Monday, 07 October 2013
Hôtel de NELL & La Régalade Conservatoire in Paris. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio
September is my favorite month to travel in Europe and this year I decided to add Paris to my itinerary so I could visit Diane and other friends. (I hadn't been to Paris in 4 years!) My trip started out on a sweet note when I was invited to stay two nights at the superb Hôtel de NELL, located in the heart of the 9th arrondissement, the center of Paris. And while this is a bustling area, the 5-star luxury hotel is tucked away on the peaceful corner of rue Sainte-Cécile and rue du Conservatoire. A relative newcomer on the Paris hotel scene, the NELL opened back in February.
The hotel, left, and the Saint-Eugène-Sainte-Cécile Church, which was built between 1854 and 1856. Of note: On January 10, 1857, writer Jules Verne married Honorine Viane here. And since 1989, the mass is celebrated in the church both under the Paul VI ritual (that is, in French) and under the St Pius V ritual (in Latin, priest turning his back to the faithful).
I grew up reading Jules Verne novels and would have loved to see the inside of the church--but it was closed for the two days I was staying at the NELL.
Hôtel de NELL was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte whose objective is not limited to "creating for the sake of creation, but reconciling man with his environment and culture." Wilmotte likes clean lines and warm materials. I really loved the spare look of the room. Very serene and chic without feeling clinical or boring.
This is the bed in the Prestige room I stayed in. Sandy tones are dominant in the room and I found the blonde wood and textured beige floor to be very zen and relaxing.
Wilmotte is a big fan of the "recessed joint principle", which is a vacuum soldering of two walls. The recessed joint connects two masses while reducing their volume and highlighting an architectural approach.
"Not a ceiling, not a desk, not a single line is without a recessed joint. Aesthetic rigor means not a single air conditioning or CMV grate will intrude upon those lines, and the recessed joints themselves become vents in all the rooms and bathrooms."
Exclusive Artemide bedside lamps rise out of the panelled headboard. All the lights are 100% LED. I really like the industrial accent the lamps added to the otherwise clean, monochromatic design.
My room's pièce de résistance: a Japanese bathtub carved out of a single block of raw marble, bathed in natural light. The tray, seat and footstool are made from the lightest Oregon myrtlewood. I thought the seat was a bit strange but then again, I've never taken a bath in Japan! The bath products were superb, especially the body scrub.
I loved the bath's faucet.
There was a fabulous rain shower with stone-colored walls...
...a very design-y, anti-fog mirror...
...and two raw, white-marble basins.
I really liked the office chair with an articulated back.
One of the views from my room: the former Comptoir National d'Escompte with its clasically Parisian dome.
My other view was of this quiet pedestrian street.
I really loved the weathered 13th-century mockup facade of Saint-Eugène-Sainte-Cécile Church which faces the front of the hotel.
I loved the bar lobby because they stocked the kinds of not-so-trendy spirits one might find chez Belverio: Byrrh, Dolin vermouth, Lillet, Chartreuse.
Behind the bar lobby is a lounge with a glass ceiling and Wimotte-designed sofas.
Family portrait time: My friend, the journalist Rebecca Voight (center), joined me in the lobby for a cocktail with her kids, Joe and Jan.
If you know me, you know all about my love for Negronis (mine are known as Belgronis™) so of course I had to try the NELL's drier variation on this classic aperitif cocktail (although the bartender didn't seem to appreciate me comparing it to a Negroni.) The Kina is made with Byrrh, Citadelle gin and Dolin Blanc and it was wonderful.
Rebecca opted for the Nell's Vesper: Lillet blanc, Citadelle gin, Cîroc and zeste de citron. (She loved it.)
Above: Dinner began with some rustic chicken terrine (one of the chef's signatures), bread and cornichons
After cockails, Rebecca's kids left to go out and paint the town rouge, and Rebecca and I relocated to the NELL's formidable restaurant, La Régalade Conservatoire. Unlike a lot of hotel restaurants where breakfast is routine but dinner is ignored in favor of the outside world, La Régalade Conservatoire has become one of Paris's top gastronome destinations. We were seated at 8 and by 8:30 there wasn't an empty seat in the joint. Reservations typically need to be made one week in advance.
The chef, Bruno Doucet, took the reins of the original La Régalade from Yves Camdeborde in 2004 after learning the ropes in the kitchens of Pierre Gagnaire, Charles Barrier and Jean-Pierre Vigato. At La Régalade Conservatoire, Doucet's philosophy is "in-season ingredients that I enjoy waiting for and then rediscovering, and precise, learned, repeated techniques that transform them." In short, haute cuisine at bistro prices.
