz with the opening of his very own Michalak Masterclass in September 2013, a combination of pastry boutique, atelier, and classroom. This cool video is its best intro, do watch it.
The boutique area itself is quite small, with a concise display of pastries at the counter. What you can find: Les Fantastiks (an in-between of tart and cake, freshly made in the morning using seasonal products), Les Kosmiks (verrines in various flavors, more on this later), Konfifruits (confiture), and a few other miscellaneous products (even branded pencils and badges).
Here is a sneak peek of the atelier space. Sleek, isn’t it? The classrooms are upstairs so I didn’t get a chance to see them, but the pictures on Masterclass’ website are certainly looking very nice. It costs quite a fortune to attend one of these classes though, with the regular lesson priced at €120, and a Michalak lesson priced at €260 – but hey, that’s what you’ve got to pay for some private face time with a celebrity.
Add: 1 Rue d’Eupatoria, 75020 Paris
Tel: 9 53 56 24 14
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 8~11:30pm
Price: €45~82/set menu
Tasted on: Feb 2014
A tiny little bistro in the 20th arrondissement. Wooden furniture, white washed and bare brick walls, dim lighting supplemented with candles – the ambience is cozy romantic with a small dose of hip. The two chefs in the kitchen, American-born UK-raised Michael Greenwold and Italian Simone Tondo, were previously at Le Chateaubriand and Rino (among others), and together they whip up some refreshing flavors that pleasantly surprise the palate.
Add: 60, rue des Écoles, 75005 Paris
Tel: 01 40 51 89 09
Hours: [Tue-Sat] 9am~6pm [Sun] 10am~6pm
Price: €3~5/coffee, €3~5/pastry, €5~16/soups & plates
Tasted on: Feb 2014
Coutume Cafe installed itself inside the Finland Institute, located right at the heart of Latin Quarter in the 5th. Lofted space, plenty of natural night, free wifi, and a quiet ambience makes this a perfect place for working/studying. Pastries? Yes. Light bites? Yes. Good coffee? But of course.
Add: 5 Rue Mondétour, 75001 Paris
Tel: 01 40 26 47 81
Hours: 12~2pm, 7:30~10:30pm (closed on Sunday)
Price: [lunch set] €18 [3-course menu] €40 [tasting menu] €60
Tasted on: Feb 2014
Pirouette: a bright and airy space with light-hearted cuisine to match – a perfect lunch spot.
Lofted ceiling, blonde wood furniture, an abundance of natural light streaming in from large windows.
Add: 54 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
Tel: 01 43 54 34 50
Hours: 12~11pm (open daily)
Price: [lunch] €23~33 [dinner] €35~45/person
Visited on: Feb 2014
Semilla, a contemporary bistro by MOF Eric Trochon and his brigade of Ferrandi graduates, sits right in the heart of St. Germain-des-Pres. The renovated interior is modern but not overly edgy, its focal point being the gleaming open kitchen and its team of cuisiniers, who slices and sears and plates with a composed hustle and bustle. The atmosphere was so attractive that I wished I could get on the inside and partake in whatever they were doing there, too!
Next time, I’d like to sit here, right in front of the kitchen.
On another note, cute wall drawings.
A sunny afternoon on top of Notre-Dame.
Le Tour Eiffel, view from the terrace of Galeries Lafayette.
Sky on fire, in Le Marais.
Add: 39 rue des Vinagriers, 75010 Paris
Tel: 01 42 05 51 76
Hours: [Mon-Sat] 7:30pm~8:30pm (closed on Sun)
Visited on: Jan 2014
Liberté, a pâtisserie boulangerie by Benoît Castel (ex-Le Grand Épicerie a.k.a. my favorite food hall in Paris), opened two months ago in the Canal St. Martin neighborhood. With its lofted ceiling, unpolished cement walls, sleek marble counter, and completely open kitchen, Liberté is refreshingly different from the typical French bakery. Two other pleasant surprises include the relatively low prices and super friendly store staff, who carry lots of smiles and are happy to explain the details of each pastry. Double thumbs up.
Les Fées Pâtissières
Add: 21 rue rambuteau, 75004 paris
Tel: 01 42 77 42 15
Hours: [Tue-Sun] 10am~8pm (closed on Monday)
Visited on: Jan 2014
Les Fées Pâtissières may seem like a cupcake shop at first glance, but it’s much more than that. Conceived by Déborah Lévy and Sarah Harb, two French women who have been passionate about pastries since at a young age, Les Fées Pâtissières is a creative concept that reinvents traditional French pastries into something lighter, smaller, and ultra chic. Each creation here is truly as much a feast for the eyes as is for the taste buds.
Managing the kitchen is pastry chef Eddie Benghanem, previously at Trianon Palace and the Ritz Hotel. Realizing the vision of Déborah and Sarah, he transforms the traditional baba, tarte au citron, religieuse, Saint Honoré, and Paris Brest into mini-sized pastries that are just irresistibly adorable.
Add: 74 rue des Archives, 75003
Tel: 01 42 77 23 62
Hours: [Wed-Fri] 3~11pm [Sat-Sun] 12pm~12am
Price: [dessert menu] €19~36
Visited on: Jan 2013
Dessance, Paris’ first gastronomic dessert bar, opened quietly about 4 weeks ago. I say “quietly” because until very recently, I could barely find any information about it on the internet. Curious, I dropped by on a Saturday afternoon with Lindsay to find out what it’s about.
The two-floor space consists of a bar+open kitchen on the right as you enter, and about ten tables on the left and up on the mezzanine.
Right behind the bar is pastry chef Christophe Boucher, previously at Ledoyen (three Michelin stars) and Le Grand Véfour (two Michelin stars).
There are two menus to choose from. The smaller menu (€19) includes a mise en bouche, a dessert of choice, and mignardises. The larger “carte blanche” menu (€36) includes a mise en bouche, 4 desserts at the chef’s choice, and mignardises. Thirsty? Non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage pairing available at additional prices. There are also two savory options for those who need a bit of salt to balance out the sugar.