The palatial Peninsula Paris has recently undergone a £600 million renovation and it is looking more majestic than ever. The original 19th Haussmann details have been kept beautifully in tact while stunning additions like the lobby’s cascading glass installation add a touch of modern sophistication.
I visited a few weeks ago to try out the celebrated rooftop restaurant which arguably, boasts the best views of the city. L’Oiseau Blanc is an aviation themed eatery, which pays homage to the flight Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli attempted across the Atlantic in 1927. Look out for the full scale replica of fated plane on the Peninsula Paris roof (the journey was sadly unsuccessful).
For a food photographer the light on a summer’s night up at L’Oiseau Blanc could not be more perfect. While the restaurant was empty I relished the opportunity to snap away from every angle. It felt very special to be toasting our glasses of champagne in sight of the iconic Eiffel Tower.
The service was immaculate from start to finish, smart waiters attended to every detail of the meal, ensuring we always had enough water and there were no crumbs on the table! Delightful little mouthfuls arrived with the freshly baked bread to whet our appetite for the meal ahead.
Chef Sidney Redel selects seasonal ingredients to create a fresh and exciting menu each day though there are a few favourites that appear frequently. To start we picked Chicken Ravioli and white cuttlefish and the vegetarian salad. For a warm evening there were the perfect choices, light and subtle recipes but with plenty of flavour. The single ravioli was concealed within a neat pile of radishes, cherry tomatoes, Rainier cherries and sauteed chanterelle mushrooms, adding sweetness and seasoning to the delicate pasta. My salad tasted very Provencal with fine green beans and a delicious dressing.
Main courses were rather more robust, impressive, fine cuts of meat and fish paired with creative accompaniments. The John Dory was cooked to perfection though slightly overpowered by the strong scarmorza cheese and Lardo di Colonnata, and I felt the black olive tapenade wasn’t necessary. Duck from Paul Renault roasted with nutmeg was a hit, indulgently caramelised meat on a bed of Sicilian aubergine caviar and oyster mushrooms. Wine was offered to us, carefully chosen by the sommelier to match the food choices.
For dessert we took our waiters advice and ordered the kitchen speciality, ‘L’Envol’, a magical sphere of dark chocolate filled with chocolate biscuit and custard, sorbet and fresh raspberries and hazelnut streusel. It was a masterpiece, rich and decadent with a good balance of chocolate and fruit. We also sampled the meringue with coconut, raspberry and black cherry. It was a pleasant pudding though the red fruits element made it quite similar to the first dessert.
L’Oiseau Blanc is an occasion restaurant, with fine food, exemplary service and postcard views, it will make you feel special from the moment you step out of the lift.
More information and book a table at L’Oiseau Blanc here.