October 14, 2011
Paris is teeming with cool dining experiences, for those prepared to seek them out. New Friends Table, a new addition to the Paris scene, aims to bring together an eclectic yet compatible group of like-minded foodies around a delicious meal in a real Parisian apartment. Our very own Erica Berman also recently checked it out; during her dinner, she mingled with a former Moulin Rouge dancer, a Cartier wedding planner, an Argentinian working for the BBC and an organic spa owner! -Geneviève
The possibilities for private dining experiences in Paris continue to expand with yet another new addition: New Friends Table. This ‘secret eating and meeting club’ appeared on the scene last spring thanks to a multi-national group of friendly and fun, food-minded locals. With my penchant for new and unusual eating experiences, I requested a booking as soon as it popped up on my radar.
Cozy ambiance at the New Friends Table
To secure an invitation, you introduce yourself by email with some basic background information such as food preferences, interests and what languages you speak. While some might consider the necessity of introducing themselves a nuisance, it’s completely in line with the principles of this club. New Friends Table is about more than just putting something tasty in your belly. It’s about conversation, interaction, getting to know your fellow diners, and hopefully even fostering new friendships. Continue Reading »
Posted in Events, Food | 10 Comments »
February 22, 2011
Hip Paris first wrote about underground dining back in March 2009, when we experienced Hidden Kitchen for the first time. Since then, we’ve gathered around private tables with the likes of David Lebovitz, interviewed chefs like Rachel Khoo, and searched high and low for these special, discreet, private experiences. Forest Collins has sorted through the (now abundant) options on the Paris scene to brings us today her top 3 Clandestine Paris dining experiences — Geneviève.
Groucho Marx said it best: “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” Sometimes the harder something is to get, the more we want it. This seems to hold especially true with eating out in Paris as the capital catches up with the extensive network of already established ‘private dining clubs’ in other major cities.
Not your usual restaurant, private dining clubs are a different kind of eating experience where food-minded folks gather in under-the-radar locations to share a meal. They range from closely guarded secret rendezvous to more publicized, well-known gatherings. Because they exist outside of the usual commercial restaurant mold, they’re often hard to find and sometimes even harder to get into.
So are the added hindrances to underground dining worth it? Last week, I checked out three clandestine Paris Kitchens to find out.
Cookies and Tatie, the house dog at Hidden Kitchen
Hidden Kitchen: where sophisticated palates converge with the gastro-curious to indulge in Paris’ finest of clandestine cuisines
This was not my first visit to the brainchild of American ex-pats Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian. I first ate there when they opened with a near immediate fan base in 2007. Since then, they’ve accrued a substantial following and attracted enough media attention that they had to move to a larger location where they now serve a communal table of 16.
Elegant ten course dinners take place in their enviable Parisian apartment. Braden brings his special touch to fresh local ingredients, creating dishes that rival the best of restaurants for both flavor and presentation. He still finds time to step away from the stove to talk guests through each course while Laura selects and pours wine for the pairings and takes over in the kitchen when it’s time for the sweets.
Hidden Kitchen, which was originally intended as a yearlong project, is still in action after more than four years. Over this time, they have stayed consistently booked up while developing their culinary and wine expertise. They also keep things fresh by inviting occasional guest chefs – on my latest visit, Nicholas Calcott created an impressive 9 course Szechuan dinner.
If the topnotch food, service and setting aren’t enough for you, the communal table adds a convivial element not found in your run of the mill eateries that I was truly able to enjoy during my latest solo visit.
Suggested donation: 70 to 80 Euros
Soul Kitchen Supper Club: where the un-ironically hip rub elbows and bump knees over flavor-packed world dishes in art-infused surroundings
For a change of pace, American duo Christian Guerrero and Alexa Wisnoski casually cater to a global-minded eclectic community of wanderers, wonderers and food ponderers who appreciate a seriously good nosh. An evening at the relatively new Soul Kitchen Supper Club begins with a genial cocktail apéro in the couple’s cozy apartment with up to 32 guests.
