I had to make a very short trip to Paris for work, and had the Sunday evening free to go out to dinner with colleagues. Since I normally travel for work on my own this made a nice change. It was also the middle of Paris Fashion Week. At this point I will categorically state I was not there for Paris Fashion Week. But felt like I ended up in the middle of it.
And since there was company we headed out for dinner at the remarkable Hotel Costes. This is a venue of opulence. It’s a hotel. A restaurant. And a perfume boutique with it’s own signature scents. It’s less of a venue than a lifestyle choice.
The winding restaurant is decorated with red velvet chairs and drapes. A huge courtyard for the fashionable Parisians to indulge their pastimes of smoking, and being seen. Rich, deep carpets, and decorative gold touches.
There was a lot of smoking. And it is a place to be seen. As we walked to our table it felt like everyone stopped to look. Who is this? Is this someone to see? Do I want them to see me? The atmosphere is full of chatter and excitement. They pull up close together on small tables. People are here to have fun.
Everyone in there is a someone, I was not a someone. And I’ve realised I dress like a child.
The waiting staff buzz around managing to be both charming and stunning with ease. The restaurant was packed full, literally every table taken and someone ready to take their place when they left, but the waiters seemed to be taking it in their stride.
We had a couple of cocktails, I opted for a bellini and also this gorgeous cucumber martini. Sharp, refreshing, and in a stunning glass.
And then there’s the food. I don’t think they got the memo that fashion people don’t eat. I ordered burrata and aubergine for starters. And got about a kilogram of cheese. So much cheese. I couldn’t eat all the cheese, even though it was soft and velvety. My colleagues had foie grass. I’m not against it, but I don’t really like it.
For mains I went for duck. It was the softest, most tender duck I have ever eaten. And on the side we ordered spinach and green beans. And frites. Again, the portion size! So many almost impossibly skinny but wonderfully crunchy fries haphazardly piled up in a bowl. This isn’t a reataurant that puts presetnation over substance – the clientele provide enough to look at. This is a restaurant you will leave feeling full. So full, in fact, that you can’t even order dessert.
I feel like the evening was a glimpse into a different world, a lifestyle I’ve heard about but that I know isn’t mine. But at least I’ve learned the waiters are friendly. And they do really great frites.