SLIDESHOW. – The trio opened, for a fortnight, the establishment they had created during the restaurant war.
The challenge is won! Latino music in the background, colorful garlands and monkey lamps, bought during the restaurant war, positioned everywhere: Carla, Jean and Mathieu gave life to Cantina Francesa, the place they had imagined during the famous test of “Top chef”.
Providing an experience for “Top Chef” fans
The three candidates for season 14 of the culinary competition, currently airing on M6, had the idea of creating an establishment mixing French and Mexican influences, Carla and Mathieu having, each on their side, lived in Mexico. Unfortunately the place did not convince the jurors from the outside and was therefore never able to open its doors on the show. Shortly after filming, at the end of last year, Jean had the desire to launch the concept “for real”. “Despite our defeat, we were not at all disappointed with our ideahe explains. Viewers watch the show but cannot participate. I like to offer experiences. So I talked to Carla and Mathieu about it, telling them that it would be nice to launch Cantina Francesa on an ephemeral basis. They said yes and, as they live abroad (she lives in Naples and he in New Zealand), I worked on this project with my teams. » If last year M6 had opened Philo Saucisse, the restaurant of the winners of the war of restaurants, it is the first time that an establishment not selected by the jurors opens its doors.
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A warm and cozy place
The three friends settled for two weeks, from Tuesday May 17 to Saturday May 27, in Sélune in the 11e in Paris, the establishment of Bérangère Fagart, also a candidate for season 14. The latter did not hesitate for a second: “I love to receive. I wanted my restaurant to be a place of exchange and life. »
The day after the opening of reservations, Cantina Francesa was sold out. On this first day of service, the restaurant is indeed full. In this warm and cozy place, Jean is busy in the kitchen with Jacques, Mathieu’s brother. The latter, living on the other side of the world, has appointed his brother, with whom he has always cooked, to replace him in the kitchen. However, Mathieu participated remotely in the development of the menu and the dishes. Carla is in New York on vacation and will be present next week, starting Tuesday, May 23. On this Tuesday lunchtime, the menu displayed at 28 euros offers two starters, two main courses and two desserts all served on pretty mottled and mismatched plates. Finds unearthed by a second-hand dealer in the neighborhood who will then resell the services used in the ephemeral restaurant in his shop.
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Chilli but not too much
To whet the appetite, a piece of the terrine prepared by Jean in the restaurant war is offered to the guests. The cook added a pickle juice on top: a funny nod to his pâté accidentally drowned underwater during the “Top Chef” challenge. Then follows the aguachile, a sort of ceviche, with cod. Topped with tangy guacamole, onion pickles and salsa verde, it strikes the perfect balance. For the dishes, the chefs mix the two influences with a pollo del domingo and Granny’s rice and a frenchiladas garnished with a duxelle of garlic mushrooms with béchamel. The chicken drumstick is unfortunately undercooked and the rice lacks a bit of seasoning. A small problem which, Jean ures us, will be rectified tomorrow. “This is the first service, we are still taking our marks”, he apologizes. Guests can, however, spice up the dish to their liking with three more or less spicy sauces. “It’s not easy to find the level of pepper that will suit the greatest number. We therefore decided not to spice up the dishes too much but to offer different sauces on the side »confides Jacques.
The meal ends with the aptly named “Oh yes churros!” and “Mexico, you ate me” or the famous donuts (delicious) and a Breton shortbread with whipped cream and tajin, a condiment very present in Mexican snacks made from pepper, lime and salt. A delight that is both surprising and comforting. As the guests finish their plates, Jacques and Jean go around the tables to come and chat with their customers.
Read also“Top Chef”: eliminated in the war of restaurants, Carla, Jean and Mathieu open their ephemeral restaurant in Paris
A more upscale dinner
In the evening, the menu goes upmarket… and in price with a six-course dinner for 57 euros. “We are offering a chicharron with aioli and chipotle mayonnaise, then brioches and country bread to be dipped in two moles (a very well-known Mexican sauce based, in particular, on chocolate) as well as two tacos, one with broad beans and the other with beef cheek. We continue with pollos burrachos, a supreme of poultry with a morel sauce and yellow wine. For dessert, we have the midday mango or a chocolate cake with an insert of red fruits and chilli»explains Jean before leaving to take a picture with customers of the restaurant.