Seen from Paris, blog about Paris

You thought Parisians are witty, arrogant, bitching about everything and anything, obsessed with food and culture, and always up for discussion? Well... you're perfectly right! And you're on the right page to check it out.

Derrière

Derrière, or where to be cool and to be seen in Le Marais

In a quaint courtyard of a 300 year old building, Derrière offers creative food and ambiance to a crowd of trendy Parisians.

I have been thinking about visiting Derrière (which means back or bottom in French) for almost two years now. It is one of these secret places that you know deserves a visit. The reason is: you keep on hearing about them, but not overwhelmingly, not in all trendy newspapers. No, discretely, here and there…

Derrière is the creation of Mourad Mazoud, an Algerian Parisian who’s been shaking around the world of eating since 1988. He opened restaurant 404 in Paris, and in 2002 he opened Sketch in London. Sketch mixes amazing style, amazing art -Mourad is obviously an outstanding collector of Art Installations, in which he seeks to provoke emotions and surprises- and of course amazing food, since he teamed up with Pierre Gagnaire for the kitchen. And that’s when I was eating in London (merely a suburb of Paris these days) that I heard of Derrière. The waiter at sketch told me, as I was looking at an art piece with an open mouth, that I would love Derrière.

Derrière, as one can imagine, is in the back. The Back of 404, the famous Moroccan venue of Mourad Mazoud, and Andy Wahloo, his bar. You cross the cour intérieure, covered with ivy, and you enter in the funkiest restaurant in Paris. His idea was to try to recreate the same impression you get when you walk in somebody’s house. In your home, you NEVER have four same tables with 30 same chairs. That’s why all the tables and chairs are different, and each room of what seems to be a small Marais loft tries to recreate a different room: Living-room, dining-room or bedroom.

The food also want to surprise you. It is an enhanced bistro really, as the basis of inspiration really is Paris food. And the creative menu classifies it by its main ingredients: Egg, Artichoke, Tuna, Beef or Sweetbreads. But then you add the surprises -ginger, jerusalem artichoke or Espelette chili. The cooking itself is good, give or take a few things (a salmon that was too salty. That happens, but it needs to be worked on). But all in all it is worth it, and the dessert menu has a few gems, like the poached pear with sabayon and candied chestnuts… The menu being seasonal (which is a good sign), you will have your own surprises when you visit….

Pricewise, it is expensive -appetizers around 15€, main course around 25€, dessert around 10€, yet you are in a very different place, and surrounded but the Paris cutting-edge scene. So it is competitive with any Parisian venue that has a little something besides the mere food they serve. And frankly, I will go back.

Oh, one last thing. Even if you don’t smoke, take the time to go seat in the fumoir. It’s on the second floor… And it is a must see. You’ll have the impression to be a kid again, or to have been swallowed in a Harry Potter dimension… I am not saying more than that!

Derrière

69 rue des Gravilliers

75003 Paris

Tel: +33 1 44 61 91 95

www.derriere-resto.com