The iconic Parisian restaurant reopens under Michelin-star chef Gérald Passédat
When the Hotel Lutetia first opened its doors in 1910, it was seen as a daring move from the fashionable Art Nouveau of the day to the emerging Art Deco. However, the once bold design has endured throughout the years, and these early 20th century influences are now the signature style of the grand dame of Paris’ Left Bank. After seeing its Art Deco heritage revived in previous makeovers – Sonia Rykiel, sculptor Arman, and David Lynch have all played a role in redesigning the hotel – the keys were most recently handed over to architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte for a lavish four-year refurbishment of the landmark hotel. When the Hotel Lutetia reopened again in 2018 it was once again the talk of the town. But, there was one room still to be completed, the iconic Brasserie Lutetia. Now, after the final stage of Wilmotte’s redesign, the brasserie has opened its doors once again, this time under the helm of Michelin-starred Chef Gérald Passédat.
In keeping with his vision for the rest of the hotel, Wilmotte has skilfully retained the Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences of the historic restaurant, whilst bringing it firmly into the 21st century. The brasserie has regained its double-height ceiling, creating a feeling of space that is further enhanced by the addition of a new open-air patio in the centre of the building, with Wilmotte also revealing the original dark eucalyptus wood and marble décor, balancing it perfectly with a light, chic colour palette and contemporary furniture. Varnished wood along all the walkways, similar to the passageways in a boat, nods to Chef Passédat’s maritime menu as well as the early years of the Lutetia and the glamourous age of luxury transatlantic ocean liners. The finishing touch is courtesy of artist Jean Le Gac – a series of paintings paying homage to previous patrons of the restaurant, including Samuel Becket, Sonia Rykiel, Josephine Baker, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and James Joyce.
On the menu, Chef Passédat has brought Mediterranean influences from his three-Michelin starred Marseille restaurant Le Petit Nice to the heart of Paris. Unsurprisingly, this means a large variety of seafood, including a full range of oysters, with fish sourced from the Mediterranean Sea and Brittany depending on the weather, the catch, and the seasons. Guests will be able to dine on the famous Marseille stew, bouillabaisse, along with other signature Provençal dishes such as aioli and bream flambéed with pastis. Other specialities from the south of France will also make an appearance, including Pistou soup, veal cannelloni, chickpea panisse, and Camargue red rice, all made with traditional Provençal ingredients. As a master of seafood, Chef Passédat has also deftly reworked a selection of French classics for the new chapter of the hotel – think octopus rather than meat parmentiers and quenelles of shellfish.
However, the star of the show is the newest addition to the brasserie, the sea bar. Inspired by Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York and Japanese kaiseki counters, the bar has been placed in the heart of the restaurant for maximum impact, allowing guests to enjoy a something of a show as they watch chefs prepare dishes such as Mediterranean tartare with almond oil and pepperwood, and hot stone-cooked langoustines. The bar has also been created as a quick way to experience a taste of the brasserie, perhaps accompanied by a glass of organic wine, specially chosen from the South of France as the perfect pairing with Chef Passédat’s cuisine.
Photography by Richard Haughton