Constant Craving

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
By Pepita Diamand
Cafe Constant's changing menu.

Cafe Constant and its changing menu.

If Paris is the food capital of the world, Rue Saint Dominique in the 7e arrondisement is the epicentre of epicurean delight. That’s where you’ll find not one; not two; but three gastronomic gems – all the creations of award-winning chef, Christian Constant.

Constant’s professional pedigree is hard to beat, with illustrious names like Ledoyen and The Ritz providing the back-story to his impressive career. In 1998, Constant boldly took his career into a new direction, when, having presided over the celebrated kitchens of Les Ambassadeurs at The Hotel Crillon for 8 years, Constant decided to be his own boss and follow every chef’s dream of opening his own restaurant. Talented and determined, Constant turned his dream into a reality, and Violon d’Ingres (named for the painter born in Constant’s home town of Montauban) became (and remains) a hit, serving exceptional, fine French cuisine, in a chic, contemporary setting.

Following the success of Violon, Constant opened two more sauce shops within a stone’s throw of each other; CaféConstant and Les Cocottes. Les Cocottes is the most casual of the three, serving fresh dishes and comfort food (think lamb confit, cocotte of wood pigeon and real Caesar salad) in the buzzy atmosphere of a New York-style diner. They don’t take bookings, but you’ll be seated soon enough – even Sarko and his entourage thought it was worth a short wait.

And then there’s Café Constant – a bijoux little bistrot that makes a mighty big impression. Open from early morning until late at night, the café is always lively, serving croissants and coffee to breakfasting locals, and a changing lunch and dinner menu of what Constant describes as “traditional bistrot food [prepared] to my grandmother’s recipes”. As talented as Contant’s grandmother must have been, it’s hard to imagine anyone’s grandmother creating the masterfully crafted and elegantly presented dishes which Café Constant serves up under the guise (and price) of casual bistrot food. Sublime starters include oysters tartare and lobster ravioli, with mains running the gamut of fresh fish and perfectly cooked meat and game. And if you’re struggling to find room for a delicious dessert, the light-as-air Ile Flottant (a meringue island floating on custard) will satisfy your sweet-tooth without busting your belt.

Café Constant
139, rue Saint-Dominique
Paris, 75007

www.maisonconstant.com

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