Claude Colliot: Much ado about Nothing

There was so much buzz about the restaurant that Claude Colliot opened at the end of 2009, that I was more than curious: Marion Cotillard loves this place. Sofia Coppola used to give private dinner parties with Colliot in the kitchen and Quentin Tarantino apparently is also a fan of him. Can so many celebrities be mistaken? Impossible.

Colliot is quite famous in the Paris foodie scene. He used to cook at La Bamboche before he opened his own restaurant in a tiny rue of the Marais, close to Centre Pompidou, in a clean modern style, so modern, that it is already a bit out, except in France.  During his absence people apparently missed him. So you can imagine what happened, when Colliot had his come back with his “own” address named simply after him.

The concept is actually tempting. Colliot is proposing a slow-food kitchen in the neo-neo-bistro style: enigmatic titles for good, seasonable products. The problem is, you easily get disappointed when the expectations are too high: I was expecting an inventive, young kitchen. Some sparks, in a way. I got something were the effort was more in the form than in the taste. Everything looks delicious, but it will not mark your mind.

The pumpkin soup was tasty, but without any surprise. The foie gras, goose liver, was nearly disappointing to the point that a bit of sel de fleur wouldn’t have done any harm to it. What did I have afterwards? I forgot. Happily I’ve still the bill to check out which is not a very good sign: It was an agneau du pré salé, these very young, tender lambs, grown up on salt meadows of the Normandy coast. Good but not memorable, alas.

If the price for a dinner is close to 50 Euros without wine, than, well, I want it to be memorable. May be I’m doing wrong to Colliot, may be it was just a bad day. But still. His cuisine lacks what French call la génerosité, a bit of generosity. Colliot wants more to impress your eye than your palate. Am I unjust? Probably. But this is the risk when you’re honest.

Claude Colliot
40, rue des Blancs Manteaux
75004 Paris
+33(0)1 42 71 55 45
Open at lunch and dinner except on Sundays and Mondays