I spent a pampering day at Le Royal Monceau in Paris, a Raffles property, taking time to discover the art scattered throughout the hotel, the spa and its Michelin-star French restaurant ‘La Cuisine’ . If you sit inside the restaurant, you’ll be bathed in artistic decor that elegantly combines large tables and more private alcoves. The design choices are largely the work of the infamous French designer Philippe Starck who made some interesting choices, blending modern, urban with chic and classic traditional all under one roof.
Guest tables face the open kitchen of Chef Hans Zahner and Executive Chef Laurent André. Unlike so many more traditional French cuisine, their style is light and flavorful and they try to use seasonal ingredients as much as possible. A magnificent fresco, ‘A Garden in Paris’, by French artist Stéphane Calais, graces the ceiling.
Starting in 2008, it was closed for two years while they went through major renovations, all under the design lead of Philippe Starck. In addition to the exquisite style throughout the restaurant and hotel, they put in a 99 seat private movie theatre, a private art gallery and an art book store, which I love. The hotel itself is just a delight to walk through because of the abundance of top notch, well thought out design.
You can view a wooden reindeer display by Russian artist Nicolai Pollisky on one of the upper floors, the incredibly seductive walls in their Michelin star restaurant by Dutch artist Thomas Boog, and the fabulous walls in the private dining room, the creative work of New York artist Rosson Crow. It’s the only palace hotel with a concept store and a customized art concierge service so guests can use the store to buy red carpet dresses, designer shoes and more. Fun fun fun!
Their menu for lunch changes weekly and the menu for the week I was there in September, included a number of scrumptious choices, such as octopus and sautéed French zucchinis with lemon and thyme, cold soup, “Alentejana” style, garlic croutons and anchovies confit, Rabbit saddle and leg, Niçoise style with small caramelized onions, a roasted steak of pollack with wine peaches and flowering tops of cauliflower and an escabèche sauce.
The dessert choices by famous pastry chef Pierre Herme included a tarte fine Chloé, Pâte sablée with cornmeal, raspberries, chocolate manjari 64% ganache and a thin layer of dark chocolate with fleur de sel and the coupe glacée Mozaic with pistachio ice cream, morello cherry sorbet and poached blackcurrants. He’s known for his macaroons so it’s worth stopping into the restaurant to sample a few flavors of macaroons alone. Yum yum yum!
During the month of September, they celebrated the launch of Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003 Vintage, which was described by Dom Pérignon Brand as ‘‘a year of superlatives. As such, we had additional menu items to choose from, a selection that was curated by 9 chefs from around the world.
Because it was such a warm afternoon when I was there, we opted to sit in the garden terrace, which faces water and beautiful green trees on all sides.
Now, to get your mouth watering, let’s move onto the food. I tried the Pan Sauteed Duperrier Duck Foie Gras, served with raspberry and fresh pistachio marmelade, Xeres vinegar and raspberry espuma. There was just a touch of lemon and it had oh such a perfect balance. Then there was the Hamachi sashimi served ceviche style with Rhubarb and scallop crisp. On the menu from Nobu apparently was the Marinated Black Cod, served with braised black rice, honey, ginger and lemon.
A special on the menu was a watermelon like tartine, served with squashed raspberries, strawberries, orange and lemon zest. Also below is that delicious Roasted Steak of Pollack, served with wine peaches and flowering tops of cauliflower “escabeche” sauce I mentioned above.
Unusually prepared desserts included a balsamic vinegar sorbet with violet candy silvers (yes, really) in a homemade cream. And no, there’s no typos there – the chefs really experimented with different flavors for this one and somehow, it just worked! Also, a raspberry chantilly cream with fresh raspberries, raspberry coulis, sable cookie, raspberry sorbet and lemon meringue.
For the first time, they tried out a raw and gluten free menu this past summer. The chefs offered a tasting menu for 110€ without wines or 155€ with a selection of wines. The menu included a Green tomato jelly, “Espelette” pepper sorbet, Carpaccio of wild jumbo shrimps, Light mayonnaise with corn cream, French veal tartar, Red onions and “Opaline” potatoes and for dessert, Infiniment framboise, Shortbread biscuit, fresh raspberries, Chantilly cream, raspberry coulis and a Raspberry sorbet with lemon meringue.
Also, note for the vegans and the health conscious — they run detox programs on-site, which is tied to their gluten free and raw menu.
Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris
37 Avenue Hoche 75008 Paris
Tel:+33 1 42 99 88 00
Be sure to check out our Paris section for great shopping tips, restaurant finds, and other reflective pieces like this one. There’s also lodging & top hotels in France, and top hotels in Paris as well as general content on France. (travel to France).