After mingling, diners slide around the multiple low glass-top tables and await delights from the kitchen as pitchers of wine appear. Christian and Alexa create origina and well thought-out 4-5 course menus focusing on fusion flavors that are hard to find in Paris like Non-Tex Mexican and New Jersey Style Italian American Cuisine. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 12 Comments »
April 19, 2010
All photos by Maggie Battista, except where noted
The volcanic eruption in Iceland has changed my (and likely your) travel plans pretty dramatically. I was supposed to be back with the husband in cold and rainy New England but am instead stranded in bright and sunny Paris. Despite feeling pretty helpless, as you may imagine, I am not getting much sympathy from friends and family. Taking the bull by the horns, I have decided to make the most of every extra moment in this perfect city. I’m sharing my five-step plan with you, with the hopes that it may help those of you also stranded in Paris or anywhere in Europe.
1. Revisit your favorite restaurant and hope for a sweet homecoming. I’ve visited some fabulous restaurants during my stay in Paris, only to be warmly welcomed (most of the time) upon my second visit. The staff at Le Miroir, Glou and, especially, Le Pure Café have been attentive, sweet and delighted by my return visits. However, I only just discovered my favorite restaurant in Paris a few days ago. La Laiterie Sainte Clotilde (64 Rue de Bellechasse 75007 Paris, Tel: 01 45 51 74 61) is a little neighborhood joint, only four blocks from my flat, run by an unlikely duo – she’s an experienced grandmother-like host, he’s a young, cool bartender/server. Together, they run an efficient, candle-lit, warm diner that whips up nine seasonal comfort dishes (three entrees, three plats, three desserts) and easy, affordable wine. I felt so at home here, so much so that I’m hoping a return trip will ease my travel plan pain. If it doesn’t, I’m pretty certain a return trip to my favorite Paris wine bar, Le Baron Rouge, will do the trick. Wine cures all ills, right?
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Shopping, Travel | 6 Comments »
April 22, 2009
photo courtesy of express.fr
While there’s nothing secret about Jadis anymore, its location—buried deep within the 15th near Metro Convention—shelters it from the tourist crowds that will inevitably descend on Paris this spring and summer. Hailed as the “Best Bistro of 2008” by Le Fooding and “Bistro of the Fall” by Le Figaro, Jadis has emerged as a well-loved star amidst a sea of up-and-coming (and already established) neo-bistros. Continue Reading »
Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 3 Comments »
April 9, 2009
Photograph: Alain Ollier
Considering how much coffee Parisians drink, it’s high time they started drinking it right. And now they can, thanks to La Caféothèque, a cozy coffee sanctuary located in the 4th arrondissement. Owned by Gloria Montenegro Chirouze, the former Guatemalan ambassador to France, La Caféothèque combines a mellow atmosphere with a sophisticated and principled approach to importing, roasting, and consuming coffee.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food | 7 Comments »
March 13, 2009
Photos Erica Berman
Bonjour vacationers! We hope you’re enjoying your Parisian experience wandering through winding, historic streets, getting lost in mazes of artwork, whiling away afternoons on sun-drenched cafe terraces… A newcomer’s eye is often the most perceptive, which is why we’re now looking to you to share your unique Paris havens with us.
We want to hear about the restaurant where you ate the best crème brulée, which bench along the Seine has the finest view of Notre Dame, how you unearthed an original antique at an unassuming corner brocante, and the artisan bakery with organic goodies just down your street! Tell us which room in your apartment has the best light for morning breakfasts, about your dinner parties with old and new friends, and simply what it feels like to wake up in a large, soft bed in your very own fabulous Parisian flat! We look forward to hearing about all of your HiP tips and reviews. Happy exploring!
Posted in Reader Tips & Reviews | 88 Comments »
March 9, 2009
Photos Erica Berman and courtesy of Hidden Kitchen
Hidden Kitchen private dinner club in Paris – with no idea what to expect, and no expectations to fufill, we were unexpectedly seduced and thrilled by this underground off the beaten path Parisian dining extravaganza. Expertly run by an American couple, the food has a definite US slant, nevertheless, this was one of the best meals I have had in over 16 years of fooding in Paris. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »
February 14, 2009
Last night I attended the French rock concert of Valhere at the newly opened concert halle ‘Les Trois Baudets’ in Montmartre – Serge Gainsbourg, George Brassens, Jacques Brel and Juliet Greco all had their start in this club that opened in 1947 & closed in 1967. Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe worked hard to reopen it and after years of construction, the inauguration took place last week. It will be a concert hall to help promote young French artists and ‘chanson française’. After the show, 3 friends and I went to dinner in Montmartre at ‘Des Si et des Mets’, the only completely gluten free restaurant in Paris. Continue Reading »
Posted in Arts, Food | 1 Comment »