The Full Monty

Pur' at the Park Hyatt Vendome is not exactly the most famous or publicised restaurant in Paris. For those with an open mind, there might be the one or other surprise to be found here

The room for instance is very different from the other grand Parisian palace restaurants: It is cosy, warm and gives a very welcoming impression. The same can be said for the service brigade, which is young and motivated. The people here clearly have a passion for what they are doing, which makes the dining experience all the more enjoyable.

The food that chef Jean-Francois Roquette cooks here is also a little different from say what you can find at the Meurice, Ritz and other restaurants of this kind. Technique here is certainly top-notch, and this is a kitchen brigade that delivers in terms of execution. Flavour-wise the dishes are solid and most enjoyable, but it are the products that mark the difference between Pur’ and say any of the Parisian 2* or 3* restaurants.

That being said, whilst the products here are perhaps not necessarily of the calibre of those you can get in the above-mentioned restaurants, they are certainly difficult to criticise and better than what you’d be used to in other European cities. Dishes that show this quite well would be for instance a slow-cooked salmon with dill oil, black sesame puree and cucumber. Here the sommelier pairs the fish with a red Burgundy, which works surprisingly well and makes the dish even more interesting. This is a subtle dish, showcasing the salmon’s delicate texture and the interesting flavour-combination.

Another dish that is most interesting is a truffle cream with nuts, sprouts, foie gras and truffles. This is the kind of dish that clearly brings out rich, earthy flavours that are most delicious. In winter, such plates of food are all you look for, as they associate relatively classic products with each other in an intriguing way.

These dishes clearly show that Roquette’s kitchen is delicious and unpretentious. He’s cooking food that doesn’t necessarily cry out for too much attention, but simply delivers in terms of flavours. One area in which he truly excels however is the sweet side of the menu. His desserts are even better than his savoury food, making the sweet finale, a feast for all gourmands here. A superb dessert for instance is a fig that is prepared in a sugar/honey crust and comes with brioche, milk ice cream, linseed and black currant sauce. This is a dessert that is superbly balanced and more than tasty. It shows the craftsmanship, and more importantly the understanding of proportions that make a great pastry chef.

Thus Pur’ has to be seen as a restaurant that delivers a very complete experience. It is less expensive than most of the serious other Parisian restaurants, which undoubtedly means that what you get on your plate is of a different level. That being said, it is rare that a 1* restaurant delivers such consistently delicious dishes, and outstanding desserts.


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