October 21, 2016
At PDD2 what you see is not what you get. The offshoot of Privé de Dessert, the quirky SoPi restaurant where entrées and main dishes look like classic French pastries, has brought the same fun approach to the Opéra neighborhood in the guise of a take-away “pâtisserie” with a twist.
Every delicacy in this bright 2nd arrondissement café looks like a pastry, yet they’re anything but dessert: a réligieuse with avocado cream and salmon rillettes, a delicate éclair that refashions the traditional ham-and-butter lunchtime sandwich, or a savory cupcake that hides a surprise tartiflette filling.
Owners Sephora Nahon and Sophie Journo opted to open their second outpost in the bustling neighborhood between the Opéra and the Bourse to offer busy office workers the chance to grab something different from the usual lunchtime-break sandwich, or perhaps the chance to surprise their friends with an unusual selection of trompe l’oeil pastries.
“We have boxes that look like cake boxes, with one éclair, one réligieuse, one millefeuille, and one opéra, but they are all savory,” says Journo. “Their success has really taken us by surprise.”
The two business-school graduates left behind their respective corporate careers to launch the restaurant Privé de Dessert three years ago, a stone’s throw from the Sacré-Coeur basilica in the trendy SoPi neighborhood.
The success of the fun, unique concept quickly spawned a catering business and later a cookbook authored by Nahon – who trained at the prestigious Ferrandi school in Paris –with 40 recipes teaching readers how to reproduce the classics of French pastry in savory versions.
The January 2016 opening of the “pâtisserie” outlet near the Opéra reflected a growing appetite among customers for a takeaway version of restaurant dishes to enjoy at home or gift to friends.
The restaurant classics, such as the burger that looks like a Saint-Honoré cake, are complemented by creations exclusive to the store, like a hummus-and-eggplant brioche masked as a pain aux raisins or an off-the-wall salmon “cheesecake.”
Nahon and Journo don’t seem willing to rest on their laurels, though. “It’s a one-of-a-kind concept and we think it could be expanded elsewhere in Paris, in France, and even abroad. We have quite a few foreign customers telling us they would love to see Privé de Dessert in London or Dubai,” says Journo.
“Everything in its time, but we are getting there.”
Privé de Dessert 2 – 16 rue Saint Augustin, 75002. Métro: Quatre-Septembre. Tel: +33 (0)1 85 15 28 55
Privé de Dessert – 4 rue Lallier, 75009. Métro: Pigalle. Tel: +33 (0)1 85 15 24 33
- For more great meals in SoPi, check out some of our other favorite restaurants here.
- Now for something sweet, why not head to Mesdemoiselles Madeleines, also in the SoPi area. This little shop offers a modern take on the madeleine, in a plethora of delicious flavors.
- You also can’t beat a fresh jambon-beurre sandwich for lunch. David Lebovitz spills his favorite spot here.
Written by Elena Berton
Born in Italy, Elena Berton swapped her native Venice for life in the United States and England before making Paris her home, where she can indulge in cooking, lurking in boulangeries and walking around in high heels. She has written for Dow Jones Newswires, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, Women’s Wear Daily, Time Out London, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian.