Words John Brunton
La Dame de Pic
Crowned the World’s Best Female Chef, and only the fourth woman ever to have earned three Michelin stars (for her flagship restaurant in Valence), Anne-Sophie Pic is the doyenne of the hottest new opening in Paris for years. La Dame de Pic (Queen of Spades), her elegant restaurant just by the Louvre, is the toughest place to get a reservation right now. The concept took Parisian gourmets by surprise, as Pic collaborates with the ‘nose’ of Japanese perfume, Takasago, to create tasting menus based on fragrances, with dishes like warm oysters with a cream of cauliflower and jasmine, or a to-die-for ‘baba au rhum’ paired with passion fruit, ginger and vanilla.
20 Rue du Louvre, 75001, enq 00 33 142604040, ladamedepic.fr
Fashion folk heading for the fabulous vintage stalls in Clignancourt flea markets now have the perfect rendezvous for a chic lunch - Philippe Starck’s latest creation, Ma Cocotte. This huge, canteen-like space is decorated in classic Starck style, mixing 1950s’ bistrot-chic with ultra-modern design, and, of course, lots of treasures the designer has picked up in the market itself. Rather than innovative cuisine, the menu is a tempting list of brasserie favourites, using fresh organic products where possible. So, after a hard day’s bargaining, shoppers can recover with home-made pâté, a hearty steak frites or hachis parmentier (French shepherd’s pie), and then indulge in a mousse au chocolat.
106 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen, enq 00 33 149517000, macocotte-lespuces.com
Chef Frédéric Vardon is one of the rising stars of France’s gastronomic scene. A trusted lieutenant of Alain Ducasse for many years, he made his name first with the swish 39V, a gourmet penthouse diner just off the Champs-Élysées, where he quickly picked up a Michelin star, and has now opened the more down-to-earth Zinc, just by the Garnier Opera House. While the decor is very glittering modern-brasserie, the cuisine is inspired by old-fashioned recipes with a creative twist, such as succulent free-range chicken slowly braised beneath a cheese and macaroni gratin, delicious ‘crozets’ pasta smothered with smoked ham and fragrant truffle shavings, or scallops, spinach and shellfish with a traditional dieppoise sauce. Ski fans should note the chef has also opened Le Zinc des Neiges in the upscale resort of Courchevel.
8 Rue de Hanovre, 75002, enq 00 33 142655895, zinc-opera.com
It makes a change to see a celebrity chef actually working away in the kitchen, but fiesty Flora Mikula is very hands-on in her latest Parisian venture. Moving into the boho Bastille neighbourhood, she has transformed a dowdy hotel into a stylish 21-room auberge. The ground floor is dominated by a long bar with casual seating and a cosy dining room, and it’s open every day of the week - a rarity in Paris - and serves food all day through from breakfast till late at night. Come at lunchtime for a couple of tempting dishes of the day - veal kidneys with creamy mashed potato, grilled bonito and a caviar de légumes - along with a host of French-inspired tapas: bone marrow with chorizo and broad beans, fennel braised in honey, squid in a rich bouillabaisse soup, while dinner is a five-course tasting menu created by Mikula each evening, well-priced at €55 (£46).
44 Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, 75011, enq 00 33 1 47005277, aubergeflora.fr
Restaurant Pierre Sang Boyer
With his restaurant one of the most talked-about spots in Paris right now, the success of the young, good-looking Pierre Sang Boyer is proof that there can be life after TV reality shows. Born in Korea, then adopted by a French couple, Pierre Sang made it to the final of France’s popular Top Chef show, and in June opened a tiny restaurant in the terminally-hip rue Oberkampf, a street that parties all through the night. A meal here is quite an experience: there is no menu - as Pierre Sang often decides on dishes as he goes along - and no formal kitchen, just a long steel counter where the chef prepares everything aided by two Korean assistants. Dishes could be simple grilled mackerel on a bed of lentilles or a crazy recipe of prawns, aubergine purée and slices of frozen banana. And it is worth noting that the chef is happy to prepare vegetarian or gluten-free dishes, nothing less than a miracle in Paris.
55 rue Oberkampf, 75011, no telephone, no reservation, pierresangboyer.com