Fashion Food at “Le Chateaubriand” – PARIS, FRANCE

Inaki Aizpitarte Chef at Le Chateaubriand PARIS, FRANCE

Self-trained Basque chef Inaki Aizpitarte serves creative and affordable dishes at this low-key but seriously modish haunt just a step from Paris’ Goncourt metro. His approach is described as ‘cuisine de vagabond’ but the restaurant is also linked to the city’s bistronomy movement, which saw a number of chefs drop the prices and stiff atmospheres of top-class Michelin outfits in favour of humbler fare.

Toothpick in mouth and fashionably dressed, it’s difficult to talk about Aizpitarte’s status in the French restaurant scene without resorting to clichés such as ‘rock ’n’ roll cook’ or ‘maverick chef’. The look of the venue is basic with plain white walls and hand-scrawled menu boards. In the kitchen the cooking is innovative and fresh but hardly high-tech. The daily-changing menu features whatever ingredients the team can source from the market that day and techniques range from classic French right through to Asian and South American.

The restaurant offers a €60 tasting menu and allows evening guests to book two weeks in advance for the first sitting or try their luck by queuing for the (non-bookable) second service, which starts at 9.30pm. Meals start with a succession of small plates delivered casually by fashionably attired staff: a small plate of raw clams with toasted sesame seeds perhaps, or chilled pea soup with trout roe. This is typically followed by three main-course plates, allowing the restaurant to deliver a brilliant but relatively speedy experience with little pomp and ceremony.

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