courtesy of Clover Grill

Grill restaurants have long been popular in London, New York, and many of the world’s major English-speaking cities, but have been slow to catch on in France. Now that looks set to change with the recent opening of the wonderfully suave and casually cosmopolitan Clover Grill in a quiet side street in Les Halles, the old market district in the heart of Paris.

The project is the brainchild of innovative restaurateur Jean-François Piège, who also runs an eponymous two-Michelin-starred table near the Élysées Palace in the 8th arrondissement, and the original Clover, a minuscule bistro in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. “I’ve always enjoyed the steak houses in New York and grill restaurants in London, and I decided to do a contemporary French version of the idiom, since I was sure it would work in Paris,” explained Piège.

The restaurant offers two different dining spaces: a low-lit dining room with a tongue-in-cheek take on the sort of shock-horror floral wallpaper once common in hotels in small provincial French cities, and a bar room with white honeycomb tiles and a long, white marble bar where you dine perched on a stool, or take a seat at one of the tables lining the wall. The menu was shrewdly drawn up to tease pleasure from the stylish younger crowd who immediately made this place one of their favourite canteens. This means starters like céleri-rave roasted in embers and served with a sunny parmesan sauce and freshly-shaved black truffle, or a luscious grilled terrine de foie gras garnished with clementines, and a sumptuous choice of beef, including the not-to-be-missed Noire de Baltique, which is German-born, Polish-bred and aged over beechwood shavings in a warehouse in the Port of Hamburg to give it a rich, resinous taste. Beef from Australia and Kansas is also available, as are lobster and Mediterranean shrimp, plus a changing catch-of-the-day, all served with a choice of four sauces: Sarawak pepper, Béarnaise, Bercy, and a sublime reduction of macerated blackcurrants and blackberries. Finish with the spit-roasted pineapple or the chocolate tart with hay-flavoured ice cream, and note that this place has an excellent wine list.

Clover Grill, 6 rue Bailleul, Paris 1st. Tel: +33 (0)1 40 41 59 59. Average €70. Website: www.clover-grill.com

From France Today magazine

courtesy of Clover Grill
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Alexander Lobrano
Alexander Lobrano grew up in Connecticut, and lived in Boston, New York and London before moving to Paris, his home today, in 1986. He was European Correspondent for Gourmet magazine from 1999 until its closing, and has written about food and travel for Saveur, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Travel & Leisure, Departures, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications in the United States and the United Kingdom. He is the author of HUNGRY FOR PARIS, 2nd Edition (Random House, 4/2014), HUNGRY FOR FRANCE (Rizzoli, 4/2014), and MY PLACE AT THE TABLE, newly published in June 2021.

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