Paris is unique; there are so many gastronomic institutions, legendary restaurants and chefs. Because of this, people tend to forget that it is also the birthplace and centre of bistronomy. There are many talented young chefs doing amazing things and at super good value. I’m talking about my friend, Daniel Baratier, at Les Deserteurs; David Toutain at his eponymous restaurant; Bertrand Grebaut; Akrame Benallal; and Greg Marchand.
Paris also has the biggest market in the world, in the form of Rungis. To me, it’s the centre of great produce, “bien manger” and “bien boire”.
01: LES DESERTEURS
My good friend, Daniel, is chefowner alongside sommelier Alexandre Ceret. They are on Rue Trousseau in the 11th arrondissement and just meters away from Septime. Daniel and I were both sous chefs at the Michelin-star restaurant The Greenhouse in London. His cuisine is very much infl uenced by the season but the most memorable dishes are his pithiviers, Fin Gras du Mezenc beef and the zucchini and hazelnut pralines. I highly recommend this place.
46 Rue Trousseau.
I have always been fascinated by the way Alain Passard cooks and have had a few very memorable meals at L’Arpege. I admire his spontaneity and generosity, and his way of elevating produce is unique. The result is an incomparable honesty in his cooking. I also admire how many of today’s great young chefs have been trained there, such as my good friends Mauro Colagreco and David Toutain, and also Bertrand Grebaut from Septime and Bjorn Frantzen. I also had the opportunity to cook for Monsieur Passard when he came to Singapore three years ago. It was extremely memorable.
I feel at home in Paris at this place because it serves up delicacies from the region I’m from. I love that I am able to fi nd rustic dishes and outstanding meat dishes, including the famous Salers beef from home, and also my favourite cheese dishes such as the traditional truffade (a cheese and potato pancake of sorts) and aligot (mashed potatoes with melted cheese). That they are open daily from 7am till 2am is a huge plus!
Agnes and I have visited this historic brasserie – founded in 1896 – a few times. We just love the easygoing atmosphere and the fact that the food is comforting, fast and cheap. My favourite dish is the entree of museau de boeuf vinaigrette – a dish of sliced, pressed calf’s muzzle.
I have yet to visit this restaurant as it is super expensive! But I want to go some time. Bernard Pacaud is probably the most discreet among the Michelin three-star chefs. His cuisine, Francaise Bourgeoise, is pure joy and his dishes demonstrate just how beautiful his ingredients are. Just thinking about it makes me hungry! This restaurant is also located at the legendary Place des Vosges – Paris’ oldest planned square.