Le Taillevent Paris is a restaurant that I’ve longed to visit for many years however with menus more than 300 Euros per person, I soon put that one to bed. I discovered though that there was a new restaurant in the group with the emphasis placed on showcasing their vast range of wines by the glass, 110 to be precise. It’s how I noticed that Les 110 de Taillevent Paris had opened a sister restaurant in London which is where I chose to celebrate my birthday last September which you can read more about by clicking here. I was completely blown away by the food, the level of service, hospitality and ambience not to mention THAT Lobster Risotto, simply one of the finest dishes Mr LmP and I had ever tasted. It was surely going to be the restaurant of choice for my recent trip to Paris, I was excited to see how it compared to 110 Taillevent London.
To understand the Taillevent group of restaurants you must first understand the history behind it. Opening its doors in 1946 in Pairs’ 9th arrondissement, André Vrinat’s restaurant was simply called Le Taillevent, it received its first Michelin star two years later. In 1950 the restaurant moved to the former mansion of the Duke of Morny at 15 rue Lamennais in the 8th district near the Champs- Elysées and four years later, it received its second Michelin star- so much had changed in 8 years. André’s son, Jean-Claude joined his father in 1962 where the restaurant had firmly gained a formidable reputation, it was very much a family affair. It gained a third Michelin star in 1973 and in 1987, it opened Les Caves de Taillevent which is essentially a boutique wine merchants with wine tasting. By that time, Jean-Claude’s daughter Valerie joined the family business. In 2001, the family opened another restaurant called L’Angle du Faubourg situated on the fashionable rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Sadly in 2008 Jean-Claude passed away which saw Valerie taking the helm however in 2011, The Gardinier brothers acquired Taillevent Paris from Valerie. They began a series of ambitious changes to the restaurant group thus L’Angle du Faubourg became Les 110 de Taillevent restaurant, they also opened a new Les Caves de Taillevent a few doors down from the restaurant and a branch of Les Caves in Beirut in the Lebanon. Finally, in 2015, Les 110 de Taillevent London opened where it quickly gained status as one of London’s finest restaurants, that mind-blowing Lobster Risotto also wins outstanding dish at the Taste of London event in 2017. The original Le Taillevent is a Parisian icon and still highly regarded as one of Paris’ most acclaimed fine dining restaurants with a fierce reputation and a price to match, it’s still located in rue Lamennais. The idea behind the Les 110 Taillevent restaurants is to offer a more affordable menu with wine matchings per dish, no doubt wines from their Les Caves cellars and I for one am so happy that they have opened a sister restaurant in London where it gave me the opportunity to sample a menu as close to the legendary Le Taillevent, who knows, maybe one day I will be lucky enough to eat there too.
Located in fashionable rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris’ 8th arrondissement surrounded by luxury hotels and couture fashion houses, we were booked to eat at 9:00pm. I’m surprised to see such a close resemblance to Taillevent London with its rich, dark and sleek interiors, low-lighting permeating a sexy ambience especially with the glow of the many bottles of wine at the bar which was right by our table. We are greeted by the restaurants’ director, Bob Middleton who was aware of our arrival and knew of my relationship with 110 Taillevent London so I was very much impressed. We couldn’t make out where Bob was originally from so he spent some time telling us the most interesting story of his humble beginnings in Scotland (we could detect a Scottish twang) and what brought him to Paris all they way back in 1987. I was really in awe by the fluency of his French, always a fascination with me when I hear people speaking the language like natives, I am tad envious as I would dearly love to learn how to speak French.
WHAT WE ATE
Bob begins by giving us the low down on the menu and its signature dishes, we are surprised that Taillevent Paris do not have a tasting menu as London do, I think that would be quite a good idea. Despite the restaurants’ signature dishes and Bob’s personal favourites being the Perfect Egg served with smoked pureed potatoes, bacon and the Calamari which is seared on a griddle with green pepper, chorizo and Espelette’s spice, we go for our personal favourite, the Foie Gras which is semi-cooked served with apricot and mango gel and rings of crispy toast. I must mention that before starters we are greeted with a Gougère usually made with either Gruyere or Comte cheese, it’s essentially a savoury cheese choux bun, it was as light as a feather and quite delicious. Bob offered us a glass of champagne which was Brut Reserve SA Pol Roger which was very welcome as I adore champagne.
