Answers from Our Experts (2)
At the moment, Paris' casual gastronomic restaurant scene is thriving. One of the restaurants that has garnered a lot of buzz in the foodie community is Bones by the Australian chef James Henry. James Henry, who previously made waves at the helm of Au Passage in the 11th arrondissement, opened his very own space in January 2013. We've all heard of the concept of farm-to-table dining, but at Bones, Henry has capitalized on the head-to-tail cuisine philosophy.
Bones is known for its homemade everything- like the fabulous smoked and cured duck breast, and the pork saucisson, house-churned butter and fresh-baked bread, as well as for its inventive menu. Reserve a table in the open dining room if you’d like to enjoy the special tasting menu of the evening.
If you're looking for a casual meal with a friend or two, head to Bones early to snag a seat at the small bar (of about 6 places) where you can taste an array of items from the sharing-friendly bar menu. I loved the tartare de veau (veal tartare) and the carpaccio de bar (sea bass carpaccio), as well as the cheese plate and apple tart for dessert. Bones also roasts a suckling pig each evening, served between a homemade soft roll as a sort of modern pork sandwich. One of the best reasons to sit at the bar is that everything is prepared right in front of you, bringing the diner directly into the world of the chef (and vice versa).
The wine menu at Bones is another reason why I think it is one of the best new restaurants in Paris. They have a great array of wines from around France and around the world, including several natural wines. By the glass or by the bottle, the guys working behind the bar are both friendly and knowledgeable, willing to help you pair the perfect wine with your meal.
To sum up Bones the words of James Henry, “young chefs, good energy and fresh produce.”
// BONES // 43, rue Godefroy Cavaignac 75011 //
How would you fancy giving a helping hand to those in need just by tucking into a famous French chef's recipe? At MANGER (24 rue Keller, Paris 11th), the brand new upmarket associative restaurant, when you order the prix fixe 'dîner des chefs' (chefs' dinner), 10 per cent of the price you pay goes towards training people who have been excluded from the job market.
After three years of hard graft, Thierry Monassier, the Paris-based restaurant consultant, sees his dream become a reality. In 2010, Thierry created the association ‘Toques et Partage’, which lies at the heart of MANGER. Together with Ferdinand, his right-hand man, Thierry recruits candidates who have the potential to work in the restaurant business but who either haven’t had the opportunity to learn a trade, or who have been living on the streets. With 10 places to fill at the restaurant, Thierry gives successful candidates a two-year training contract, which will lead to a permanent position or which will give them the edge to get a job elsewhere “There are 85,000 jobs to fill in restaurants in Paris, so there is plenty of opportunity out there but very few training schemes that are accessible to people who for some reason or other can't get on the job ladder” says Thierry.
Unlike any other associative project of the sort, MANGER doesn’t just have a worthwhile cause at heart, but the restaurant itself is a remarkable feat. Marie Deroudilhe, acclaimed for her work at Alain Ducasse’s latest restaurants, designed the space, which used to be a Franprix supermarket.
The result should have been cold and clinical, but instead feels like a homely conservatory. The sky light above a tree planted indoors gives plenty of natural light, significantly lifting the overall mood of the place.
The reigns in the kitchen are held by the cool, calm and collected young globetrotting chef, William, who whisks up a mean feast laced with international influences picked up on his travels across the world. He uses fresh produce sourced as close to home as possible and makes sure every dish is magnificently presented.
The lunch menu is divided according to the way of cooking the ingredients (grilled on Tuesdays, roasted on Wednesdays, steamed on Thursdays, and so on). In the evenings, the ‘dîner des chefs’ is the highlight on the menu, with recipes created especially for MANGER and donated by some of the country’s top chefs, including Trama, Alléno and Hache. Ten per cent of the price for the prix fixe menu (55 euros) goes to the association for the rehabilitation training contracts.
Thierry is overjoyed with the result although too humble to say so, he prefers to focus on the aspects he still wants to develop, but the glint in his eye as he watches diners revelling in the experience, is evidence enough of his satisfaction at seeing his dream finally come together.
MANGER – 24 rue Keller, Paris 11, +33 (0)1 43 38 69 15 – www.manger-leresto.com. Open Tuesday-Saturday (12:00-2:30pm and 7:30-10:30pm). Booking in the evenings is mandatory.