In the cultural American tradition, Paris is still the mecca of many good things in life. Over the last years, a new trend has taken root and begun its ascent to the more visible spots of popularity: the presence of expatriates in the Parisian cooking scene. Blogging and internet have given wings to explorers and reviewers of French cuisine. If you type in the beloved Google search box something like “best recommendations for bistros in Paris”, the logarithm at work will return you the chilling number 24,400,000 results. Well, even if you sift through some, you will be spending valuable time comparing and preparing your eating out plans. This is one of the prices you pay to give your taste buds an invigorating culinary adventure in the city.
So, these days, besides the explosive growth of professional guides to what is being cooked in Paris, more adventuresome mavens have chosen to set up shop offering their cooking to enlightened customers. And praise be given, some are not only excellent but deservingly successful. Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian have made of Verjus one of the hottest spots in the city where you can either have a long restaurant meal or a combination of small plates at the wine bar. Daniel Rose at Spring is already an institution, having won the praises of the New York Times and turning the place into location where awe is the reigning mood.
This flourishing trend has continued with the arrival of Kevin O’Donnell and Michael Lombardi at the helm of the French owned L’Office. Since October 2011, they have been gaining a reputation as their cuisine twists classic French themes and invents new ones all based in the freshest ingredients.
Only two blocks north of L’Office a newcomer has made an entrance with a bang: Albion, run by Matt Ong and Hayden Clout and just opened in November 2011. It offers nouveau comfort food fare with a British accent.
But this is not a post for foodies so I cannot recommend to you which one to select and which one to ignore and I do not have the eloquence to describe the fine delights that await you in these eateries. However, yes, I am partial to good food and better design and I’d rather comment on the latter. I can’t therefore but incline my heart to the gloriously simple, Albion in the desultory Rue du Faubourg Poissoniere. I enjoyed my meal in its balanced interior where the silver sage painted walls adeptly match the textured wooden floors. The deep and wide single space is cleverly allocated to wine shelves on the left of the entrance and a large zinc and wooden bar on the right leaving the back of the room for the guests tables. The effective and low key space is a winner and many restaurant designers could take from Albion some inspiration.