Dining chez Depardieu

You might have heard of Gérard Depardieu lately, the French actor who emigrated to Belgium first (for a couple of days) but then became Russian by personal order of Vladimir Putin. All of this, maybe, just to avoid rising taxes in his native France but he actually might have also been just fed up with his all too perfect life in Paris.

Villas, shops, bistros, vineyards: Depardieu hast it all

It seems perfect, after all: Gégé, as the French call him, held court until recently in his splendid villa with a large walled garden on Rue du Cherche-Midi in the very bourgeois 7th arrondissement. On the same street he runs a small and fancy Japanese food store, a fishmonger’s shop („Moby Dick“) and even a bistro of his own, „Le Bien Décidé“.

And that’s not all: On the right bank of the river Seine, just around the corner of Garnier opera, a plush restaurant named „La Fontaine Gaillon“ is his, too, and did I forget to mention that he owns quite a vineyard, complete with a castle, down in Anjou? And some estate in Normandy? Anyway: He’s Russian now and may soon be gone forever, so we thought it might be a good idea to pay at least his two Parisian restaurants a visit.

Fleshy home-grown whites and bland patés

We had lunch at „Le Bien Décidé“, a casual eatery serving down-to-earth food. Depardieu wasn’t there, naturally, but his wines from Southern France replaced him. The whites are nice, fleshy, mineral, the reds are more on the mediocre side and the same was true for the food on that day.

A home-made paté was bland, to say the least, the dish of the day, lamb rack with couscous, lacked love and looked alike on a carelessly dressed plate. We had a quick chat with the chef. He didn’t mention the Russian guy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have dinner with Gérard?

Next stop: „La Fontaine Gaillon“, situated in one of these splendid flat-iron buildings of Paris. This is not a bistro but a beautiful, full-blown restaurant, expensively furnished, exquisitely designed, a place for power lunches and romantic dinners. We had the latter and were, for the first time, a little sad that Depardieu is bound to leave.

The food isn’t great, don’t get me wrong, but it is very decent, in parts even pretty good, a perfect service is taking care of you, the waiters go around with a smile, the whole „cadre“ is pleasant and shows the great French //savoir faire// when it comes to hosting guests. It would be nice to have dinner with Gégé, don’t you think?

A feel-good place made by Depardieu

On the menu at „La Fontaine“: a seasonal oxtail salad, well executed fish tartar, ravioli stuffed with lobster, crab meat turned into a slice of cake – for the starters. For the mains they offered a wide range of interesting fish but we went for meat and had a very satisfying roast pigeon surrounded by some ravioli stuffed with foie gras and yet another rack of lamb accompanied by artichokes and an excellent potato puree.

All of this far too pricey but still: There’s some reason to dine out at „La Fontaine Gaillon“ even without the celebrity buzz. It’s a feel-good place made by Depardieu.

A “Brasserie parisienne” in Mordovia

What’s next? Well, the great actor has announced that he will be opening a „Brasserie parisenne“ in his new hometown of Saransk, the capital of Mordovia. Why would he do that? Only God knows. But let’s wish him luck. It is, after all, very good news for the people of Saransk. The last culinary sensation they did celebrate was the opening of the first McDonald’s in town. Depardieu can do better than that.