Gareth Storey

Before moving to Paris nearly 10 years ago, Gareth Storey worked in London with legendary chefs Jeremy Lee and Margo Henderson at Quo Vadis and Rochelle Canteen respectively. He began his tenure in the City of Lights at the helms of Le Bal Café and Martin Boire et Manger, followed by an array of guest spots at many of the city’s natural wine leaning restaurants, including Chambre Noire, Vertigo and most recently Bar Principal. His passion for produce and offal runs deep: so much so that he soon hopes to open a restaurant serving only tripe and natural wine.

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The Best Bread in Paris (And Maybe Even France)

My favourite bakery and coffee shop in Paris is without doubt Ten Belles. Not only does it make the best sourdough in Paris, but having been to bakeries all over the country, I would go so far as to say it’s the best in France. It always has a great selection of pastries with 10 to 15 different choices. You could go there every day and have something different. It also does savoury things like toasties and these little breakfast buns with cheese and bacon: everything changes daily. I go there for a coffee and always end up buying bread: rye or chocolate and walnut or a multi-grain depending on what they have that day. It’s also a great lunch spot: somewhere to pop in if you don’t want to sit down and have a proper meal in a restaurant. You can go and have a bowl of soup, a pie or a focaccia. It’s a great space and the staff are incredibly friendly.

Superlative Seafood

Olive Davoux has worked at many great places in Paris and is one of my favourite chefs. She opened Sur Mer, a restaurant dedicated to seafood and fish that uses the best quality fish in France. She works directly with the fishermen and never really plans the menu until she gets the produce. She’ll only serve you what she thinks is the best. Even though all the ingredients are French, she makes her own XO sauce and chilli pastes, which I love. You never know what you’ll get. It could be fish with beurre blanc or it could be scallops. The seafood platters are also really delicious. There’s also a great wine list with a lot of mineral whites and Champagnes which are very well suited to the seafood platters and fish dishes. 

Septime’s Seafood-Leaning Restaurant

Clamato is the seafood-leaning sister restaurant of Septime. As great as Septime is, I prefer to go to Clamato as it’s easier to get a table. I think it’s probably one of the best restaurants to open in Paris over the last decade. It’s one of those places that you just walk in and the minute you’ve got your first drink and you’ve ordered your first plate, you just want to stay for two or three hours. It serves half crabs and oysters and I would always start with those. After I would go for the small plates because you’re basically eating Septime plates but without having to reserve a table. It’s conveniently close to Septime La Cave, which is a great spot to go drinking: if you go to Clamato and there are no seats they will put you on the waiting list and then you can walk to Septime Cave, have a few drinks and then they will call to tell you when your table is ready. 

The Best Sunday Night Option in Paris

Run by husband-and-wife team Robert Compagnon and Jessica Yang, Le Rigmarole is a restaurant where everything is cooked over binchotan and amazing pasta dishes are also served. What is special about this place is that it does things that you won’t find in the usual yakitori: chicken kidneys and uterus for example. It’s great for me because they’re open on Sunday nights and it’s probably the best restaurant in the city that’s open on a Sunday night. 

The Best Ice Cream in Paris

Next door, they [Compagnon and Yang] have an ice cream shop called Folderol and you’ll often find them in there serving during the day. It’s a wine bar and ice cream parlour, which I think is a brilliant combination. You can finish a meal at Le Rigmarole, have an ice cream and then think about having another bottle of wine and starting again. They change flavours all the time, but my favourites are probably the American inspired ones: cookies and cream with nice crunchy bits of homemade cookies or speculoos cheesecake. They sound really sweet but they’re really well balanced. I went there the other day and had a bottle of Champagne and an ice cream degustation. Definitely the best ice cream in Paris and perhaps the best ice cream in France.

A Classic Bistro with a Deep Natural Wine Cellar

Le Repaire de Cartouche is one of my favourite bistros in Paris. It’s has been around for about 30 years. It’s run by chef Rodolphe Paquin and his wife and the food is classic French. He does a weekly menu which doesn’t change and then he does a lunch menu that will change every day depending on what he has. One of the desserts is a cheese plate with a selection of six cheeses served on a wooden board and you can eat as much as you like, so I often get the cheese for dessert and then end up getting another bottle of wine and staying for another hour or so. They have a deep cellar and they’ve been buying and selling natural wine since the day they opened, and if you’re lucky enough to become friends with the chef or his wife or one of the waiters, they’ll take you down to the cellar and let you choose the stuff that’s not on the list. It’s a dream to go down there. 

A Traditional Bistro with a Strong Offal Focus

Amarante is another traditional French bistro run by a guy called Christophe who must be one of the hardest working chefs in Paris. He seems to work all the time and it’s his number you call when you want a table. A lot of people aren’t enamoured by the decor because it’s very stripped back but I kind of like that. You go into a room and it’s quite plain with a few natural wine posters on the walls. There’s only one waiter so often the chef will bring the food out. The best thing about this restaurant is that Christophe probably cooks the best offal in Paris. Things like brains, pig’s feet, heart and liver, often cooked very simply and served with a salad. It’s a great place to go if you want to try traditional French food but with a bit more finesse.

