The prospect of a chef’s umpteenth restaurant opening can make one feel weary – even coming from a great chef like Yannick Alléno, with three Michelin stars for his work at Le Meurice, here claiming to cook food from the ‘local’ Parisian terroir. But in this case, such weariness would be unjustified.
Instead, in this modern bistro designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, you’ll find one of the best ideas in Paris’s recent restaurant history. Simply, it offers historic Parisian recipes, cooked using products from small regional producers – sweet peppers with vinaigrette, Crécy vegetable soup, croque-monsieur, eggs with tripe, gratinée des Halles, whiting from Bercy. It’s a simple idea, but one requiring an enormous labour of sourcing and selection, even rehabilitation of near-forgotten culinary heritage. So the menu, written on immense boards set on the walls, reads like a list of ingredients from one of Jacques Dutronc’s fantasy kitchen gardens: Argenteuil asaparagus, Milly-la-Forêt peppermint, Montreuil peaches, Arpajon green beans.
All this find its way into solidly-built dishes, where the rough and ready of the suburbs rubs up against the chic of the beaux quartiers; where Gilles Veront brawn meets a Gatinais carrot fondant with saffron. And don’t miss the crowning glory – not exactly Parisian, but wildly successful – a cone of shoestring chips, crispy and soft and devilishly good (€4).
A tip: if you go alone or as a couple, reserve one of the 14 seats at the bar. The views out of the windows and through into the glassed-in kitchen tempt your eye and your palate, as if you were leaning on an ever so slightly more chic version of a neighbourhood bar.
This restaurant serves one of Time Out's 50 best dishes in Paris. Click here to see the full list.