January 8, 2013
The Parisian private supper club scene started up a few years back with a small but solid selection of home “restaurants.” But it didn’t take long for these secretive suppers to become victims of their own success. Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen moved from her tiny pad to BBC2 as a television series.
Laura and Braden closed the doors of Hidden Kitchen and now welcome diners at their new restaurant and wine bar, Verjus. New Friends Table expanded across the water to London, leaving less time to feed their French friends. And even the Lunch in the Loft lady is going a bit more legit with books, classes and meals now held in the Premiere Pression Provence shop. So, with so many underground restaurants going mainstream, what’s a curious clandestine diner to do? Enter Paris’ latest private supper club: La Table de Cybele.
With a successful bi-coastal career as a pastry chef in both San Francisco and New York and a long list of private clients who have taken her to positions in Italy, Saint Barts and Anguilla, American chef Cybele has now set her sights on France. With the help of her French husband, she’s running Paris’ latest private dining club with a series of pop-up dinners in deluxe apartments across the capital.
Foie gras ravioli (ulterior epicure)
La Table de Cybele fills the more luxurious supper club niche, with a ten-course menu at 125 Euros per person. Unlike the city’s prior private dinners with ‘suggested donations’, online payment in advance is required to secure a spot at this table. As soon as I heard about it, I didn’t hesitate to reserve.
I came with a friend just after 19h30 to meet a group of lively American foodies already chatting over champagne. We joined the party and the first taste of the multi-course menu arrived with a sample of homemade gravlax of salmon, radish and fennel. We relaxed in the living room working through two more “apero” courses: a delicate and delicious mousse de cepes followed by a mini-bite of poitrine de porc confit. All the while, Cybele’s hubbie made sure our glasses of bubbly never ran dry. When the last guests arrived, bringing our total number to nine, we moved to the table to continue through the courses.
Poitrine de porc confit (niallkennedy)
Cybele’s market-inspired menus are accompanied by all natural wines and the culinary focus is on farm-to-table bistronomie. Fresh and seasonal ingredients are the highlight of every dish. We feasted on five more plates with my favorites being the lamelle de legumes de Joel Thiebault with nuts and parm, which proved that a salad can be something more exciting and inspired than just a bit of healthy veg, and the egg and foie gras ravioli, which oozed exquisite yolk once split. The grand finale was a cheese plate, desert, and then a café gourmand.
During the meal we chatted with the group, which was mainly made up of visiting Americans with one other French local thrown in for flavor. Half of the table had already worked through an impressive list of trendy French restaurants and the other half made my ears burn with some hot celeb gossip. Of course, I’m not at liberty to divulge said gossip, but let’s just say this table attracts some very interesting dinner guests.
The strong point of the menu is the varied courses that work together harmoniously and leave diners satisfied but not overstuffed. But no matter how good the food, it’s always the opportunity to meet new and interesting people that attracts me to private dining clubs. La Table de Cybele provides just that, with a minimum of 8 and maximum of 12 guests.
If you want to experience this particular evening of private dining for yourself, don’t wait to reserve. Word is that Cybele will eventually be moving mainstream and opening a new restaurant in which to serve up her creative, market-fresh fare. So check out these unique evenings before it’s too late.
Written by Forest Collins
Forest Collins chronicles her search for the finest cocktails in Paris on her blog, 52 Martinis. Every Wednesday, she tries a new place. She starts with a martini for a standard of comparison and then usually orders a second. Got a bar you think makes great drinks? Let her know, she'd love to try it!
Website: 52 Martinis