A view of the restaurant a few hours before dinner time--as spare and chic as the hotel's rooms.
As a starter, I had the royal foie gras and chicken wings in a creamy mushroom broth. Orgasmic!
Rebecca had the creamy cuttlefish risotto with chili-and-garlic-roasted prawns and "La vache qui rit" cheese emulsion. It was an explosion of flavors and textures and I couldn't stop digging my spoon in "just to try it."
As my main, I chose the scorpion fish fillet cooked in a bouillabaisse with snow peas and shaved fennel. The flesh of the fish was rich and full of favor--not like a mild white fish at all. The sauce was perfection.
Rebecca with her main: Catfish "stung" with chorizo, cooked beans from Paimpol Xeres and tomatoes. At this point we were past the champagne and well into our red wine--and gossipping up a storm, I'm sure--so I think I forgot to try this one. I'm sorry I didn't because I adore the idea of fish stung with chorizo!
The dessert....the dessert! It was an absolute triumph! Soufflé Grand-Marnier served piping hot and boozy. Later that night in my comfy bed at the hotel, I had a dream about this soufflé--and when I woke up, my pillow was gone!
Rebecca had Kouign Aman served warm, caramelized apples with cardamom and homemade sorbet. A perfect early-fall dessert.
After dinner we wandered around looking for a nice bar to have a nightcap--we didn't find anything that great (Paris sure is sleepy compared to NYC! Not that there's anything wrong with that) but there are plenty of charming locales near the hotel.
This was some kind of financial institution at the end of the street from the hotel. Grand!
The NELL is near a lot of iconic venues, such as the Folies Bergère. I think the scaffolding is up because the gilded tuchas of the theater's famous Deoc dancer was being polished!
Also nearby is the eternal Parisian favorite, the confectioner A la Mere de Famille (founded in 1761). The NELL serves complimentary bonbons from here at their front desk and of course I stopped by to pick up some (expensive) gifts for my co-workers at Tiffany's in New York!
Another view of the NELL's bar lobby.
Thanks for reading!
Thursday, 16 August 2012
Going Cuckoo over Cupcakes at the Kooky Edinburgh Fringe
Thanks to the utter madness that descends on Scotland's capital each August, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival leaves an eccentric hangover in what's otherwise a city that sees itself as a bastion of pleasant vistas, cordial manners and good old-fashioned taste. Which is precisely why young rabble-rousers like Vidya Sarjoo and Graham Savage have set up shop here. Their cozy tea room, called Cuckoo's Bakery, certainly oozes with nostalgia and Edinburgh's traditional charm. But make no mistake -- the pair's most popular product - cheeky cupcakes - are often laced with a naughty streak.
Down in the pantry, past the usual culinary paraphernalia and sugarcraft trimmings, is a corner that looks more like a cocktail bar than a baker's den. Tequila, whiskey, spirits, liqueurs -- you name it -- if it's boozy, there's probably a bottle of it tucked away here somewhere. For this is one tea room that's not exactly teetotal. Each Friday, locals pile in for one of Cuckoo's cocktail cupcakes -- Margarita, Mojito and Champagne & Raspberry are just a few of the eye-catching and luscious cupcakes that have been concocted by these two merry mixologists. But fear not if you are in detox or rehab, decadence still abounds through their everyday (non-alcoholic) assortment of mouthwatering classic flavours, seasonal creations and conversation-starters like 'Death by Chocolate' or 'The Elvis' which is a banana and chocolate chip sponge with a peanut butter frosting. And despite all the hedonistic recipes and revelery, service at Cuckoo's is both cheerful and punctual. Perhaps it has something to do with that giant cuckoo clock that keeps chirping on the hour.
This month's exotic summer holiday range (pictured in the very first image of 6 cupcakes) includes:
--- Lychee and Lime – a lime sponge cupcake filled with lime and lychee curd, topped with lychee buttercream.
--- Pistachio, Lime and Basil – pistachio and basil sponge with a zingy lime and basil buttercream.
--- Strawberries and Cream – a cupcake homage to the classic Wimbledon fare. Delicious fresh strawberry sponge topped with vanilla buttercream, fresh strawberries and meringue.
--- Summer Fruit Smoothie – classic vanilla sponge filled with a raspberry and kiwi coulis, topped with banana buttercream
--- Pimm’s – a royal union of orange, peppermint & Pimm's sponge with a lime and Pimm’s jelly filling, crowned with a strawberry cucumber buttercream.
