The auction house, Hôtel Drouot has always been a place of fascination and sometimes a very intimidating one for visitors. Now that it has added a restaurant and bar, « l’Adjugé » in the hall, it should be even livelier than ever.
The decor was created by Erwan Boulloud, an alumni from Ecole Boulle, who sculpted a brass wall and bar (he is also the decorator of “Ristretto” on place des Vosges). The effect is quite striking and the dark atmosphere of the place gives it an interesting elegance. The room is small and serves approximately forty people from 11 am to 6 pm. Before and after, only auctioneers are allowed in. And this is where they celebrate with champagne after a successful sale, with their new President, the dashing 44 year old, Alexandre Giquello.
It is interesting to sit there at 1.55 pm, when everyone is rushing in for the 2 o’clock sales. Romain, the manager, multiplies his « Bonne vente Maître » as all French auctioneers are called. One can feel the restaurant has only been open a week and he is very keen on doing well. A bit too loudly maybe… An Italian dandy walks in and orders a scotch, a couple of British experts are enjoying the duck with « jardinière de légumes », a group of American tourists look baffled by the very mixed crowds.
Mostly, a lot of regulars walk in for coffee or a chat with a colleague for, discussing the auctions, is almost as fun as bidding at them. On the first floor a tiny dining room for 6, will soon have a screen so that auctioneers can follow the sales while having lunch.
The food is fine with the usual irritating, œufs pochés with green asparagus, carpaccio of foie gras (as if foie gras could be eaten in thin slices !) and salade niçoise with iceberg lettuce instead of rice (it was actually quite good). The pot de crème au chocolat was not subtle enough but the tiny madeleines were fine with an excellent coffee. The waitress had obviously been told to ask us every ten seconds if we were happy with the food and if we needed another drink, and that was tiresome, but she was so charming that it did not really matter.
The real treat in this new restaurant, is to be like at the movies, watching through the glass windows, the incessant traffic of flea market dealers, elegant ladies who have nothing-else-to-do, old collectors, and energetic young experts, go through the hall and up the escalators to the chic 1st floor rooms. Drouot is a show in itself and having a café there is a blessing. (L’Adjugé, 9 rue Drouot, appr.€40)
Share this Diary