Food and drink
Swedish chef Jonas Lundgren — runner up of Bocusé d’Or 2009: the Oscars of the food world — was brought in specially to design the menu, which changes with the seasons and focuses heavily on fish and pasta. Caviar and truffles also feature frequently in the recipes because they’re owned by Caviar Kaspia and Maison de la Truffe in Paris. However, this is the first restaurant to combine both foodstuffs.
I imagine you’ll only come here for a special occasion or if you have some cash to splash, in which case start with the ‘special’ aperitif of champagne and caviar blinis (25 euros a head); followed by the Napoleon king crab starter — it’s pricey, but oh-so succulent — then onto the black-truffle risotto and finish with the melt-in-the-middle chocolate pudding with white truffle ice cream. Heavenly!
You find yourself conversing in whispers due to the formal atmosphere, but I rather like that: you always know you’re celebrating a special occasion when you have to put on your best manners.
It’s very quiet at lunchtimes and not overcrowded in the evenings either. This isn’t a reflection of the food: prior to the renovation, homeless people used to shelter here — indeed, some still live in the arcade opposite — and people are used to avoiding the area. Happily, though, word is beginning to spread and bookings are increasing.
It must be superb in summer, when the glass doors running alongside the entire length of the building are thrown open (April—Sept) and you can dine on their huge terrace overlooking the Mont des Arts.
Waiters were a bit serious. Ordering in English is fine, but don’t make it too hard by whispering like I did.
On the stepped Monts des Arts, equidistant between Place de l’Albertine and Place Royale in the Upper Town.
Mains 18—25 euros
Tables to book
Ask for a window table towards the back of the restaurant, near the bar, for views of the Prince Albert statue and the Hôtel De Ville spire on the Grand-Place — particularly beautiful at sunset.
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Mature travellers
- Great views / scenery
- Special occasions
- Design and architecture