--- Lemon & Blueberry Cheesecake – a summertime favourite with a Cuckoo’s twist. Lemon, blueberry and white choc chip cheesecake sponge with lemon cream cheese frosting.
Cuckoo's Bakery, 150 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 5DQ, Scotland, United Kingdom
tel: +44 (0)131 556 6224 / www.cuckoosbakery.co.uk
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Cafe Kristall opening at Swarovski Crystallized in New York. By Glenn Belverio
Above: A witty interpretation of a classic chandelier, Light Sock was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. I loved the larva-cocoon look of it.
Dear Shaded Viewers,
Last night we attended the opening of Cafe Kristall at Swarovski Crystallized in Soho, which is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Kurt Gutenbrunner. (He also owns my favorite Austrian restaurant in New York, Blaue Gans). The Austrian canapes at the party got me in the mood for my upcoming return to Vienna in September and I definitely want to come back and try the white-asparagus soup and weiner schnitzel. Kurt's first cookbook, "Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna", was just published by Rizzoli and can be purchased at Cafe Kristall.
The space was designed by New York-based Swiss architect Christian Wassmann to be modern and Austrian, urbane and comfortable. The arch in this photo is made from faceted cherry wood and it's a nice juxtaposition to the show-stopping Swarovski Crystal Palace chandelier. (There's also a small chandelier designed by Tom Dixon called Ball that hangs by the Mercer Street entrance.)
Jazz band Carte Blanche provided the soiree's music and they were delightful. So much nicer than just another snotty hipster DJ!
We needed Marlene Dietrich to croon "The Boys in the Backroom" for this moment: Patrick McDonald, moi and fellow Shaded View contributor Sr. Marcelo Horacio Maquieira who is in town for work visiting from Amsterdam.
To get you in the mood for a rare steak, the downstairs dining room boasts this vivid splatter painting by famed Austrian painter Hermann Nitsch, on loan from Mike Weiss Gallery. The chairs are by Thonet from Adolf Loos' design for his legendary Cafe Museum in Vienna (which I visited on my first trip to Vienna, back in 2002).
Singer Carole Pope and Patrick McDonald pose in front of a Glitter Box designed by Georg Baldele. The silver curtains are from Backhausen, the traditional Austrian fabric house.
Detail of the Hermann Nitsch painting.
Above: Two photos of the space taken by Adrian Wilson
Carole, me and Marcelo reflected in one of the cafe's wall ornaments.
Further reading: My report on MQ Vienna Fashion Week 2011
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
BACK IN LA, THE OINKSTER, AND MORE
I just arrived back in LA on Sunday night after 3 amazing months in Mexico City. Somehow its always quite complicated to come back to this city which I spent a great deal of time in my life on and off for the past 15 years but have never considered my home. Not the easiest place in the world to just "pop into" for a couple of days without a car and all the other staples of LA life. I will be here for the next couple of days catch up with old friends and having a couple of meetings. Then head to visit my Mom and sister in San Diego and spend some time swimming in the ocean. I cant wait.
Yesterday I had lunch (a delicious burger) at my good friend Frederick Guerrero restaurant The Oinkster. Fred's father Andre Guerrero, who is considered one of the tops chiefs in LA, created The Oinkster for his two sons Fred and Max, and since its opening in 2006 it has become one of the West Coast newest in a long line of legendary burger joints. Housed in a 1950s A Frame structure, the restaurant servers up gourmet American fair from burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, pastrami and rotisserie chicken among other classic American favorites on the menu. In 2010 the restaurant was rated as one of the top 10 restaurants in America by Yelp.
Fred and his brothers young entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ideas such as "burger week" combined with chief Guerrero's incredible food sense has made The Oinkster into a southern california food phenomenon.
The the past three months, since I was in Mexico, The Oinkster was renovated and it looks great, please see pics below. If you are here in the LA area, check out The Oinkster as well as the Guerrero's other most recent LA success, their Italian restaurant MAXIMILIANO in Highland Park, which you might remember that I reported on the opening of last Oct.
Monday, 25 June 2012
The Mermaid Parade 30th Anniversary in Coney Island, June 23, 2012. By Glenn Belverio
Dear Shaded Viewers,
Summer in New York had its proper pagan welcome in Coney Island at the 30th anniversary of the Mermaid Parade.
For full report and photos, please visit my blog Confessions from the Velvet Ropes
Friday, 11 November 2011
AFTERNOON TEA AT L'OPERA RESTAURANT, PARIS
Last month, while in Paris, I met Chika Yamauchi for afternoon tea at beautiful l'Opear restaurant at L'Opear. I was taking a back by incredible harmony that the new structure and restaurant has with the famous Persian opera house. The restaurant designed by Odile Decq and her late partner, architect and Benoit Cornette seems be in complete sync with the original building designed by 19th century french architect Charles Garneir. Despite its commentary shapes, forms, and dramatic red and white color scheme, the integration and synergy of the original building and the new environment and construction is remarkable.
