Everybody likes a museum café, but the name doesn’t really cover the super-sized Les Grands Verres at the Palais de Tokyo. With its cavernous space, it should be lovable, not just likable, and it is, far more so than its predecessor, Tokyo Eat.
In spite of its concrete structure, high ceilings and gigantic windows, the restaurant is almost cozy thanks to its chic decor, featuring brown-upholstered wooden booths and handsome wooden tables and chairs. Light floods in from the windows, and a flock of cute little hanging light fixtures twinkles under the ceiling. Design credit goes to architect Lina Ghotmeh.
At lunchtime the other day, the restaurant was surprisingly quiet, and the friendly servers did not hesitate to seat me in a three-person booth even though I was alone.
The prices being on the high side, I opted for the fixed-price lunch menu, with three courses for €29. Judging by my fantastic starter, choosing the set menu did not entail any compromises on quality, as it sometimes does. The generous helping of asparagus (fresh, I was assured beforehand, and from Italy, as is the chef, Giacomo Sergeni) was served with a classic hollandaise sauce as well as a couple of surprising additions: blade-thin slices of raw asparagus, crunchy and delicious, accompanied by dabs of orange marmalade – truly unexpected, but it worked brilliantly with the other ingredients.
The main course was tender, deeply flavored pulled lamb reconstituted into a square and served with grilled carrots, which were a delight, especially the caramelized baby ones.
Dessert consisted of three small cannoli, much lighter than the usual ricotta-and-candied-fruit-stuffed Italian goodie. These were filled with different-flavored creams: chocolate, coconut and citrus zest, and praline. It was a perfect finish to an excellent meal.
After a tiring visit to the enormous Palais de Tokyo, it’s a pleasure to be able to look forward to a good meal or just a cocktail at the long bar (open from 7pm to 1am). And, of course, Les Grands Verres (Glass House) is big enough to accommodate groups, at a huge table in the back with a clever amorphous shape. No one would want to throw stones at this glass house.