When chef Cyril Lignac acquired one of the loveliest old bistros in Paris several years ago, he freshened it up with an appealing menu of traditional and contemporary dishes. Now he’s completely rebooted it as a mostly seafood restaurant with a modish menu and new décor by trendy London-based interior architect Martin Brudnizki. Brudnizki added ribbed red velvet banquettes, a harlequin floor and a busy mural of tree branches to a ceiling framed by original Belle-Époque mouldings.
The new look was clearly designed to reposition this table as an address for a younger, style-conscious set, and it seems to have accomplished its desired effect. Though I couldn’t help but miss the old Chardenoux, long a personal favourite, the new menu is very appealing, especially for seafood lovers.
Start with organic prawns with chipotle mayonnaise, oysters with grilled sausages, or tuna tartare with avocado, ponzu and wasabi, and then try the salmon in Thai bouillon, langoustine-filled ravioli, or scallops with Jerusalem artichokes and black truffles. Chicken with saté sauce and a Cheddar cheese burger are available for carnivores, and the dessert not to miss is the excellent vanilla- cream-filled praline-pecan millefeuille, which is made in Lignac’s excellent pâtisserie just across the street.