Sunday, 16 October 2011
There is a rumor about Adrover
Dear Shaded Viewers:
There is a rumor about the imminent return of Miguel Adrover to the catwalks...
Coincidence or not, a documentary about the Spanish designer was recently presented during the last edition of the Zurich Film Festival.
Directed by Regine Lettner and shot on location in Majorca, New York, Egypt, Turkey and Butzbach (Germany), features testimonies by Suzy Menkes, Harold Koda, and Marylou Luther as well as Eric Daman, Mei Zou or Jennifer Rossi (who worked with Miguel during the first years of his career).
Adrover has been working for Hessnatur during the last 5 years.
Miguel and his personal assistant, Georgina Ordinas (wearing a dress from FW2001), attended the premier of the documentary.
Once in Majorca, she invited me to visit the studio of this genuine designer...
After the adventure, I met Marcos and Lucas, who work at Es Jaç, the bar of Miguel in the center of Palma. It was temporarily closed because a water leak problem but they opened its doors just for me... how sweet! Thank you guys!
I loved how they created a seat just with a broken jar...
And finally, at Georgina's home, where we watched the documentary :-)
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
RICK OWENS MONTHLY PARTY THE SPOTLIGHT CLUB W/ MATTHEW STONE DJING
After ASVOFF 4 after party at SILENCO Sat night I met up with my friend Paris based, Austrian born make up artist Michelle Rainer and she took me to Rick Owens monthly party called. The Spotlight Club. Matthew Stone djed and the party was a mix of London and Paris art and fashion scene. I hadn't met Matthew before but knew he was good friends with my good friend Millie Brown (both members of art collective !WOWOW! along with Gareth Pugh who was also in attendance) so we had a quick chat and took a picture together to send to Millie.
ME AND MICHELLE RAINER ACTUALLY AND SOCRATES
RICK AND MICHELE'S SHOES ON THE DANCE FLOOR ME
PARIS ON THE RIVER AT 4AM...ONE OF MY FAVIORTE TIMES TO SEE THE CITY
Saturday, 02 July 2011
Christine Phung and Sadaharu Hoshino designed the unforms for bar and restaurant of the new Mandarin Oriental Paris luxury hotel
The very luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group which already operates in 25 countries has launched its first address in Paris, rue Saint Honoré, on the 28th of June. As it often occured abroad, this should attract design & architecture media attention, especially bars & restaurants designed by Patrick Jouin/Sanjit Manku, combining a cocooning and intimate experience with chic surroundings. The culinary direction of the "Sur Mesure" gourmet restaurant and the "Camelia" modern restaurant has been given to Michelin starred chef Thierry Marx.
Christine Phung and Sadaharu Hoshino, both former IFM designers (2002), have been chosen for the creation of uniforms for head waiters of the "Bar 8" and "Sur Mesure". A few days before the opening, had been offered the opportunity to make a photoshoot of the creations in the fabulous haute-couture and nature surroundings.
Photography : Cyrille Weiner
Design-Stylism : Christine Phung + Sadaharu Hoshino
Art-direction : David Herman
Casting Director : Elodie Dermouche
Post-Production : Eglantine Aubry
Make-up : Takako Ollivier-Noborio
Hair : Stéphane Clavier
Photo Assistant : Robin Petillaut
Models : Ioana Bradeanu@Nathalie, Yulia@City-Model
Thursday, 26 August 2010
FEDERAL CAFE ---NOW OPEN! --- A Taste of Possum Creek in Barcelona by Alex Murray-Leslie
Dear Diane, Dear Shaded Viewers,
I've just returned from a delightful, explorative trip of Brazil, (I'll be posting a report for Diane shortly...) to be so surprised to find FEDERAL CAFE open in Barcelona. Federal is like a taste of Arty Gertrude St, Melbourne or fast and fashionable Sydney, and believe me, its well over due! I love the Spanish cafes of course! but have to say, they're never ever really built for hanging out, people watching and all that jazz! The instant SMASH HIT, Federal cafe is run by partners in crime Nigel and Crick, creators of global, gob stopping, lolly store, Papa Bubble.
Pics from the opening....Federal cafe, C/ Parlament 3, 08015 Barcelona (telèfon 931 873 607 firstname.lastname@example.org)