You may remember that I spent a superb 24 hours at the Relais Bernard Loiseau in October 2017. I was absolutely enchanted by both the establishment and the cuisine on offer, and I was thrilled to discover the Parisian restaurant Loiseau Rive Gauche, awarded one Michelin star. At the helm was the young chef Maxime Laurenson, who guided us through an unforgettable culinary soirée. Check out my photo diary of our experience.
A Passionate and Talented Young Chef
We head to the 7th arrondissement in Paris, only a stone’s throw from the National Assembly. In 1999, Bernard and Dominique Loiseau bought a new restaurant called “Tante Margeurite.” Renamed “Loiseau Rive Gauche” in 2016, the restaurant has remained under chef Maxime Laurenson’s direction ever since. We need only meet this rising star to realize that he’s truly passionate about his work! He’s kind and approachable, and it’s a delight to speak to him in his own kitchen, helping us to better understand his vision of French cuisine.
After earning his chops at the Mère Brazier with Matthieu Viannay in Lyon (2 Michelin stars) and at the Table de Lancaster with Julien Roucheteau in Paris (another 2 stars), this expert in cuisine joined the Bernard Loiseau group and was given carte blanche to build his own culinary identity. 2018 was an emotionally charged year for Laurenson, from his acquisition of a Michelin star to his winning the title “Young Talent 2018,” awarded by Gault Millau.
Originally from Auvergne, the chef places an emphasis on regional products. His cuisine is inspired by small-scale local farmers. It makes heavy use of plants and aromatic herbs, as evidenced by the hay-smoked butter served with every meal, as well as the numerous colorful accents that punctuate each dish.
A Feast for the Senses
There’s nothing like the ten-course “Pleins Champs” set menu to discover Maxime’s universe. It begins with hors d’oeuvres, poetically named “Walk in the Countryside at Your Fingertips” before continuing with the first dish, which showcases regional products in no uncertain terms. This appetizer features an egg with bacon, Saint-Nectaire cheese, and cumin. It’s hard to describe the first bite, but I can tell you that it’s terribly addictive! Next up, a seafood dish: the “N° 1 Tonic” oyster, part of the spring 2018 collection, accentuated by cucumber and lovage. It’s fresh and delicious, and perfectly offset by the astonishing beverage chosen to accompany it.
At Loiseau Rive Gauche, pairing dishes with drinks is not restricted to wine; we discover other beverages as well, such as this detox brew with a few drops of gin that accompanies the oyster. Next up is a salmon confit with peach and queen-of-the-meadow, truly an explosion of flavors, followed by the pike and smoked eel, combined beautifully with a glass of stout. Then comes the arctic char from the springs of Oron (southeastern France) with saffron and buckwheat, featuring a delicate spiced flavor.
Now it’s time for the meat! The godiveau is surprising, but a total delight for the senses. I must admit that I was apprehensive about this particular dish, as I’m not generally a fan of offal. But I try to keep an open mind, and in the end I’m thrilled to make a new discovery! We continue with the wood-fired duckling seasoned with geranium, a perfect combination of tradition and modernity in line with our young chef’s aesthetic. Next, we move on to cheeses; a tray arrives with six passengers on board, three from the chef’s own region of Auvergne and three from Burgundy, the home of Bernard Loiseau.
For dessert, the chef sets the bar very high with wild and cultured berries accompanied by an orgeat almond sorbet. It’s fresh, original, and completely divine, more delicious than I had even imagined when I read the menu! Then we’re transported back to our childhood with Raphaelle’s hazelnut dessert, an indescribably delectable treat. Finally we’re served the tenth course, the peaty smoked chocolate accompanied by a glass of whisky, ending our set menu on a high note. A few extra treats such as an apricot-jasmine lollipop, fruit jelly candies, and a bit of marshmallow leave us feeling sated. And to top it all off, we’re offered madeleine cakes upon leaving, allowing us to continue our culinary experience the following morning.
The restaurant’s décor is elegant and subtle, featuring wood paneling and a number of modern accents. The service is conscientious and attentive throughout the meal, whether it’s coming from restaurant manager Erick Donzeau or from the service staff itself. A successful gourmet dining experience obviously relies on the quality of the dishes on offer, but also on the excellence of the service – and both are guaranteed here!
I strongly recommend dining at Maxime Laurenson’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Loiseau Rive Gauche, which perfectly combines the chef’s Auvergne-based roots and authentic flavors with modern culinary technique to achieve a marvelous result. I fell in love with his gourmet creations from the meal’s beginning to its end. The wine pairings were also astonishing, adding to the unique quality of this establishment.
- 45 € for the “Ephémère” set menu at lunchtime, 75 € for the “Plein Champs” seven-course set menu, and 105 € for the ten-course evening set menu. 82 € for the “Climat de Saison” eight-course evening set menu.
- Wine pairings starting at 75 €
- More information available on their website
Thank you to Loiseau Rive Gauche for the invitation to explore their establishment. Of course, the content of this blogpost was left entirely up to me!