We both expected the Foie Gras to be semi-cooked as was described on the menu – we had semi-cooked foie gras served alongside terrine foie gras at Chamarré in Montmarte which was probably the best foie gras starter we had ever eaten so there was high expectations of this dish so when it arrived in a terrine form, we were quite disappointed BUT I have to stress, it did not take away from the taste of this dish, it was simple, understated and so very delicious, the sharpness of the mango and apricot gel cutting through the typical richness of foie gras which will always be a big favourite of ours no matter how it is served. The wine pairings are the same principal as in London, here Taillevent Paris have a choice of four price ranges from 10 euro to 26 euro per glass and 2 measurements of wine either 7 or 14cl. With the starter and dessert, we chose a 7cl glass while for main, we chose the larger size. To go with the foie gras starter, we enjoyed a perfectly paired VDF Petit Ours Blanc 2015 by Matthieu Barret.
Bob recommended the signature mains which I knew would be the Vol Au Vent, no, not the popular 1970’s mini stuffed puff pastry ghastly starters but a giant crispy, buttery puffy Vol Au Vent with a fricassee of veal sweetbreads, kidney, crayfish and salad on the side, also much admired by Bob is the rib of beef but I had my eyes on the duck, a personal favourite of mine. Mr LmP loves all manner of offal so naturally, he picked the Vol Au Vent.
My duck was served with a ring of confit of potato, a croquette or bon bon as I like to call them, it was duck meat seasoned with star anise and deep fried which was served alongside my duck which was perfectly pink, soft and succulent, our choice of wine was the Languedoc Montpeyroux 2013 Domaine des Grecaux. Mr LmP’s giant vol au vent was crispy and light and the veal and kidneys “soft and buttery and rich” his words! I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted a veal sweetbread, just to taste offal is a big feat for me but it really was delicious.
Reluctantly our evening was coming to an end, we enjoyed another chat with Bob where we discussed the choice of music in the restaurant which was very much to my liking. Bob Middleton is a hospitable, jovial guy with a huge passion for Taillevent Paris, you can tell by the change in his manner when we discuss his roles in the hospitality industry spanning over 30 years but very much looking like a man in his 30’s we both agreed, he laughed graciously accepting the compliment.
Last but by no means least, the dessert course which is always my favourite. Mr LmP isn’t a lover of sweets, so he left this one out, but I decided to go for something light as I was already quite full. I chose a celebration of lemons, a light zingy invention, a lemon mousse log with lemon gel, buttery shortbread powder and disc and a sublime refreshing lemon sorbet and Italian meringue accompanied by a sweet number 6, Cotes de Gascogne Moelleux Aramis 2009. Taillevent Paris present their glasses of wine with a paper disc attached to the stem of the glass with a full description of the wine as they do in London, ingenious idea. I tried to find the wines we enjoyed on our visit to Taillevent London and with some research you can find similar wines to buy, one of the reds we had with our meal was outstanding but alas, I had no such success. I think that means a visit to Taillevent London is imminent, I’ve still got my descriptive discs or “colarettes” as I’m reliably informed so I can choose that robust red wine again as well as that outstanding Lobster Risotto! I loved each glass of wine paired with my courses at Taillevent Paris as did Mr LmP, they balanced each dish harmoniously, of course, because we had a 3-dish menu, we only got to sample 3 wines but in London, we left rather tipsy as we had a glass with each dish of the 7-course tasting menu but at least we got to try some interesting and varied wines.
By 11:00pm, we were ready to leave, the restaurant was still welcoming visitors at 10:30pm so there was still a nice buzz about the place, Bob came over to say goodbye and return our coats offering his business card, frustratingly, I did not bring any of mine. We stepped outside onto the glam rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, too dark for me to search out all the designer shops, we chatted about the delicious meal that just passed our lips as we made our way to the Arc de Triomphe that soon beckoned. Comparing Les110deTailleventParis to its London counterpart would be unfair, the concept is the same apart from the tasting menu, the food equally delicious, each course was as pretty as a picture and simply perfection on a plate, the atmosphere beguiling. We took a romantic walk along the Champs Elysée, Place de la Concorde in the distance with the beautifully lit Ferris wheel (Grande Roue de Paris) and the Eiffel Tower illuminating our romantic stroll, the Hotel de Crillon coming ever closer, we wished we were staying here again but that’s a story for another day……
Les 110 de Taillevent Paris
195 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
+33 0 1 40 74 20 20