I was lucky enough to be recently invited for an evening at this fashionable restaurant in one of the most sought-after districts of Paris. After a warm welcome from the numerous staff, I found the other guests (French, Dutch and German people were around the table that night) enjoying a round of drinks. I accepted a glass of Puligny-Montrachet, which proved to be excellent after it had had the chance to warm up a bit (I have found it is quite common for restaurants to serve white wine too cold and red wine too hot). While everybody was perusing the menu, I looked at the surroundings of elegant decoration and understated luxury – this is certainly not a place where you will be expected to sit within inches of the next table’s diners, as is often the case in Paris. After a rather tasty array of amuse-bouches, the food arrived. I had gone for abalone with a red pepper chutney and disappointment started to sink in: the taste of the sea food was overshadowed by the chutney, which tasted frankly unrefined to me, with the wrong balance of seasoning and herbs reminiscent of tinned food. The Puligny, however, still proved eminently quaffable, as did the red 2001 Hermitage “Petite Chapelle” from Jaboulet I had chosen from the impressive (but overpriced) winelist: at €155 a bottle, this mature Hermitage seemed to make a lot more sense than the recent Côte-Rotie at the same price. Other Rhône valley wines under €100 may prove a good option, such as Stéphane Montez’s Saint Joseph. I was back on the Puligny for my main of veal sweetbread cooked with seaweed butter, which proved equally disappointing, as the richness of the sweetbread was not counterbalanced by any sharper ingredients. Perhaps I was a little biased by this point, but I was also not taken by the cheese. I left after a pre-dessert amuse-bouche and a (also disappointing) coffee, but I have to admit the desserts looked good (as experienced with Ferret on one occasion for tea).
On the whole, for a Michelin-starred restaurant in one of the most prestigious hotel chains, I would say this restaurant fails to deliver, especially at the rarefied level of prices it commands (at least €300 for two). My boss, a regular, agrees, while a collaborator, who was lucky enough to enjoy a romantic dinner there, told me she had never experienced food this nice. Given the prices involved, and unless you happen to be staying at this hotel or enjoy celebrity spotting, I would not even recommend trying to find out who was right: there are plenty of other options to enjoy a quiet and luxurious night in this area of Paris, such as for instance the restaurant at the nearby hotel Scribe, managed brilliantly by Sofitel.
- 5 rue de la Paix 75002 Paris
- +33 1 58 71 10 60