Found mere meters from the Tuileries Gardena and the Champs-Élysées, the palatial Hôtel de Crillon is by all standards a Parisian icon – and when an icon shares news, we sit up and listen. The grand hotel’s latest comes in the form of a new restaurant: Nonos et Comestibles par Paul Pairet.
Having opened its doors this spring as the hotel’s second restaurant (L’Écrin, of course, being the first), Nonos is a fresh take on the classic Parisian bistro with chef Pairet jubilantly returning to his home country.
Despite the restaurant’s grandiose setting in one of Paris’s best hotels, it remains true to the principles of a grill-style brasserie, with a menu of retro yet beloved dishes elevated to suit modern tastes. It’s luxury in its truest form: The chance to eat great food in good company and a welcoming setting. What could be better?
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Paul Pairet grew up in the southern French town of Perpignan and began his culinary studies in the city of Toulouse. It was in the kitchens of Paris’s Café Mosaic where Pairet first garnered recognition, both critically and by fellow chefs including, most significantly, Alain Ducasse, who plucked him out and brought him under his direction.
However, despite his French upbringing and training, it was in Shanghai where Pairet truly made a name as one of the world’s best. He runs three restaurants in the city – Mr & Mrs Bund, Polux and Ultraviolet, the latter of which is beyond doubt his most well-known. Avant-garde and entirely experimental, Ultraviolet earned three Michelin stars in 2017 for its multi-sensory dining experience and has retained them ever since.
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While Nonos at Hôtel de Crillon is a world away from Pairet’s flagship venture, it marks a different type of excitement as the first time the chef has helmed a restaurant in his home country for many years.
“I am extremely proud and happy to join this emblematic Palace,” Pairet said of the opening. “I consider the Hôtel de Crillon a landmark in Paris and in France. I am also thrilled to come back to France to share my most genuine cuisine. I look forward to taking on this new challenge with the Palace’s team.”
The menu at Nonos is pure French classics, with Pairet seeking to put together a collection of dishes that make both him and his guests happy.
Things kick off with the quirkily-named selection of ‘Distractions’ – think crunchy, salty radish butter; slices of rich paté en croute; and canuts (a cheese-based dip from Lyon) with cucumber. Like any French brasserie worth its salt, Nonos has a proper raw bar, too, with everything from half a dozen oysters to a full seafood platter.
The main event, however, is the steak. Surprisingly for a Parisian restaurant, Nonos offers not only French beef (there’s perfectly marbled Aubrac-Waygu as well a dry-aged Normandy ribeye) but also cuts from around the world. A crowd-pleasing minute steak (served with frites, of course) comes from Austria, while a hefty sharing Black Angus porterhouse comes from over in the States.
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Where too many restaurants veer toward treating dessert as an afterthought, Nonos does the opposite with a delightfully hefty sweets selection. Of course, there is a daily cheese plate but also rum baba, grand marnier souffle, chocolate mousse, rice pudding with rum and raisin, chocolate souffle and chilled fruit. Sweet-toothed guests rejoice.
When it comes to wine, as you’d expect, every bottle is French with the exception of just two labels under the ‘Europe’ category – one Spanish Toro and an Italian Barbaresco. You can’t say the French don’t know what they like and stick to it. There’s a good selection of classic cocktails too, as well as spirits and a full chartreuse collection.
Designed by Tristan Auer, Nonos’s interiors are equal parts glamorous modern restaurant and traditional Paris brasserie. Intended to be welcoming and relaxed, the restaurant has a variety of seats spread across its convivial space, from cute bar seats for a quick bite to plush booths for those long lunches.
Smart details at every corner inject plenty of personality – soft textures juxtapose the various marble surfaces, while brass light fixtures cast a warm glow.
Making the most of the restaurant’s perfectly timed spring opening is a courtyard terrace. Overflowing with lush greenery and comfy seating, the space is likely to become a coveted oasis when the summer months roll around – head here for a glass of something fizzy before dinner.
Nonos et Comestibles par Paul Pairet, Hôtel de Crillon, Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris, France, rosewoodhotels.com
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