Le Concervatoire de Cédric Casanova is the latest venture from, you guessed it, Cédric Casanova - former tight-rope walker, fan of Sicily, and the man behind one of our favourite restaurants in Paris, La Tete dans les Olives. In the same vein as La Tete dans les Olives, La Concervatoire ordinarily operates as a little shop selling produce from Sicily, but, at mealtimes, also serves as a private dining room, showcasing the fine ingredients on sale.
La Tete dans les Olives has been an enormous success, but seeing as only six people can fit around the table, and its reputation is now global, there's a long waiting list to get a seat. So, Casanova decided that rather than expanding and loosing the charm of the concept, he would simply recreate it, and that is exactly what he has done here. La Conservatoire is on the same little ramshackle street in Paris' tenth arrondissement as its predecessor, but is slightly roomier, allowing a group of nine diners to take over the table. Amiable host Alix is at the head of the table where she prepares all kinds of Sicilian delights to be passed around and shared, much, as she says, in the style of a picnic.
There is no menu, Alix simply concocts a meal using the shop's produce mixed with fresh seasonal ingredients - in the style of a good home-cooked Sicilian lunch or dinner in the company of friends. To start with, there is a selection of delectable olives, bread, anchovies, sun dried tomatoes and the shop's incredible olive oil. This is followed by a platter of pickled vegetables - the idea behind the name "Concervatoire" is a link to the French "conserves" (albeit interestingly spelt) or pickled and jarred produce, and they are planning on exploring this further in the future.
Then comes the perfectly al dente pasta with a fresh and light sauce, followed by an extra fish platter if you choose (for a measly €15 for the whole table) including the deliciously salty tuna bresaola. Then comes the sweetness - Italian biscuits and a little dessert (we had a refreshing mandarin granita topped with almonds on our visit) - to round off the meal. And all this comes in at incredibly reasonable €30 a head - although you can bump up the bill by buying up all the high quality ingredients for sale in the shop (the olive oil is so good it's even on Inake Aizpitarte's - chef at Le Chateaubriand - shopping list)!
Le Concervatoire de Cédric Casanova
14 rue Saint-Marthe, 75010 Paris
Private dining, by reservation only (email@example.com), Tues-Fri, lunch and supper.
Shop open Weds 9am-midday, Sat 10.30am-1.30pm
All photos copyright Kim Laidlaw
For a joint review on La Concervatoire from Kim and some of her fellow Paris bloggers, check out this post on HiP Paris: Le Concervatoire: An Indoor Parisian Picnic, Italian Style.