Paulownia is a sincere new restaurant near Nation, run by Tess Duteuil and Geoffrey Belin. The couple met while working at Arpège, and their love of vegetables is evident. There was an intricate (and delicious) vegetarian millefeuille main dish on the night of our visit, along with a vegetarian starter. The star of the evening, however, was a sort of porky hot pocket – the petit pâté chaud feuilleté au cochon. Belin also has a way with fish. His barbue (brill) with beurre blanc and squid was glorious. The strangely named minestrone aux coquillages was a beautiful dish of mussels in a profound broth redolent with fresh herbs. The trou Normand, with apple sorbet swimming in a pool of Calvados, was a fun way to finish. We loved Belin’s food, but the wine recommendations and adorable service from Duteuil is the reason we want to come back and become regulars.
OUR PHOTOS OF PAULOWNIA
IN OTHER WORDS
- Le Figaro (one of their 20 best restaurants of 2023) “L’enseigne est aussi obscure que l’adresse est limpide. Et si la première nous dit une plante exotique sino-coréenne, la seconde dévoile un neuf binôme – lui aux fourneaux, elle à la vigne – motivé à rappeler Paris en village et leur table en campagne, en sortant une fraîche tradition de derrière les fagots (chou farci aux shiitakés, canard rôti poire et aubergine, religieuse glacée verveine et chocolat).”
- Le Fooding “At 15 Rue des Vignoles, a young and determined tree had already cracked its way through the pavement. Tess Duteuil and Geoffrey Belin took this as a sign that they should set up shop here, against the leafy paulownia tree after which their restaurant is now named. Struck by Cupid’s arrow while working for Passard, the duo tackled other restaurant-industry heavyweights before opening this extremely cozy spot with a windowed wine cellar, a rounded zinc-topped bar, and a daring kitchen.”