Restaurant Review: Orgueil, Paris

 
Restaurant Review: Orgueil, Paris

Alexander Lobrano discovers an exciting restaurant scene serving up a new style of dining in post-pandemic France.

As the Paris restaurant scene recovers from the trauma of the Covid lockdowns, the city’s gastronomic landscape continues, unsurprisingly, to emerge as quite changed. A new generation of chefs is on the starting blocks, and the old Michelin-mandated pyramidal shape of the Paris food chain has never looked more obsolete since so many of the best new tables in the city are places that are unlikely to land stars according to that guide’s old codes.

Michelin nods at one of the major new imperatives of the younglings – sustainable gastronomy, or running a restaurant that avoids food waste, economises on water and energy, recycles organic refuse, sources locally and organically, etc. – with its Green award, but this feels more like a pat on the back than a full-throated endorsement of how French gastronomy must and will change in the 21st century.

Visit Orgueil in Paris © Albin Durand

Whether Michelin zeros in on young chef Eloi Spinnler’s new Paris restaurant, Orgueil, remains to be seen, but one way or another, it’s a huge hit. Spinnler graduated from the prestigious École Ferrandi and did stints at La Tour d’Argent and the Plaza Athénée in the capital, as well as cooking in Melbourne and London, before deciding to go out on his own with this new place in a lively part of the 11th arrondissement.

So this is the way Paris wants to eat these days – shared plates of very original dishes made with the highest quality seasonal produce, often organic. This was my experience at dinner here recently with several friends – instead of ordering once for a formally structured meal, we ordered several times, following our hunger and curiosity, like all of the other patrons did, and we had an excellent meal.

Gastronomy is changing in Paris © Albin Durand

We started off with two orders of exceptionally good croquetas (Spanish style deep-fried, crumb-rolled beignets) filled with indulgent duck and cream cheese, and then tucked into beef confit with grenadine and turnips. Other delights were the duck with spices and flamed celeriac; lobster ravioli with mange-touts and lemongrass; and white asparagus with clementines and Parmesan, a sublime combination with the acidity of the citrus playing off the slightly bitter umami of the vegetable and the salty updraft of the Italian cheese.

Desserts are a little less accomplished, although we enjoyed the tarte tatin with miso, which we thought a very clever idea. Service is polished and charming, and the wine list is good, although they could pour a better selection of wines by the glass.

6 Rue Popincourt, 11th arrondissement, Paris,
Tél. (33) 01 83 97 34 80, www.hubrisgroupe.com
Average à la carte 45 €.

From France Today magazine

Lead photo credit : Orgeuil is typical of the way modern young Parisians are dining these days © Albin Durand

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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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