Le Printemps (literally “the spring”) is one of the four Parisian department stores, located in the ninth arrondissement on boulevard Haussmann. In addition to the twice-yearly sales and the promotion weeks, they occasionally organize themed events in their stores, setting up temporary stands and attractions, and showing artists’ work.
One such event was Les Invasions Gourmandes in November of last year, during which I hosted a Bar à Veloutés. For the two weeks of the event, they had set up a restaurant éphémère (a temporary restaurant) called Restaurant Elémentaire, with a menu by Pierre Gagnaire and a décor designed by Christian Ghion.
They are just now hosting a similar event called Parenthèse Végétale (vegetal parenthesis) until June 4, and the ephemeral restaurant this time is designed by the über-famous (and medievally coiffed) Matali Crasset and serving food by no other than, drumroll please, Alain Passard of L’Arpège fame.
The restaurant is called Végétable, which sounds more of a pun in French (as the contraction of végétal and table) than in English, but in both cases, it is a good illustration of Passard’s deep love for veggies. The dishes served here are taken straight from the Arpège menu, the vegetables come from Passard’s private garden, and the cooking as well as the service are handled by his usual staff (which wasn’t the case with Gagnaire’s temporary restaurant). This is a unique chance to taste Passard’s cuisine for a fraction of the regular price*.
I went there for lunch on Friday with my friend Alisa, and here is what we sampled, switching half-way through so we could taste everything. (And I apologize for the quality of the pictures which don’t really do the dishes justice, I only had my phone with me.)