Current F&B Trends in the Paris Dining Scene
By Omer Acar General Manager, Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris | August 25, 2013
The Paris restaurant scene is constantly evolving. Many trends have been emerging in the past couple of months and travelers are more adventurous with taste, but more conservative on quality. They're eager for new experiences and can't wait to try out new restaurants, but without compromising taste and excellence.
Parisians are very selective about their dining options. They want to know where the products on their plates come from – especially with all the recent misleading labels in France and Europe. A guest-friendly dining experience combined with food chain transparency is the most important criteria guests look for in a Paris restaurant.
Customers also want authentic flavours and recipes. They find comfort in tried-and-tested, traditional family recipes passed on from generation to generation, served in a refined yet simple manner. This explains the current resurgence of "Grandma Style" restaurants in Paris, with popular bistros such as Chez Meme (which translates as "Grannie's Place") in the 2nd Arrondissement, or Ma Grand-Mère m'a Dit ("Grandma Told Me") in the 15th Arrondissement.
Some of the most popular dishes in our Michelin-star restaurant La Cuisine are decades-old French classics cooked in a contemporary way, such as confit duck breast à l'orange or puff-pastry 'Parisian-style' gnocchi with garlic snails – a dish so popular it's been on the menu since the restaurant first opened in 2010.
This highlights a major shift in local dining expectations: for years and years, haute cuisine in Paris was quite often based on intricate dishes, fairly complicated, involving a range of different ingredients, spices and elaborate cooking techniques. Whereas nowadays, the new mantra seems to be "complexity in simplicity." People want good, honest food based on amazing ingredients, but cooked in a simple way. Less is more: they want shorter menus, nothing too complicated. The product and its distinctive flavours is the "heart of the dish."
Speaking of flavours, the emphasis is on local and seasonal products. Travelers and Parisians alike want to taste things they could only eat here and now, that they couldn't get anywhere else. This is actually one of the pleasures of eating out in Paris: the excitement that comes with the arrival of the first 'gariguette' strawberries of the season, the first asparagus from Vaucluse in Provence, the first black truffles from Perigord – knowing that these products will be at their best for a very limited period of time… What is true for restaurants is also true for in-room F&B amenities: forget about global brand ice-creams, candies and orange juice. Well-heeled travelers prefer homemade ice-creams and macarons, freshly-squeezed orange juice. At the Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, our pastries are homemade every day in our kitchen by an award-winning team of pastry chefs led by Pierre Herme, the most prominent pastry chef in France and the world today.