- Les Pommes de terre.
- Du beurre.
- De la crème.
- Du sel et du poivre.
There you have it; essentially, the recipe for mashed potato. You can thank me later. Of course, the French don’t call it mashed potato, they call it Pommes Purée. An altogether more glamorous description, hinting at the combination of carefully-sourced potatoes, the luxury of double-cream and a top-secret sieving/beating/whipping technique; one you imagine every French chef believes is their own. Perhaps that is why the waiter at Brasserie Lutetia, Paris, was so open to sharing this disarmingly simple recipe (you will understand my enthusiasm when you taste it). I have always had a weakness for mashed potato and, like many busy/lazy twenty-somethings who don't deter from the reliable baked potato, I always believed my Mum’s mash to be the best. As I savoured the Lutetia pommes purée, memories of family dinners rushed back: sausages and mash, fish pie...tough homework or fall-out with a friend would fade into a fluffy white oblivion while such meals were enjoyed. However, France has a decidedly different spin on this staple British comfort-food and, for this dish, Brasserie Lutetia cannot be rivalled. When presented with a mini-saucepan of potato that is silky, velvety and rebelliously oily around the edges, you know you have arrived somewhere special. Partner this with thyme-infused chicken or filet of beef and it’s almost too good, it’s naughty. Take your lover, start with the numero 5 oysters, and you’ll have a seduction scene to rival A Bout De Souffle.
Like most memorable restaurants, food is not everything. Brasserie Lutetia is an experience; a Left-Bank destination. Designed by Sonia and Slavik Rykiel, you’ll sit amongst the most striking art-deco interiors this side of Miami (fitting for Lutetia’s notably artistic clientèle). Light reflecting from mirrored surroundings makes people-watching all-the-more tempting and invites you to indulge in a luxurious atmosphere that you just don’t find in nearby bistros. Now, I loved practising French with my Grandfather, hoping to watch-the-world-go-by from a chair on a Parisian sidewalk (coffee and notebook in hand). But, for a different spin on Paris and one you can’t help but feel is more authentic, Brasserie Lutetia’s food, service and ambience will not disappoint. Almost an aside, the Brasserie belongs to Hotel Lutetia, imposing but elegant on the intersection between two St. Germain streets, an area not yet besieged by tourists. As the hotel celebrates its’ Centennary this year, Brasserie Lutetia will deserve all the attention it receives.
Watch the video above for a gastronomic preview...
Images: Brasserie Lutetia