Paris Restaurants: 180
Pullman Hotel, 10th floor
22, rue Jean Rey, in the 15th Arrondissement.
01 44 38 57 77. Open nightly, 6 p.m.–2 a.m., until July 7, 2013.
When looking for Paris restaurants, it’s not often that you find one that’s hip and sleek, and has a killer view of the Eiffel Tower. Rarer still is that such a restaurant would bother to open for only six months. Yet that’s the idea behind 180, a pop-up bar and restaurant situated squarely adjacent to the trunk of the Eiffel Tower. For 180 days only, this ephemeral eatery will lure diners to the 10th floor of the Pullman Hotel with its panoramic view and unpretentious, seasonal dishes.
Based around the theme of the seven deadly sins, 180’s menu will change on the seventh day each month from January 7 to July 7. I popped in for dinner in February, which, as could be expected, was centered around the theme of lust. The Paris restaurant’s quiet neon and subtly thumping music gives the place a modern, sleek vibe, and while the sparkling view of the nearby Eiffel Tower lends itself easily to romance, the cool and hip environment ensures that a girls’ night out would be equally well begun here.
For a relaxed night’s beginning, I would recommend 180’s tapas or choices from the snacks menu. But I went full force and selected from each, and was not disappointed. My starter was a composition of avocado, ash-rind goat cheese and thinly sliced duck. The soft elements created a dense base while the duck gave the flavors an earthy weight, all topped off with Swiss chard and urban honey (gleaned right here in Paris), which balanced the flavor and gave the heavy bites a necessary lift. The ashy goat cheese in combination with the smoked duck, so thin as to be near carpaccio, worked well together to provide a strong stage for the honey.
Between courses I enjoyed the dazzling hourly display of the Eiffel Tower outside and the view of the clientele inside. 180 is perfect for hipsters who crave something new and ephemeral in the City of Light, something that’s once in a lifetime and limited. Yet the ambience certainly is one of impermanence, from the restaurant’s mismatched furniture and unpainted walls to its projection screen counting down to the restaurant’s very last minute. I imagine that, when that happens, it will feel a bit like New Year’s Eve in the summer, but instead of everyone kissing when the clock runs out, all the customers will be politely asked to leave.
After the richness of my starter, I went with a lighter main course, La Veggie, a petite mountain of winter vegetables and chestnuts tossed with the vaguest spoonful of butter sauce. The broccoli, butternut squash, cauliflower and alfalfa sprouts were a fresh respite from my dense appetizer, and the chestnuts added a slightly sweet crunch to the mix. The sauce, inoffensive and as light as a butter sauce could be, gave just the suggestion of flavor—not overwhelming the dish. Hot and hearty, this solid winter dish satisfied both my taste buds and (slightly begrudging) choice to “eat healthy.”
As with most meals, the dessert outshined every other dish on the table. Though I almost always order something cocoa-based for dessert, this time I veered in a new direction and went for the panna cotta as a way to brighten an otherwise extremely wintry meal. And bright was exactly what I got. A wild explosion of brazen mango compote shocked my taste buds, followed closely by the sweet heat of ginger, and ending with a light, bouncy dollop of creamy vanilla that served as a bed for the fruit. Almost as though reading my mind, a chocolate afterthought accompanied the panna cotta—a small sliver of chocolate mousse atop a block of what seemed to be a paste of crushed chocolate-covered almonds.
In a nutshell: For an ephemeral and sinfully good meal with an equally unique view, get to 180 before July 7.
Price check: Starters, 10–18 euros; mains, 14–34 euros; sides, 5 euros; tapas and snacks, 12–24 euros; desserts, 10–12 euros
If you like the sound of 180, you might also enjoy le Ciel de Paris. Read the review. Or you might want to dine in the Eiffel Tower itself.
Le Ciel de Paris
33, avenue du Maine, Tour Maine-Montparnasse, 56th floor, in the 15th Arrondissement. 01 40 64 77 64.
Breakfast, 7:30–11 a.m.; lunch, noon–2:30 p.m.; tea, 3–6 p.m.; dinner, 7–11 p.m. daily.
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