“It’s a Mix of the Old School and the New School”

Stephane Jego is regarded as a sort of Gordon Ramsay figure in Paris. He is the chef at L’Ami Jean. It’s an old room with an open kitchen and he’ll often scream at waiters and clap his hands loudly and will mock American tourists for not understanding the food if they complain about anything. It’s a bit of a show and a mix of the old school and the new school. The best time to go is at lunchtime when it’s less expensive: you’ll often get an offal dish like an ox tongue salad or something like beef cheeks. He’s famous for the all-you-can-eat rice pudding at the end of the meal, but by the time you’ve finished you can rarely eat more than one bowl.

 Late-Night Natural Wine, Cheese and Dancing

À la Renaissance was in the trendy part of town long before the 11th arrondissement became fashionable. It’s a local bistro that has been serving natural wine since it opened in the late 80s or early 90s. My two favourite things about this place are that there is always andouillette (pig tripe sausage) on the menu; and that it opens until 2am so I like to go there after service and have some food and a few bottles of wine. It’s not really an industry place and I like the fact that you go there and it’s just full of locals and often gets a bit rowdy. The owner Régine and her staff put the music up really loud and dance around while you sit there with a plate of cheese and a bottle of wine. It’s special and brilliant. 

One of the Biggest Influences on My Cooking

Le Baratin has been one of the biggest influences on my cooking. When I first moved to Paris, I would go and eat lunch there all the time: at 15 euros for three courses, it was an absolute bargain. Lunch is a little more now, but it is still excellent value. The chef Raquel Carena just does everything so well. Her cooking is faultless. The food has always been consistently good and I’ve never had a bad meal there. What I have really enjoyed over the last two years is they’ve hired this young man Charles to take over the front of house. He was in the kitchen and then a waiter left and he stepped in. He has brought another dimension to the experience and it’s made drinking there a lot easier. Sometimes they’ll take you down to the cellar and ask you if you want to do a blind tasting. You tell them your budget and go for it. 

A New Cave a Manger

Délicatessen Place is a new cave a manger that my friend Hugh Corcoran has opened next to Délicatessen Cave, my favourite wine shop. I like it because the staff have a really great understanding of wine and don’t try to oversell you past your budget. It also has the best range of magnums in Paris. What’s great is that you can now get a bottle from the shop and drink it next door with some food. Hugh is a chef who loves wine so this is perfect for him. He’s cooking a daily changing menu with influences from French, Basque and Italian cuisine. It will have things like tripes à la niçoise, daube de boeuf à la provençale and asparagus with pecorino: just really simple and delicious dishes made with excellent produce. 

Heir to the Bistronomy Throne

Yorkshireman Jack Bosco previously worked at Le Grand Bain and is now at La Vierge. I would put him up there as one of the best cooks in Paris. He’s adventurous and pushes himself very hard. He starts work at three o’clock and what he manages to prep between then and six-thirty when La Vierge opens is truly impressive. He often posts the menus on Instagram before service so you can get a taste of what he’ll do but there are always some surprises. He takes influence from all over. It could be an English pie or an Italian braise. There’s nowhere else in Paris where you can eat like this. Au Passage was the originator of this style of cooking and now I can’t really see anyone else doing that quite as well apart from Bosco. It’s a treat to go and eat there anytime.

Inspirational Asian 

Ama Siam is the sister restaurant to the perennially popular Lao Siam next door. They are both owned by three brothers. Ama Siam is a much smaller place where one of the brothers Fred does the cooking while the other two [Nico and Alex] run the floor. Fred is a great cook and really enjoys making fermented chilli sauces that are spicy and funky. He’s always experimenting and there’s always something new to try. What makes it very special is that they are cooking their mother’s recipes but they are using great quality ingredients, so you can really taste the difference in the dishes – whether it’s pork from Auvergne or chicken from Bresse. I have to mention that they have a great wine list. They work directly with a lot of small producers and have a great understanding of which wines will go well with the spiciness of their food. I think so many people overlook it because Lao Siam is so popular but I would highly recommend it to anyone. 

The Best Sweetbreads in the City

A French bistro with a twist, Le Servan is a lovely unassuming place in the 11th arrondissement. The chef Tatiana Levha is one of the best in Paris and is inspired by influences from all over the world but especially from her French and Filipina background. Although the menu changes often, there are usually some constants like the boudin noir wanton and the Thai style clams, both of which I highly recommend. I think she cooks the best sweetbreads in Paris. I always order that dish. The garnish changes depending on the season. Last time the sweetbreads were served with artichokes. 

Late-night Liquor

Named after the Iggy Pop song, Sister Midnight is a bar in the sleazy part of town up in Pigalle. My friends Jen and Joe used to work together at a bar called Red House where they’re still part-owners, but they wanted to open their own place that better fitted their personalities. They make great cocktails and they have hosted drag shows on Fridays and Saturday since the day they opened. It is a beautiful spot inspired by 70s Berlin with lots of mirrors and velvet curtains. When you are at the bar sipping a drink you definitely don’t feel like you’re in Paris.

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