French restaurant Review: Golden Poppy, Paris | EUROtoday

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French and Californian delicacies meet for an intriguing culinary expertise at Golden Poppy, Paris, led by chef Dominique Crenn.

Among the stereotypes the French cling to with the best pleasure and tenacity, few are extra enduring than the trope that America is the land of junk meals, a culinary wasteland. In many Gallic minds, gastronomically ignorant Americans subsist on a horrendous weight-reduction plan of hamburgers, sizzling canine, steaks, fried rooster, spongy white bread, sugary fizzy drinks and quick meals. If the meals seen in Hollywood movies and TV reveals was initially chargeable for this repute, the arrival of American fast-food chains sealed the deal, starting with the opening of the primary McDonald’s in France in Créteil in 1972 (France counts 1,515 branches right now) .

Ironically sufficient, nonetheless, Paris is right now dense with eating places peddling not solely such Yankee staples as cheeseburgers, but in addition lobster rolls, sizzling canine, mac ‘n’ cheese, fried rooster, barbecue and different characteristically American consolation meals, as a result of, effectively, the French really like them. The excellence of the up to date American bistro cooking present in such subtle, food-loving cities as San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia by no means obtained a look-in in Paris (not like London), nonetheless, till the current opening of Golden Poppy, a up to date Californian restaurant named after the state’s official flower, on the new resort, La Fantaisie, within the ninth borough.

Dominique Crenn © Laurent Dupont

The plot thickens, although, as a result of this restaurant is the homecoming creation of French-born chef Dominique Crenn, who moved to San Francisco in 1988 and skilled with Jeremiah Tower, one of many founding cooks of Californian delicacies. Today Crenn is the one feminine chef within the US to carry three Michelin stars for L’Atelier Crenn, in San Francisco, the place she additionally has two different informal tables. “I’ve wanted to open a restaurant in Paris for a long time, because if my cooking style is Californian, my heart will always be French,” she explains. Crenn, who was adopted from a Breton orphanage by an prosperous couple from Versailles, first grew to become involved in gastronomy as a younger lady. Her father, a politician, usually introduced her alongside when he dined at Michelin-starred eating places with a pal who was the meals critic for the Breton newspaper, Le Télégramme; and her mom groomed her palate by cooking dishes from many various kitchens in addition to taking her to Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Vietnamese eating places in Paris. Crenn additionally realized loads about produce throughout summers spent on her household’s farm in Brittany. “I loved the theater of restaurants,” she wrote in her memoir, Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters (Penguin Press, 2020).

California cooking was based mostly on the freshest native produce ideally natural, it averted dairy items and it was richly impressed by the kitchens of the immigrant neighborhoods that make San Francisco one of many world’s most cosmopolitan cities. After cooking round city and coaching with Jeremiah Tower, Crenn made these ideas the wick of her personal subtly elegant cooking model, a type of free-style California delicacies espoused to the traditions of French gastronomic logic and technical rigor. Crenn describes her cooking as “poetic culinaria”, or the poetry of cooking.

Mushroom and cabbage dumpling ©Maki Manoukian

Heading to Golden Poppy for dinner with a pal, I used to be massively curious, as a result of I’d by no means been to any of Crenn’s vaunted tables, however had learn many encomiums to the luminous magnificence and assured sensuality of her cooking. The restaurant, within the just-opened 73-room resort La Fantaisie within the ninth borough, has a type of opium dream, through-the-looking-glass décor that is a trippy mash-up of Victorian conservatories and the visible tropes of Northern California, together with a wilting variety of pretend vegetation, notably a big synthetic olive tree. It’s signed by the fashionable London-based inside designer Martin Brudnizki, and with a pleasing view over the resort’s inside backyard, its greatest options are framed botanical prints, benches with floral upholstery and trendy rattan chairs with floral upholstery medallions.

The French pal with whom I used to be eating was instantly flummoxed by Crenn’s quick menu, which is organized in classes which might be extra acquainted to San Franciscans than Parisians – Raw and Cured, California Soul, Taste of the Sea and Sweet Treats. The concept is to graze, because the unlucky expression goes, on a collection of small-plates dishes (one other unlucky expression) in keeping with whim, starvation and what strikes your fancy. The very first thing I seen was that there was no meat on the menu as a result of Crenn swore it off a number of years in the past. Setting ourselves up with a mineral-rich Alsatian Riesling, which appeared the most effective wine selection for a largely seafood menu, we started with an order of the good tartare of aged crimson tuna, served wrapped in shiso and with a number of sauces. We additionally very a lot loved the ceviche of sea bass with child peas in leche de tigre (a Peruvian marinade made with coconut milk, lime juice, garlic, onions, coriander and different substances), together with the fluffy, warm-from-the- oven Parker House rolls, an old school American consolation meals, the place the same old accompaniment of salted butter was swapped out for 3 intriguing condiments – shiso-miso sauce, egg-yolk jam and rice cream.

Observing the eating room, it appeared that the majority of my fellow diners had been additionally puzzled by the menu, because it different a lot from the standard gastronomic structure of a French meal: starter, fundamental, cheese (maybe), dessert. “It’s a rather confusing experience, because I don’t know what goes with what,” I overheard a girl telling the waitress, “but Madame Crenn’s cooking is sublime.”

Potatoes with plankton and pickled celery seed sounded peculiar, however translated to an intriguing dish because the mild brininess of the plankton flattered the earthy primal flavors of candy potato, with the pickled seeds including full of life notes of acidity. Corn flour tacos full of grilled abalone (a preferred shellfish in Northern California) had been succulent, chewy and intriguingly shiny with completely different flavors.

Though it could sound odd, since most of us have been taught that freshness is the final word measure of fine seafood, getting old fish like they do in Japan has change into standard amongst California cooks. The concept is that fish, like meat, develops fuller and extra advanced flavors when aged in a calming rock-salt-lined locker with rigorously managed humidity. This explains the 2 fundamental programs on the menu – grilled yellow pollack and a stunningly succulent aged sea bream for 2 with gem lettuce leaves, mint and coriander with which to wrap items of the fish and Korean model condiments. Coconut beignets with pineapple and Japanese-style orange ice cream had been a captivating conclusion to this intriguing meal at an tackle which presents a novel new culinary expertise in Paris.

Golden Poppy within the Hotel La Fantaisie, 24 rue Cadet, ninth arrondissement, Paris, Such. +33 01 55 07 85 07,

Average a la carte dinner €130.

From France Today Magazine

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Lead picture credit score: Flowery upholstery and loads of vegetation make up the inside of Golden Poppy ©Jérome Galland

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French restaurant Review: Golden Poppy, Paris