A restaurant called Pirouette suggests both deft maneuvering and a dash of panache. Set in a secluded little courtyard behind the concrete mess of Les Halles in the 1st arrondissement, the stage set for the meal is immediately promising, so shiny new behind its huge plate glass window that the first thing you notice as you walk in is the fresh smell of the wood pannelling. So, with a swift arabesque, to the menu, which includes a formule for a mere €36. We started with a perfect coddled egg on a bed of greens, over which a subtle mushroom and chestnut was poured at the table, and the ‘alouette sans tête’ (headless lark), a fanciful name for a ‘paupiette’ (stuffed piece of meat) of pigeon and foie gras enriched with lardo di Colonnata.
Then a cabriole leap into the mains – a lovely piece of mullet with salsify and meat gravy, and beautifully tender and pink pigeon royale with a delicate foie gras sauce. Down into the final plié and dessert, with a delicate mango tart and a salty Ossau Iraty sheep’s cheese presented as a cheesecake and topped with a black cherry compôte. All in all, a round of applause for the chef (Tommy Gousset, trained in some of the city’s best kitchens), the excellent wine list, and the company overall for an elegant, affordable whole (the lunchtime menu is even better at €15).