There’ve been quite a few new openings over the last year in Paris. Call it a coincidence or a trend, three of the new restaurants were opened by Parisian chefs étoilés. Two of the chefs, Jean François Piège at Thomieux (former Crillon) and Jean Louis Nomicos at Les Tablettes (former Lasserre) quit their prestigious establishments for their new ventures, while Eric Frechon (Bristol’s chef) at Le Mini Palais only created the menu.
So what we have on the plates?
Les Tablettes by Jean- Louis Nomicos 16 avenue Bugeaud, Paris 75016, tel. 01 56 28 16 16
Les Tablettes has opened barely three weeks ago at the former La Table de Joel Robuchon on avenue Bugeaud. It’s chef, Jean- Louis Nomicos, originally comes from Marseille, used to work at La Grand Cascade and 2 Michelin stars Lasserre which he quit last August.
Jean- Louis Nomicos cooking is very influenced by his Provençal roots. “Scallops with bouillabaisse juice”, “beef filet with foie gras and black olives” or “foie gras confit, rissoles (deep-fried pastry) with lemon”… Yes, the dishes are quite classical yet they are so well executed that you really travel to the South of France…
Les Mini Palais Musée du Petit Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris, tel. 01 42 56 42 42
Despite the beautiful design and pleasant details like warm brioche and artisanal butter with your meal, I thought that appearance has been put over substance at Le Mini Palais.
While the “sardines en boîte” were something new, you definitely can have a better vitello tonnato at a decent Italian restaurant. Moreover, the roasted John Dory with aubergine caviar and mushrooms was a disaster. The overcooked fish on my plate was screaming that it was not pan-fried by the same guy who created the recipe. Knowing how hugely talented Eric Frechon is, I even doubt that it was he who created the “carte” (you can see it online). I would love to come back to Le Mini Palais, but more for the aesthetics of the place rather than the food.
Unfortunately, even chefs that could be considered among the best in the world, can disappoint when they leave their amazing, state of the art environments for more casual brasserie kitchens. This what I felt after my lunch at Thoumieux. Having been at the 3 Michelin stars Les Ambassadeurs under Jean François Piége, my expectations for Thoumieux were big. The puffed pizza with tuna, parmesan and rucola were more original for its appearance than for its taste (and very messy to eat). The biggest let down was the brill with chicory and truffle shavings- it seemed that even the truffle had no taste…
I still hope that it was just my bad choices. “Wild squid prepared à la carbonara” or “Scottish salmon confit with butternut gratin” do sound nice so as some other dishes…