Paris Notebook


Yogurt Bars Are Popping Up in Paris

It seems that yogurt bars are becoming quite trendy in Paris with a newly opened yogurt bar in Saint Germain and pop-up yogurt bars appearing at both Colette and the Bon Marché just in time for summer.

It Mylk, a cute boutique recently opened by two young fashionistas on the rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, serves fresh and frozen yogurt with a nice selection of toppings, all made with first-rate ingredients including local farm-fresh milk from la ferme de Viltain, seasonal fruit, granola, homemade compotes, crumble, chocolate and more.

They also serve homemade cakes made by award-winning pastry chef Gabrielle Jones.  I had a taste of the vanilla frozen yogurt sweeten with agave nector and can attest that it was creamy and delicious.

Fans of the French yogurt Mamie Nova will want to reserve a spot at Colette, the hyper-branchée Parisian concept store, on 16 June for the release of Mamie’s latest flavours: green apple and kiwi, prune, and pistachio.  To animate the festivities, they’ve invited starred chef Hélène Darroze to be on hand to reinterpret some of their most popular flavours.

And finally, Michel and Augustin, who you might know from their line of gourmet boxed cookies, are getting into the yogurt business as well and have set up shop until 3 July in the Grande Epicierie at la Bon Marché with an impressive ephemeral yogurt bar where you can create your own flavours from a base of plain, vanilla or raspberry blueberry yogurt with a possibility of 21 different combinations.

Where to find them:

It Mylk, 15 rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, Paris 6th

Colette, 213 Rue Saint-Honoré,  Paris 1st

La Grande Epicerie de Paris, 38 rue de Sèvres, Paris 7th.

Ralph’s Restaurant, the Newest American in Paris

Ralph Lauren’s eponymous new restaurant Ralph’s created a lot of buzz in Paris, long before it ever opened.   It was everywhere in the French press, tweeted about on Twitter, fuelled by the New York Times report that Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group had been brought in for consulting, and that the French kitchen team, including a chef from the Bristol, had spent a week in New York learning to make American classics like burgers and fried chicken.  They wrote that Michael Romano, the chef, partner and chief of culinary development for Union Square Hospitality, was brought to Paris to work with the French chefs right up to the opening.   For once, Paris would have a real American restaurant, and not just the cheap Disneyseque imitations that serve lousy to mediocre American fare.

Naturally, with all this talk, I called for a reservation the day it opened.    The woman I encountered on the phone had that snotty disposition that I have come to know too well in Paris and I was already put off, thinking that they may import the beef from the good old USA but should think about importing American-style service.  The pre-opening press blitz had paid off, the first table available was in about 2 weeks, and this was only opening day. Click Here to Keep Reading

Avant Comptoir, Yves Camdeborde’s latest

This tiny “bar à hors-d’oeuvres” recently opened by Yves Camdeborde, one of Paris’s most coveted chefs and proprietor of the impossible-to-book Comptoir du Relais, is certainly one of the best places to open in Paris this year.

Anyone knowledgeable of the Parisian food scene will easily recognize Camdeborde, the jovial chef who unintentionally started the bistronomique food trend in 1992 when he gave up the world of Michelin stars by leaving the two-starred Les Ambassadeurs to open La Régalade, a modestly-priced bistro in the outmost corner of the 14th arrondissement. Other chefs soon followed suit and the Paris restaurant scene was transformed. Much to the dismay of foodies around the world, he turned over la Régalade to Bruno Doucet to open Le Comptoir du Relais, which soon became one of Paris’s most talked about tables.

His latest endeavor, in a narrow non-descript space which adjoins the Comptoir, turns out delicious, affordable small plates of the highest quality along with interesting small-production wines. Steamed Camus artichokes dipped in olive oil, piping-hot, addictive croquettes filled with Eric Ospital’s Ibaïona ham, delicious chipolatas fried in duck fat with garlic, pig’s feet croquettes, plates of excellent charcuterie, and wonderful seared cêpes are only some of the tasty offerings on hand. Claustrophobics might want to abstain as it’s standing room only at the zinc bar laden with a communal bread basket, a tub of Bordier butter, white jars of pickles and peppers meant to be shared amongst your neighbors.

Rumor has it that Inaki Aizpitarte is contemplating a tapas-style annex to his Chateaubriand, so hopefully Chef Camdeborde will have started the next new Parisian restaurant trend…à suivre

L’Avant Comptoir
3, carrefour de l’Odéon, 6th.

See the map here

Wines from 2 € a glass
Plates: 3-6 €

Open daily 9h-24h