|4, rue d'Anjou|
Tel: 1 83 96 88 70
Metro: Line #1 Concorde
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
1.5 - Star...............................................................€€€........................................................... 2 - Bell
We love to explore, so a friend selected this restaurant "Le Raymonde" which is part of the International "Buddha Bar" hotel chain that includes bars and restaurants. I usually don't like eating in hotels because I find them too "artificial"and generic. Don't get me wrong, some of them can be extremely beautiful, classic, and decorated to the 9's, but I for one am one of those types that like to explore neighborhood restaurants.
No doubt about it, the hotel is beautiful. As you entered the red lights, and the Asian theme are undeniable. It almost feels like what Old Shanghai was like in the 40's, almost half expectedly waiting to see an opium den. We were seated in the terrace since it was a beautiful mild Spring day.
As we waited for our friend we had some aperitifs and perused the menu. The menu was quite pricey, but they did have a "pre-fix" lunch special which you could have all 2-courses for 29€ (entrée, plat) or add a dessert and it will cost you 39€, which seemed reasonable. We also perused the wine menu, quite extensive, and also very, very pricey.
One person got the Gaspacho de légumes verts (Cold gazpacho soup made of green vegetables). Anything cold, you have to have a little heavy hand with the spices. Again, "fade", "fade", "fade". It was edible, but you really needed to add pepper. Our friend added sriracha as well to give it some semblance of something other than green glob. Plus, I might be a little nit-picky, but they really should have strained the soup (broth portion) to give a more smooth consistency. I couldn't discern if I was eating a piece of vegetable or if it was just not blended well.
One person had the Filets de rougets sautés, caviar d'aubergine (Red mullet fillets sautéed eggplant caviar). Surprisingly the fish was actually good, and was cooked perfect to my liking. But the mushed up eggplant that the fish sat atop was disgusting. I really disliked it alot. It was not only bland, but it was visually not appealing. It looked like gray matter.
Lastly, we had a cheese plate rather than a dessert. After eating the food, I'm glad we did not order the desserts. I can only imagine what it would've tasted like. The cheese plate had a nice variety and was nicely presented. The cheese plate, the bread and butter and wine were our saving grace.
I don't normally like Asian food cooked by Europeans who don't make an attempt to keep some of the characteristics of the original dish. Granted, I want them to put their own twist and personality into their food, but to lose its soul and identity is unforgivable. I've known many an Asian Chefs in Paris who've added their Asian sensibilities to French cuisine, and it has been some of the best food I've ever tasted. I just wish they would get it right at the Buddha Bar, since that is their signature/identity. Oh well.
The service was excellent. The terrace is lovely. The indoor restaurant is very nicely decorated and has a very warm feeling. The "looping music" they had playing was a bit noisy and annoying, but I think that's to attract a younger crowd. Will I go back for the food? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But I may go back for wine or cocktails, since that's what they're known for.
And, the price point was absolutely insulting. For 4-glasses of wine, plus a bottle of Samur Champigny, a half-bottle of Sancere, and 2-coffees with the menu our bill came to a ridiculous 215€ for 3-people!
Lesson learned, 'BEAUTY IS SKIN DEEP' and it applies to food as well.