Pouliche and Elmer, two restaurants in Paris not-to-miss

This is the first experience for Amandine Chaignot but she's already very deserving; Simon Horwitz is a certainty at Marais. Two reviews from our reporter in the Ville Lumière

by Olivier Reneau
Amandine Chaignot and Simon Horwitz, chef and pat

Amandine Chaignot and Simon Horwitz, chef and patron respectively at Pouliche and Elmer, two establishments not-to-be-missed in Paris (photo Nicolas Boisson and instagram/simon_horwitz_chef)

This nickname dates back to the days when the cook participated in the Bocuse d’Or and it stuck, so much so that now it's the name of her restaurant, her first one. Amandine Chaignot, however, is not unknown in the culinary scene. The merit goes to her rich background in the kitchens of Plaza Athénée. Meurice, Crillon, Bristol and, most of all, her established experience at Rosewood in London. Which has allowed her, once back in Paris, to know what kind of cuisine she should serve her guests at Pouliche.

A homely, enjoyable and accessible cuisine, perfect to create moments of sharing. So, at dinner, they will ask you to pick one main course out of three, of which one is vegetarian, leaving you the surprise of the trio of starters – which they call mise en selle here – and the desserts which are served in the centre of the table, so that everyone can choose freely.

On the night of our visit, we were spoilt for choice: Pumpkin with smoked eel and lemon confit, Sauté of razor clams, Purée of celeriac, croutons, green apple and wasabi, Mushroom soup or Braised scallops … Indeed, on a Wednesday night, the chef “imposes” a 100% vegetarian menu, so it comes as no surprise that vegetables will play a crucial role in her cuisine, adding a special lyrical character to her dishes.

The drink list includes a short selection of cocktails, not yet definite, balanced by a rich wine list, mostly organic and natural, like the fabulous Alsatian blend La Grange de l’Oncle Charles from Jérôme François or Contre Pied from Domaine Plageoles in Gaillac.

11, Rue d'Enghien
Paris, France
Tasting menu: 28 (available for lunch, except on Saturdays), 32 (Saturday and Sunday at lunchtime) and 55 (in the evening) euros
Closed on Sunday nights

Pouliche, make space for vegetables (photo Benedetta Chiala)

Pouliche, make space for vegetables (photo Benedetta Chiala)

A detail of the dining room (photo poulicheparis.com)

A detail of the dining room (photo poulicheparis.com)


Elmer is now a point of reference in Haut-Marais, between Place de la Republique and the Musée des Arts et Métiers. Six years ago, when he imagined his first restaurant as a meeting place at lunchtime – two menus per day – and in the evening, for a more gourmet experience, chef Simon Horwitz was one of the pioneers to contribute in the renewal of the neighbourhood.

A previous pupil of giants like Jacques ChiboisSylvestre WahidPierre Gagnaire, with experience in Australia and Peru, he later helped his old friend from FerrandiBertrand Grébaut, when he opened Septime… all this allowed the 30-year-old chef to choose this address “out of two”.

The décor is elegant – walls covered in colourful tiles, furniture made with rough wood, eclectic collectibles – and made less pompous by the large social tables. Horwitz offers generous but neat dishes, which give importance to ingredients sourced from small eco-friendly French producers. Another specialty is the cooking on the spit or in the wood oven: it gives a unique touch to the lamb, to the pork ribs but also to the turbot from the Atlantic (all for two people). For individual choices, you can pick from the menu dishes like Yellow cod gravlax with lemon confit and capers, or Ravioli of scampi, cherries preserved in vinegar, basil, coconut milk and green curry.

In this adventure, Simon is supported by sommelier Sébastien Perrot who discovers interesting organic or natural wines – such as the white Bordeaux from Château Vilatte, Viognier Roussane from La Ferme des sept lunes, Crozes-Hermitage from Domaine Combie – which are a crucial part of the culinary project.

PS. For a more intimate experience, Simon recently opened right opposite a private location that can host 6-8 guests and which recalls the classic Japanese counters, with the cooks preparing the dishes in front of the guests. 

30, Rue Notre Dame de Nazareth
Paris, France
Closed on Saturdays at lunchtime, and the entire day on Sunday and Monday
Average prices: starters 20, main courses 40, desserts 14 euros
Tasting menu (only available for lunch): 29 euros

Elmer, a detail of the dining room (photo thefork.it)

Elmer, a detail of the dining room (photo thefork.it)

Sweetbreads from Elmer (photo www.elmer-restaurant.fr)

Sweetbreads from Elmer (photo www.elmer-restaurant.fr)

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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