French Restaurant Review: Nectar, Paris

French Restaurant Review: Nectar, Paris

Paris continues to pioneer stylish yet affordable boutique hotel concepts for the 21st century and a perfect example is the Maison Mère near the charming Square Montholon – an ideal place to read a book if you have a chunk of time before or after a train at the Gare du Nord. Think lively graphics, bright colours and a mix of flea-market objects with modern ones.

Meeting a friend from Leeds for the very good value three-course €49 dinner menu served here, we were intrigued by young chef Aurélien Lasjuilliarias’s cooking. Having previously worked in the kitchens of the Hotel George V in Paris and Marc Veyrat in the Savoie, his contemporary French culinary credo is based on sustainability, seasonality, and the legibility of tasting notes that are “frank and identifiable”, including umami-rich ingredients like black garlic, miso, dashi and harissa. Every menu begins with delicious hors d’oeuvres, followed by a vegetal starter, a fish or meat main course, an optional €10 cheese course from Taka & Vermo (widely considered the best new cheese shop in Paris) and dessert.


Fragile tartlets filled with tiny peas and fava beans and a luscious tarama made with riced cauliflower, cod roe and kaffir lime started our meal with a wonderful shot of chlorophyll and an agilely balanced blend of iodine, earthiness and citric brightness. Next, roasted pigeon came with garnishes of white asparagus, cherries and sage for Nicola, while my pollack was a soothing, subtle dish of pearly fish accompanied by courgettes, sea lettuce and crunchy, faintly resinous pine buds.

Both of us were actually moved by the earnestness of the huge amount of work that had gone into what we were eating, in terms of both imagination and then execution. When we opted to share a cheese course, the serving was generous and the cheeses were aged to perfection, including a magnificent Saint-Nectaire with shansho pepper and a stunningly good and very rare water buffalo milk blue cheese from Lombardy. Both of our desserts were sort of angelic on a hot day, too – raspberries with sorrel sorbet and spicy-tasting marigold petals, and a yogurt pudding topped with broken panes of white meringue. Service is delightful, and their wine list is impressively varied and fairly priced, which makes this a great insider’s address to splash out on a good meal in the centre of Paris.

Hôtel Maison Mère, 7 Rue Mayran, 9th arrondissement, Paris, Tel. +33 01 42 80 00 00

Prix-fixe lunch menus €19, €24; prix-fixe dinner menus €49, €69.

From France Today Magazine

Lead photo credit : Nectar at the Hôtel Maison Mère is a good place for a great meal in the heart of Paris © HÔTEL MAISON MÈRE

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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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