We heard that the restaurant in the Grand Palais was really good. The name of the restaurant is Mini Palais (very cute). Mini Palais is very popular due to Chef Stephane d'Aboville who cooked with chef Eric Frechon at the Hotel Le Bristol for many years. Anyone who knows about eating in Paris...Le Bristol is very very well known for their fine dinning.
We decided to walk to the Grand Palais for lunch since it was not far from the apartment. There was a Helmut Newton exhibition at the Grand Palais; we would have have seen the photograph exhibition but the queue was way too long and the weather was not very nice...so lunch sounded more interesting.
The restaurant is enormous! Thank goodness we reserved a table...even with its size and number of tables; the place was packed. I think the restaurant used to be part of the Grand Palais's show space for exhibitions...that is probably why the volume and space of the restaurant was so amazing.
The restaurant was probably a second though. However; it was a very nice second thought indeed. Mini Palais has a post-modern design with cast iron beams, huge ceiling to floor french windows (that led out to an amazing terrace where you can dine when the weather is better) let in natural lighting and oak wooden floors which added warmth to the enormous space.
The menu was not extensive with too many things to choose from (this is a good thing); rather the head of consultancy chef Eric with acting chef Stephane decided to focus and create a stylish menu that was fun but had all the typical hearty French fare yet was appealing to the cosmopolitan crowd.
My friend had the Agneau de lait (26 euros). The young lamb was so tender & juicy and cooked just perfectly with a slight pinkish colour inside. The pea purée was so velvety and rich in flavour...I actually preferred this choice to mashed potato.
I had the Pot au feu (22 euros). I am a sucker for pot au feu when it is cold outside; so it was the perfect time to have one of my favourite dishes. The meat & fresh vegetables were so tender & soft. The colours from the different vegetables burst with freshness. The bouillon was so rich & flavourful. This stomach warming, hearty and delicious dish was out of this world.
Overall; though there were gazillions of people at the Mini Palais for lunch; I have to say that the service was not bad at all; there were times when the service was a bit off; but nothing truly to complain about. They were also very friendly even though they were under enormous stress of the amount of service they had to do.
The ambiance was lovely since you did feel you were in a museum some how (maybe, it had to do with the marble sculptures); the space & volume of the place was just great. The decor was chic but not overstated.
The food was simple, hearty and delicious. It turned out to be a lovely lunch during horrible weather (cold, grey and rain....lousy combination). On top of all this; Mini Palais is walking distance from the apartment. I see us coming back again.
Address: avenue Winston Churchill