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Le Carré des Feuillants

14, rue de Castiglione, 1st. Metro Tuileries.
Open : Mon-Fri noon-2pm, 7h30-10pm. Average : 115 Euros. Credit : Amex, DC, MC, V.

For one of the best reputed restaurants in Paris, the Carré des Feuillants doesnt look like much. Despite its splendid address by Place Vendome, the entrance is as the back of what amounts to a shopping mall. Inside, the restaurant is full of arresting and beautiful details - the prints by Picasso, the splendid, cocteau-esque candelabras - on a backdrop of granny-ish pastel colours. The service too, though technically proficient, fell a long way short of the complicit amiability that you hope for at a top restaurant. All of which would be forgivable if the food were truly outstanding. But our lunch of the season, though good, didn't rate much more than lunch of the week. It started well with a dazzling profusion of amuse gueules and a couple of glasses of excellent Champagne. This made way for a tuna millefeuille whose delicate stripes of tuna, aubergine, tomato and cheese were handsome on the plate and wonderful on the palate. But the move from all that almost japanese aestheticism to a  house specialty from Alain Dutournier's native south west France was a rather crunching gear change, even if our fillet of duck was accompanied by a chinese style spring roll. Our wine, well chosen by the sommelier, was a deliciously well-rounded red from languedoc Roussillon which went nicely with the rustic roquefort and quince dessert.
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