Food and drink
Pierre Gagnaire is often associated with molecular cooking and works with the scientist Hervé This but what is impressive here is that while his cooking is adventurous and experimental it remains real cuisine, extremely precise, and not all foams and froths. In fact, he gets much of his inspiration from painting and jazz and calls his cuisine not deconstruction but "contructivisme culinaire". Many things are brilliant bite-sized combinations of flavours and textures in a style that is both extremely thought out and instinctive.
The menus here give a fascinating panoply of flavours and textures. For a recent winter lunch, delicious amuse-bouches included tuna on a mini meringue, followed by a set of mini starters including a single clam in its shell on a perfect seasoned bed of tiny diced veg, a lentil and pig's trotter soup lifted out of the ordinary by the insertion of a green roquette cream, a mini whiting crumble, main courses of pollock with leeks and cockles, a brilliant reinterpretation of classic frogs' legs and veal and desserts that ranged from a chocolate and pistacchio column to a lemon construction.
The panelled pared back dining room is too sober for the modernity of the food served here but, although you feel the concentrated atmosphere of serious eating, it is also calm and relaxed. Unusually for a three star on my recent visit although there were tables of British, American and Russians, by far the majority of diners were French.
Serious yet charming from a smartly suited team of waiters and a sommelier who came up with an excellent yet affordable suggestion for the wine.
Just off the upper end of the Champs-Elysées.
The 105 euro lunch menu is a relatively affordable way to sample Gagnaire's style. There's also a longer 265 euros menu or count around 300 à la carte.
Gagnaire also has the modern fish restaurant Gaya Rive Gauche by Pierre Gagnaire on the Left Bank at 44 rue du Bac, plus fashionable Sketch in London and a restaurant in Hong Kong.
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
- Special occasions