One of the most elusive seats in Paris at the moment is at La Table Nutella - a temporary restaurant - yes, another temporary restaurant - hidden in plain sight in a quiet courtyard in the heart of the Marais. It's open for only 40 days - to celebrate Nutella's 40th anniversary - until June 22nd. Set breakfast and brunch menus start at a mere 3 euros - and all proceeds go to Reves - a charity that makes the dreams of sick children come true.
Now before the food snobs sniff off in a snit about Nutella, let me tell you my little f-f-foodie friends that the menu not only features your classic baguette, coffee, juice and free-for-all giant jars of Nutella - each with its own Patrick Jouin spreader - but also items from recipes created by master pastry chef Philippe Conticini himself. Monsieur Conticini had two ultra-stylish pastry shops here - Peltier - which were tragically closed by his Japanese investors a few years ago. He was the only pastry chef in Paris who could seduce me away from Pierre Herme.
I went late this morning and was turned away at the outer gate by a doorman/breakfast bouncer. He said they were full - but I used the Jedi mind trick and told him I would go see - and he said yes, I would go see. Thirty minutes before closing, 10 people stood between me and my Nutella - I was dead last in line. Ten minutes later, two girls gave up and left. Five minutes later, the hostess said there was a table for eight clearing and added sympathetically that it was unlikely for me. The eight skipped off to their big communal table. As they cleared the doorway, a lone empty stool appeared at the bar ahead. The hostess said I'd be seated as soon as the space was cleaned. I was in.
I had a Creme au Nutella dans sa coquille et sa mouillette de chocolat - a Nutella custard in the shell - yes, another egg shell - served with a dense, dark chocolate cookie to dip. Also a Crumble au Nutella - a hazelnut crumble topping over warm Nutella and spoon-soft slices of apple. And a Nutella cocktail - blendered milk, bananas, and Nutella.
The weekday menu is a bit more limited - with more items on the weekend brunch menu. Again - go - now - and early. I will be back.
La Table Nutella; 46 rue de Sevigne; 4th arrondissement, Paris; Weekdays 07:00 to 11:30, Weekends 08:00 to 15:00
Update 1: I was hoping to have more purchase information before I posted this but there apparently does not seem to be any at the moment. Also for sale at La Table Nutella is Philippe Conticini's new book - Sensations Nutella - for 16 euros. The first recipe is one for a miniature cotton candy - very much in vogue on Parisian restaurant dessert menus - with a dehydrated Nutella powder. I will post further information as soon as it's available. Yet another reason to go to La Table - even if there's nothing left to eat!
Update 2: Nutella newsflash! Philippe Conticini's Sensations Nutella will be released on 09 June 2005 - available at Amazon.fr, FNAC, Librarie Gourmande, and all major French booksellers. French only - no plans yet for an English edition.