Casting around for where to have lunch we noticed this famous Parisian name, and when we looked at the menus decided to go for it in spite of being in the new capital of European cuisine, not the old one.
It’s certainly an imposing presentation of old France on a corner off Cavendish Square in North Mayfair, the building possibly originally a branch bank with high ceilings, dark wood, and a wall of wine bottles at the back. We were greeted by a very quiet slim French-accented girl who gave us the choice of the room, we having arrived a little early. We sat in a corner, surrounded by luxury, quite comfy.
We started with a Cornish crab Royal and beef tartare. The crab thing had radishes and a gentle sour background that presented the crab (not sure what species but more delicately-flavoured than our West Coast Dungeness) nicely. The beef tartare was a real crowd-pleaser, with tiny cubes of eel jelly, garlic, and mushroom along with the coarsely-chopped tenderloin, bravely sour and delicious. The main was an irresistible suckling pig, a 3 cm rectangle of belly and a chop, with a chunk of crackling and clam sauce. Pretty flawless.
The other server was a less reticent older lady who brought the very extensive wine list and what she said was the last bottle of a Chave Cotes-du-Rhone from 2009 for about £60, which flirted a bit with barnyard but ended up classy and satisfying. This lunch set us back around C$140, not bad value for great food and a pretty convincing high-end show.
We would go back although there are hundreds of terrific little mid-range restaurants in this magnificent city and we would probably move on.
Food 9.3, service 9.0, ambience 9.1, value 8.5, peace and quiet 9.0.