As one of Paris’ original food bloggers, Adrian Moore is a walking, talking black book when it comes to the city’s hottest tables and watering holes. Interviewed while on duty in his day job as assistant chef concierge at the Mandarin Oriental, Paris, Moore — clad in his formal uniform of a redingote, vest and tie — came across as ultraprofessional and surprisingly mild-mannered, considering his bad-boy-blogger reputation.
An unrelenting gourmet, Moore can turn tart when disgruntled, peppering his blog entries (at adrianmoore.blogspot.com) with entertaining jabs aimed at restaurant staff, the locals or the decor. Take his recent review of Paris-based Indian restaurant Marcel, delivered in a series of iPhone notes: “Another ‘why do I do this to myself’ moment,” he wrote. “More A.P.C. per square inch than an architect’s office; sneaking suspicion the basmati rice was that Uncle Ben’s stuff you find on [French supermarket] Monoprix shelves; Amy Winehouse on loop; people tripping over the carpet every four seconds; annoying and pervasive loud crowd murmur.…I wanted to like it as it’s in my hood, has a cozy decor and seems to be busy every night. But, as soon as I took in the ambiance and food, I knew it was all going south.…”
According to Moore, who is a bit of a bloodhound when it comes to sniffing out new tables here, an expanding family of first-rate expat chefs continues to invigorate the local culinary scene. “Expats, as well as French chefs who have lived and trained abroad and brought the experience back with them,” specified Moore, who currently has his nostrils turned to the latest project by Passage 53’s Guillaume Guedj. He’s preparing to open a new concept in Japanese dining here, with chef Shinichi Sato at the helm.
“It will be about quality and affordability, a fresh approach to quick gourmet Japanese eating,” says Moore, his eyes a-twinkle. Among other fresh initiatives tickling his taste buds is gourmet burger van Le Camion Qui Fume (or “The Smoking Truck,” in English), the brainchild of Kristin Frederick, an Ecole Supérieure de Cuisine Française Ferrandi-trained Californian chef. While food trucks are a dime a dozen in Britain and America, they’re not so common in the land of three-hour lunches, and Frederick’s burgers — at 10 euros (or $13.10 at current exchange) a pop with fries — attract the city’s young trendies in droves.
The van pulls up at lunchtime in three different spots around Paris, with a delivery service due to launch this month. “The French have never been able to create a greasy, American-style burger. For a real burger, you need about 20 percent fat. [Frederick] actually adds about 20 percent fat. She uses three different meats and hand-mixes it herself, and makes the patties herself,” says Moore. “The bread is artisanal. It just tastes like a greasy, American-style burger, whereas any French burger is too lean.”
Here, as 2012 begins, the food critic shares a selection of his favorite new restaurants, bars and cafes linked to the expat trend, along with a few of the dishes sampled.