Lentils and oysters, one of the dishes presented daily at Le Clarence, an increasingly popular restaurant in Paris (photo www.gillespudlowski.com)
If we were to say what was the most interesting opening in the Parisian restaurant scene of the past three years it would undoubtedly be Le Clarence. Opened at the end of 2015 in the elegant Hotel Dillon (the location of Bordelaise Château Haut-Brion), it has gradually strengthened its fame and is now ready to become the restaurant that more than any other can change the look of Parisian fine dining.
Chef Christophe Pelé (born in 1971 in the North-West of France) mainly trained with Bruno Cirino and Pierre Gagnaire, as well as at Pavillon Ledoyen, Lasserre, Le Bristol. In 2003 he became the first chef in the kitchen of the Royal Monceau. At the end of 2007 he took the great leap and opened a restaurant of his own, La Bigarrade, a small bistro in the suburbs (one and later two Michelin stars). In this he was helped by the sous-chef who is still working with him at Le Clarence, Giuliano Sperandio (born in Liguria in 1982).
It was just them in the kitchen, a free menu that changed daily, sometimes even during the same service. The assumption: a more or less static menu, that changes only from time to time, or seasonally, as often the case in great restaurants, kills the ingredients and is a serious handicap for the resulting compositions, no matter how supported it may be by technique and skill. Therefore, they preferred determined choices of ingredients, lots of freedom and technique, lots of improvisation, and a strong synergy. The same qualities they share today.
Italian cook Giuliano Sperandio, restaurant manager Cédric Servain and chef Christophe Pelé (photo from twitter/Haut-Brion)
So here we are, six years later, after trying the cuisine of Pelétwice. What’s different? First, the location, now large, prestigious, comfortable, pleasing. Second, the availability of a kitchen brigade (up to 17 people in the evening) that allows the further matured creativity of the two chefs to be as free as it gets, their synergy being total, symbiotic. Third, the availability of the best products from countryside, sea, vegetables etcetera, thanks to a network of suppliers that can guarantee high quality and fresh products.
Indeed, when we dined there on two days in a row, we had two completely different menus, and of virtually the same high quality. Take the first menu. It included amuse-bouches, Scampi; Lobster; Sweetbreads; Duck; Cheese; Desserts. The scampi were served four times in the space of 15 minutes: Seared, tamarind, black ham from Bigorre, oregano; Raw, white peach, almond milk, begonia; Poached, umeboshi, egg yolk, almond butter; Squid (an element on the side, à la Gagnaire), capucine, basil, tuna bottarga. The sweetbreads were also served four times: Glazed, with avocado; Tomato ”green zebra”, tarama; Veal tartare, mackerel, rocket, Parmigiano; Poached, calendula, caviar, white butter. The Duck was cooked in one piece, cut by the table, with excellent pairings on the side. The dessert was light and neat.
Raw white tuna, veal and dahlia (photo Le Clarence/Instagram)
Le Clarence dell'hotel Dillon
31 avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Tasting menu: 90, 130 and 190 euros
Closed on Sundays and Mondays
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Ligurian, an art and food lover, while waiting to eat, he writes about what he’s already eaten: food worth writing, worth eating