Its only immediate competitor is Cercle de l’Union Interalliée which is of course unbeatable for the size of its garden and the quality of its cooking, but Les Jardins du Faubourg, a new hotel open since mid June, is a lovely oasis near the U.S., British, Japanese, Belgian and Uzbek embassies. It belongs to a small family group of boutique hotels in Toulouse, Marrakech (Les Jardins de la Koutoubia) and Paris. The restaurant is inspired by Bruno Doucet, founder of la Régalade,a long time favorite.
There is a continuous flow of taxis and limos dropping customers off on this little rue d’Aguesseau. And they tend to walk into the next door restaurant, Jean François Piège’s two star “Le Grand Restaurant“. I was waiting for my friend on the sidewalk with charming chasseur Thibault and could see how stiff these affluent tourists looked, while stepping into what would be a ceremonial and expensive meal. We, on the other hand, had a perfectly lovely evening in the very pretty garden with a quiet veranda.
The menu is constructed like the ones at La Régalade: a 45€ three course dinner with the choice of five starters, six entrées, seven desserts or cheese. My friend picked an excellent risotto with cuttlefish ink and fried fresh prawns to start and veal shank cooked slowly and confit as a main course. He liked both very much and especially the spring vegetables served with it.
I had the half cooked half raw red tuna with parmesan shortbread (a Régalade feature) which I found a little dry. It would be nice to add a creamy sauce with it. And the open raviole with vegetables was quite uninteresting and not warm enough. There was also a choice of eggs with piperade or cream of courgette to start and sea bream or cod and pig as an entrée. The food is less generous and tasty than at La Régalade and the service is definitely less fun and professional. But you do get the terrine de pâté de campagne with bread as you wait for your meal to be served. An excellent idea.
Desserts were great though served in a glass which I hate: rhubarb, cottage cheese and strawberry coulis and pot of vanilla cream which was strangely topped with passion fruit seeds. The baba au rhum is their specialty as is the riz au lait for amateurs.
All in all, it was an impeccable evening with clumsy service (I asked if our waitress was a trainee from hotel school but she wasn’t and kept on saying “pas de soucis” (no worry), an expression I hate and “did you enjoy your course”?). Wine, a red Sancerre by Lucien Crochet was delicious, but only brought to us halfway through the meal and we could never get the check… If staff was better trained (one of them said “Putain” for no reason), the place would be truly ideal.
The hotel has a nice swimming pool downstairs which you access through a Coco Chanel type mirrored staircase and a luxurious gym. Unfortunately one of the mirrors had been broken while installing the rail… The decor is signed Arnaud Behzadi an Vincent Bastide. I did not visit the 32 bedrooms nor the 4 suites but they look quite trendy on the website. Everyone is very friendly, if not yet very professional, and the decor of the garden is stunning!
The manager came to see us and we shared our reserves on the service. The public of the restaurant is mostly French with Americans and Asians staying at the hotel. The night after us, Anna Wintour was throwing a party for Vogue during Couture week.
It is a perfect summer dining place for 70€ per person. Unbeatable in the 8 th arrondissement.
Les Jardins du Faubourg, 9 rue d’Aguesseau, 8 th. tel: 01 86 54 15 15
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