Stéphanie and David Le Quellec inaugurated their fish, shellfish and crustacean restaurant in Paris at the beginning of October. They offer very contemporary seafood cuisine, which does not forget the basics of good food.
On the ground floor, the dining room of the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer. | Antoine Marceau
This new restaurant, called Vive, Maison Mer, opened its doors in place of a previous establishment also devoted for a century to timeless seafood dishes: the Rech restaurant.
Founded in 1925, this institution dedicated to the sea, bought by Alain Ducasse in 2007, moved last year to the gardens of the House of Latin America, 217, boulevard Saint-Germain (75007 Paris).
“Taking over Rech constitutes a double pressure because the restaurant has always existed and because we are succeeding Alain Ducasse!”confides chef Stéphanie Le Quellec to Figaro. “I saw it was for sale when I happened to pass by. I wasn’t looking to open a business at the time, but I asked to visit anyway. Two days later, it was signed. I work on instinct!”
In partnership with her husband David Le Quellec, the two-starred chef chose this ocean table in homage to her husband’s Breton origins and to highlight the best fishing products in Normandy, where the couple now live after ten years spent in Provence.
At the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, bluefin tuna, pesto, mint and coriander. | Antoine Marceau
Stéphanie and David Le Quellec now have a quality network among shore fishermen, small boats, and oyster farmers: they will guarantee fishing that will respect the rhythm of nature.
The spirit of the kitchen
Between the two of them, it’s a passion born twenty years ago when they met in the kitchens of the Four Seasons George V in Paris: their journey, their history are intertwined in a gourmet destiny.
Stéphanie Le Quellec won two stars at the Prince de Galles in 2019 before creating La Scène, avenue Matignon, quickly crowned as soon as it opened with two macaroons (“A thunderous return”, writes the red guide). David, meanwhile, refined his style by moving from the Taillevent to the Four Seasons, and most recently at the Moulin Rouge for six years where he entertained night owls. Both met at La Scène, but also for the launch of a new generation caterer: MAM, their “Kitchen house dedicated to home cooking”.
Here they are now reunited at Vive, Maison Mer and it is David who will officiate in the kitchens of the restaurant with the support, the look and the passion of Stéphanie. “It’s instinctive, I’m an earthling”, he analyzes, benevolent. This Parisian restaurant is the meeting of their vision of cuisine.
The spirit of the place
It was the Costa agency of Steeve Jomaa and Stéphane Aslania who designed the beautiful decor of the Vive restaurant.
At the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, the counter. | Antoine Marceau
On the ground floor there is a long spectacular bar in Patagonian granite blending into the marble, sanded slabs, but also shimmering benches mixing shades of corals by decorator Pierre Frey reminiscent of the beasts of the School of Pont-Aven .
Upstairs, fifty seats, two rooms (one of which can be privatized for twenty people), oak wood and long bronze velvet benches.
A revelation on the table and on the walls of the first floor: the scaled workshop. This is a work by artist Victoire Fontaine, unveiled for the opening of Vive. From her workshops in Coudeville-sur-Mer in Normandy, Victoire Fontaine creates both raw and poetic objects inspired by the landscapes of the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel and the Chausey Islands.
Victoire Fontaine’s mural. | Antoine Marceau
She makes a hamper of oysters into a bread basket, and shells picked up one by one into a splendid wall fresco. This same inspiration can be found in the butter dishes, vases, sculptures and a series of knives.
The series of knives by Victoire Fontaine. | Antoine Marceau
Note the cupboard for maturing fish, a rarity in Paris and the bet for a cuisine of discovery and experimentation.
Why fish maturation?
Parisians should soon become enthusiastic about this new approach to fish.
At the Vive restaurant, the fish maturation cabinet. | Antoine Marceau
Letting them mature for three, four or even ten days gives them an unexpected dimension. They gain in density of taste, in new textures and become more refined while sometimes approaching crispness and offer a different vision of classics such as sole, turbot, mackerel or even monkfish, then stripped of its watery side. To accompany them, Thai spices, fresh herbs and homemade herbs…
The kitchens are open to the dining room and you can see David and his teammates working behind the stoves with the pastry chef Pierre Chirac who takes up his classics: Paris-Brest and some frosted fruits of which he has the secret.
