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.

MBC – Gilles Choukroun, a taste of authenticity in a fake district

C’est vrai, the headline is a bit provocative, but the 17th district, towards Porte Maillot, is not at all my cup of tea. Yet, a few genuine restaurants are to be found among the expensive dumps for rich tourists, Parisian nouveaux riches and Neuilly conservatives, and Gilles Choukroun probably opened the most interesting of them.

The chef is already famous, and he has been working with all kinds of corporate patrons, and has even been a food consultant for French hotel giant multinational firm Accor. So after all, this location on the west side of the City of Lights, towards the Champs-Elysées and La Défense, makes sense.  It is of course not his first restaurant, as he threw himself in the adventure as early as age 24, and has already conquered Paris with a Michelin star and some very hype joints, like Mini-palais, in the exquisite Grand Palais.

But this time, with MBC (which stands for Mint-Basil-Cilantro), he proposes something less trendy, a little more intimate. The cuisine here is full fusion, playing around with oysters, peas and cocoa, and always light. Everything is set on the freshness of the ingredient, and walks away from our traditional French cuisine with sauces and more sauces. The result is simply delicious and -almost- healthy.

But the real drive that made me go there was also the decor. For whatever reason, Gilles Choukroun hired one of my favorite team of Parisian street-artists to ornate his restaurant, and the result is incredible. First, because seeing in the Porte Maillot area a restaurant decorated with graffiti is just like attending a Lady Gaga concert from the balcony of Saint-Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The artists (Mostly DaCruZ, Popof and Marko93) are to be found along the Ourcq Canal and Pantin, in the popular North-East of Paris, where they have covered entire streets with colors, masks and lively poetry. MBC seems like an embassy from another galaxy, in which over-the-top bourgeoises and stressed-out businessmen would come take a walk, or a bite, on the wild side.

The prices are not too bad given the location, and actually pretty good given the quality of the food. One can eat for 50/60€ at night, and will remember it with a smile the next morning.

So if you ever are to have diner in that area of town, it is definitely one of the places to consider. For the taste, and for the eyes!

MBC – Gilles Choukroun

4 rue du Débarcadère – 75017 Paris (metro Argentine/Porte Maillot)

Tel: +33 1 45 72 22 55

Website: MBC – Gilles Choukroun