The Benefits of Solo Dining

April 19, 2017By Heidi EllisonArchive, Restaurants
The bright, modern dining room at Nomos.


I rarely eat alone in restaurants, but after my experience at Nomos the other day, I think I will do it more often. Without the pleasant distraction of conversation, it’s easier to concentrate on and savor the flavors and textures of the food, to my great joy in this case. And you don’t have to share a dish you love with your friends…

I had lunch there on a quiet day during the French school holidays. With so few customers in the large dining room, it was even possible to chat a little with tattooed 20-something chef Guillaume Sanchez as he calmly worked in his big open kitchen while keeping a sharp eye on customers to be sure they were lacking nothing.

Lunch is a three-course surprise menu for €35, not so cheap, but well worth it.


The first course turned a humble onion into a noble dish. Slow-roasted, with some of its skin transformed into edible chips, it had a rich sauce with a touch of mint and was topped with a curious white powder that turned out to made of white truffles.

I have noticed that cooked onions have been appearing often on menus in Paris restaurants lately, and it’s a trend I fully approve of. This dish was something to revel in, especially when all the ingredients were tasted together, to subtle and unusual effect.


The same was true of the main course, milk-fed lamb cooked in a brioche that was somehow leafed with seaweed. Wow! The succulent little cubes of lamb in a rich gravy with a hint of Sicilian lemon for the perfect counterpoint were encased in the crispy brioche, which did not have a hint of sogginess.

I don’t know how he did it, but he later told me that the idea came from his grandmother, who was in the habit of throwing all kinds of ingredients into a brioche and cooking it up. It was served with a celeriac and Jerusalem artichoke purée and a perfectly cooked small potato.


The original dessert consisted of a light and refreshing cream and ice cream flavored with herbs and topped with razor-thin, intensely flavored dehydrated apple slices.

This was pretty much a perfect meal for me, complemented by a glass of fruity 2015 Chiroubles from Damien Coquelet, which did marvelous things with both the onion and the lamb. I have to go back to try the more complex evening tasting menu, with six courses for €65. I just hope the high prices won’t keep customers away.


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