The recipes give pride of place to Brittany with a tendency for fish in all its forms: raw, marinated, grilled, pan-fried, steamed but only from a French source.
At the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, flame-cooked veal, tomato bone juices. | Antoine Marceau
David Le Quellec has had Brittany in his blood for six generations, he will retain from this open ocean the approach of fish coming from the French coasts from the North Sea via Normandy, Brittany, the Basque coast, the Mediterranean without forget the fresh waters.
At the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, an assortment of dishes. | Antoine Marceau
The fish are served neither too creamy nor too buttered, but rather available in broths with a drizzle of olive oil.
Stéphanie and David Le Quellec want to desecrate great French cuisine. “For us, the plate is good is the least we can do, but what drives us is to go further: put customers at the center of the house. May they leave happy thanks to the good mood that goes beyond the meal itself. What we love is lively, personal, unexpected cooking.”
A la carte
Long live the scale: oysters (from 9 euros for three); the prairies of Chausey (18 euros for six); sea almonds (9 euros for six); whelks mayo (12 euros); organic pink prawns (18 euros for six); raw langoustines (18 euros for two pieces); raw or grilled prawns (38 euros for three pieces); langoustines in court-bouillon (30 euros for three pieces); live bouquets sautéed in semi-salted butter (28 euros).
Long live the Kaviari caviar: the Baeri Royal (65 euros for a 30 g box); Ossetre Prestige (80 euros for a 30g box); the Kristal (95 euros for 30g).
Long live the sardine in oil: from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, toast, semi-salted butter, Vintage 2016 (14 euros); sardinettes (18 euros).
Long live the classics: stuffed clams (20 euros for six); the fresh anchovy fillets, Vive marinade (13 euros); the tarama revitalized with celery oil (11 euros); the brioche bread bathed in crab juices (17 euros); the brown crab with court-bouillon, raw coral cream (42 euros).
At the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, sea bream in ceviche. | Antoine Marceau
Long live the vintage: sea bream in ceviche (22 euros); red tuna, mint-coriander pesto (26 euros); amberjack, oil infused with bergamot, marjoram (23 euros); the scallops in their shells bathed in Cremona mustard (34 euros).
At the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, scallops bathed in Cremona mustard. | Antoine Marceau
Long live the heat: rock soup (19 euros); flame-cooked veal with tomato bone juice (36 euros); the catch of the day, whipped with white soy-miso butter (13 euros for 100g); the golden octopus, broth bound with a sweet harissa (79 euros whole, 49 euros half).
At the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, the golden octopus, broth bound with a sweet harissa. | Antoine Marceau
Long live the plant: porcini mushrooms with blackcurrant vinegar (23 euros); the heart of lettuce, pear, bottarga (12 euros); fondant apples with boiled juice (13 euros); roasted cauliflower with seaweed butter and lemon (14 euros); baby spinach, ponzu vinaigrette, dried bonito (13 euros).
At the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, cauliflower roasted with seaweed butter and lemon. | Antoine Marceau
Long live the sweetness: the affogato, an Italian frozen dessert (11 euros); the frosted gold kiwi (9 euros each); the favorite floating island (20 euros); the fig tart, walnut ice cream (21 euros); pan-fried pecan cookie, vanilla ice cream (19 euros)
At the Vive restaurant, Maison Mer, the pecan cookie in the pan. | Antoine Marceau
Restaurant Vive, Maison Mer: 62, avenue des Ternes, 75017 Paris. Tel.: 01 42 94 07 90. Cocktail and sake bar, fish counter. Card from 50 to 160 euros and more with caviar. Booking is recommended. No closure.
Restaurant La Scène–Stéphanie Le Quellec: 32, avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris. Tel.: 01 42 65 05 61. Lunch menu in 4 acts at 135 euros, the Original Version in 7 acts at 250 euros, the Rich History at 335 euros. Card from 135 to 230 euros. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
At the entrance to the restaurant, on the ground floor, the Bistrot La Scène is open for lunch only from Monday to Saturday. Card from 42 to 100 euros. Reservation only by phone.