We were two close friends enjoying a summer lunch together, starting with a glass of Ruinart rose champagne. Patricia Wells and I had a table on the terrace at the Hotel Bristol, which was an oasis of lushness and birdsong set back from the throng of the rue Faubourg St. Honoré. It wasn’t hot but perfectly mild, a day we’ve become accustomed to calling summery here, which means without rain though the sky was a pudding of grey clouds.
We ordered quickly, it was so easy to choose from the seasonal menu. As we sipped, the first of several amuse bouches came our way, a trio of architecturally challenging bites that included a ball of tender shrimp dusted with kataifi that had been rolled in tandoori spices. It was an amusing little hairy orb on a stick with a symphony of delicate flavor!
The meal proceeded with savory watermelon topped with limoncello foam, caviar from La Sologne atop smoked-haddock mashed potatoes, and a ball of herring in cream atop a flat potato cake. The food defies description actually, as words do nothing to evoke the beauty and flavors of Chef Eric Fréchon’s cuisine. It’s impossible to really describe the delicately smoked roll of salmon with lemon caviar sitting on buttery leaves of new cabbage, or the way a ball of tzaziki captured in gelatin explodes – with finesse – in the mouth.
So I’ll leave it and say that if you have the chance when next in Paris, book yourself a table at the Bristol. You’ll be delighted!
Hotel Le Bristol, 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008 Paris, France
01 53 43 43 00