Wednesday Cocktail Adventure: Ladureé
Tel. : + 33 1 40 75 08 75
In general I find the Ladurée decor fussy-frilly-pretty. But, step into this bar in the back of their Champs branch, and you'll get a completely different feel...or in the their own words: a "complimentary house living at a different rhythm." Clearly, I am getting a kick out of the translated text on their menu, but I'll try and get back to my own words. After some discussion we decided on art deco - with modern glowing violet touches. Elspeth likened it to sitting inside a cake. I wasn't getting cake-feel, but more Geiger bar-feel. Strange comparison, I know. But, work with me here: the intricate iron work reminds me of delicate creepy cobwebs or android skeletons. I don't think that's the look their going for, so if you do visit, think cake and not creep!
Before our visit and up to this point, I was mentally prepared to knock this bar on my blog (even though I love the macarons). I imagined it to be more gimmick than substance. But, a look at the menu made me rethink my quick-to-judge attitude. The list of classics feature some solid basics (Manhattans, Martini, Singapore Slings). In addition, they offer up 10 house creations at 18 to 20 Euros and 6 macaron cocktails, which go for a hefty 22 Euros.
I started with the dry martini and got a well prepared Tanqueray Ten martini, stirred, in a chilled glass, with an offer of a twist or olives (which I accidentally ate before taking the picture). Bartender, Jerome, was professional and friendly and clearly took his work seriously. Elspeth tried the pleasantly sippable Baiser Vole "Vesper", one of the house creations made with Grey Goose, Noilly Pratt and Lillet Blanc. Jerome brought over a plate of four tiny & tasty quiche nibbles as well. We didn't try the food, but the tapas plate at 10 Euros, with a selection of 5 items, looks like it could potentially be a good deal.
Matt & Violaine each took one of the macaron creations (think: seriously adult milk & cookies!). Matt's violet was sweet, but good. Violaine's pistachio was interesting (in a good way) and refreshing. Both are creamy drinks and better if stirred before drinking. I also tried a house creation - the Suivez-moi (green pea juice, pear grey goose, grapefruit syrup and ginger cordial) which wasn't just pretty to look at, but tasty as well. While the bar stock is not enormous, it's sufficient: a couple of gins (Tanqueray Ten, Bombay Sapphire) a couple of vodkas, a handful of rums. The house creations - while a bit heavy on the vodka-based drinks - seem to be put together with some thought for the flavors combinations working in interesting ways.
Matt declared this one of his favorite Wednesday spots. While I know you can get better prepared serious cocktails elsewhere, I, too am a fan. He likened it to La Famille, where you might not be able to order a perfectly executed obscure classic, you will definitely get something unique & well-done. And, as a bonus: on exiting the bar, you pass right by the macaron shop and can pick up a few to take home. (of course we did.)
So, I wouldn't go to Ladurrée for cocktails on a regular basis, but, I will definitely go back. When grandma comes to town, take her to the Madeleine Ladurée for tea. But, when fun friends who like a bit of flash come for a visit, take them for a uniquely sweet evening cocktail at the Champs Ladurée.