“Do you see this wardrobe? Well, it’s not a wardrobe. » Leo Della Schiava, the young and burly chef at Gaùta, a cheerful Bordeaux restaurant near the Capuchin market, suddenly takes on the air of a conspirator. He leaves his counter, approaches the dark wood cabinet, opens the door leaves and rushes inside.
We follow him, incredulous, and, for a few seconds, we have the feeling of hearing the credits of James Bond resonate when we cross the cupboard (bottomless) to emerge in a smoking room, punctuated with large armchairs. There, a new door opens onto a beautiful vaulted cellar in blond stones converted into a dining room for about fifteen gourmets. “It’s a space that we reserve for restaurant associates, their family or their friends, but we can also lend it to regulars, says our host. They give us a budget and we bully them…”
In this rascal address specializing in offal, it is easy to imagine clandestine orgies of breaded snout with gribiche sauce, beef tongue or kidneys with mustard orchestrated by Vivien Durand, the starred chef at the helm. ” But beware, says Léo Della Schiava, I wouldn’t mention this place to a first-time customer, and we’ve never talked about it in the press so far. Being stashed can cause offbeat behaviors. We only open the cupboard for people we trust. »
We knew the tables set in starred kitchens that already guaranteed a unique backstage experience: the table d’hôtes of Anne-Sophie Pic’s gourmet restaurant, in Valence, or Le Quatrième Mur by Philippe Etchebest, in Bordeaux, for example. We had also become accustomed to “speakeasys”, these hidden bars inherited from Prohibition, which returned to fashion ten years ago in London, before spreading throughout France.
Among the most amazing places today, Carry Nation, in Marseille, which has no official address: you have to book to be given a secret code leading to a bar hidden in a store. In Paris, to access the Mobster Bar, you must dial a number on a vintage telephone in response to a riddle before seeing a door open onto a falsely clandestine counter. Bathed in the subdued light of Tiffany-inspired lamps, lulled by Armstrong’s trumpet, you can sip a Dizzy Gillespie (based on basil-infused gin) or a Peaky Blinder (Irish whiskey and chicha morada, a corn infusion purple).
You have 72% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.