Le Grand Véfour by Guy Martin is large, flashy, and overwhelming cookbook that documents the current state of a historic restaurant: Le Grand Véfour. The restaurant is located in the Palais Royal in Paris, and preserves its historic interior, while serving a very modern style of food.
For the photo above, I placed a paper clip on the upper left-hand corner to give you an idea of the massive size of this book. It looks expensive, but in fact was one of those bargains that appear on amazon.com from time to time, and I went for it -- $20! I love to read about Paris and its restaurants of distinction, though I definitely could not afford to eat at this one.
|A historic drawing of the gardens of the Palais Royal, which was built in the 18th century, and has housed famous
restaurants ever since. The Grand Véfour is close to 200 years old, though there have been interruptions in its existence.
|The first scene of Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris takes place in
the Grand Véfour! This image is not in the book.
Following this colorful history, author Guy Martin offers an impressive collection of recipes. Martin has been chef of this Michelin 3-star restaurant for a number of years, and he's known for his culinary ability as well as for the historic and decorative features of the restaurant. Although the preparations are complex and require quite specific, expensive, and hard-to-find ingredients, I think it would be possible to follow them -- with a lot of patience!
The book I reviewed yesterday, Paris à Table 1846 mentioned the restaurants then in the Palais Royal often, including Le Grand Véfour and an earlier restaurant called simply Véfour. Many films have been made in the gardens and interiors of this monument -- my favorite of them is Charade with Audrey Hepburn, with Midnight in Paris coming in second, maybe.
I hope to do a wrap-up post on Paris by the end of July.