Christian Constant is a household name in the culinary world – a celebrated chef in Paris, writer of numerous cook books, and one of the judges of Top Chef France. Rue Saint-Dominique, a street in the 7th arrondissement in Paris, is also known as the “Christian Constant” district since it houses three out of four restaurants founded by Christian Constant. I was fortunate to dine at Cafe Constant, a no reservation Parisian bistro, on my recent trip to Paris. Cafe Constant is immensely popular and the wait for a table could be up to 2 hours. Lucky for me and my dining partner, we arrived at the restaurant at about 6pm, an hour before they “opened” for dinner. We sat downstairs, had a drink (beer for him, hot chocolate for me – which was very good as a matter of fact) and waited patiently for the clock to strike 7. We were the only ones in the restaurant and it was interesting to see the staff prepare for the dinner service. At about 630pm, other early diners started streaming in and like us, had an aperitif or two while waiting for the restaurant to open.
The crowd – before and after (completely full!)
I was looking for a nice restaurant in Soho a few weeks ago, to have a pre-theatre dinner before my ballet at the Royal Opera House (Swan Lake was amazing. I’m not sure if there are any performances left for the season. If there are tickets available, I’d definitely recommend it – it was completely sold out the last time I checked). Having dined at her sister restaurants (Le Deux Salons (review in the new future) and Wild Honey – review here), I thought I’d give Arbutus a try! Arbutus was the first of the three restaurant to be opened by Anthony Demetre and Will Smith. It serves modern European cuisine (just like Wild Honey) and earned it’s first Michelin star in 2007. The restaurant is spread over two rooms. The first consisting of a long marble tabled bar and the second with regular tables and black leather seats.
The first thought that will pop in your mind when you walk past this restaurant is probably “Why is there a massive queue?!”. The second thought would probably be “What is the name of this restaurant? I have to try it!”. Barrafina is one of those places that you-either-know-it-or-you-don’t. Nothing on the outside gives any indication to what the restaurant is called, nor what they serve. Well, it is a Spanish tapas
restaurant bar located in the heart of Soho. It seats 23 people around it’s L-shaped bar with chefs cooking up a storm behind the bar. Barrafina does not take reservations so you’ll definitely be able to get a table…if you’re willing to wait. The picture above was taken at about 5pm, 30 minutes before the restaurant opened for dinner…
Having dined at its sister restaurants previously (Le Deux Salons and Arbutus – reviews in the near future), I was keen to dine at Wild Honey, which has been said to be best restaurant among the three. Wild Honey has one Michelin star to its name and it sits on Saint George Street in Mayfair, which transforms into a quiet area in the evening after the Bond Street shoppers leave for the day.