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With shiny good looks, charming wait staff and imaginative dishes, Richer is a hip café serving lunch and coffee by day, becoming a bustling candlelit hotspot serving gourmet dishes by night. The glass-fronted, two-room restaurant doesn’t take reservations and is overrun at mealtimes, equalling the popularity of Charles Compagnon’s other venues L'Office and 52 Faubourg Saint-Denis.
With artwork-laden white stone walls, leather benches, glossy tables and mirrors, the décor is simple and sleek. A concise menu offers three options for each course, while the wine list seems unending. On the plate, everything is diced, sliced or cubed and carefully arranged. For starters we tried the soft braised pork belly wrapped in cabbage and kale and sweetened with clementine sections, and the fish soup with cuttlefish confit, a rouille sauce and thin slices of Ratte potato. Main courses were a tender maigre fish confit on a bed of mushrooms oozing flavour, squash mash and sweet pumpkin pieces dotted with crisp roast hazelnuts and moistened with a sauce vierge. To highlight the fish, a light and fruity glass of 2013 unfiltered Greek Sclavus wine from Cephalonia. Another main, veal confit, came beautifully presented with artichokes, pink lentils, risotto and cheese cromesquis.
The desserts are a delightful play on textures and temperatures, from the chocolate cream-filled wafer cigar on a bed of crisp chocolate granules, softened with pieces of candied pear and honey ice cream, to the meringue shell with coconut ice cream and a redcurrant jam with roasted hazelnuts.
Richer is the place for fashionable, upmarket dining without too much fuss, where the service, food and drinks come together perfectly. By 8pm there’s a queue forming in the doorway – so if you can’t get there early, be prepared to wait a while and pass the time with a glass of wine in hand.