The Meurice Paris serves one of the city’s most reputable afternoon teas. It is designed by Alain Ducasse and Cédric Grolet, two chefs who hold many prestigious rewards. Let’s see if the Meurice is worthy of its reputation:
Pour la version française, cliquez ici – March 2020 update: prices and link to the afternoon tea menu; I am downgrading the overall mark to four stars as the afternoon tea is now a little too expensive and other hotels do better.
Hotel Le Meurice Paris Setting ★★★★☆
Le Meurice Paris is the father of all Parisian “palace hotels”. It is located opposite the Jardin des Tuileries, at the heart of Paris 1st district.
Augustin Meurice opened his first hotel in 1771. The goal was to satisfy the ultra-rich English clientèle, who expected London’s high standards when visiting Paris. In 1835, the hotel moved to its current location at 228 rue de Rivoli and became even bigger and more luxurious in the process. Le Meurice was where the Parisian elite (royalty and aristocracy as well as rich artists) loved to be seen. The management changed in 1907 in order to compete with the Ritz Paris, the new flagship of Parisian luxury. The building was then entirely renovated in order to bring it up to the new standards of its time (lifts, telephones, private bathrooms…).
Many personalities chose the Meurice as their place of residence: the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí lived in the hotel for 27 years…
Restaurant Le Dalí ★★★☆☆
The influence of Salvador Dalí is palpable around the entire hotel but especially so in the restaurant that was named after him. Phillipe Starck supervised the decoration, gaining most of his inspiration from the surrealist movement.
The flashiest item is the ceiling- hung canvas, designed by Phillipe Starck and his daughter Ara Starck. I am not so fond of this type of “kitschiness”. The lighting points towards the ceiling and gives a yellowish aspect to the whole decor, as seen in the pictures below.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★☆
There are 16 teas and infusions on offer. They are sourced from Mariage Frères which is a very reputable tea company. It’s a pity that no connoisseur teas, or at least a few more classic teas, are on offer.
I started with “Thé de la longevité suprême” a very subtle green tea – maybe even too subtle for some – but it’s a great way to get started.
For people who favour something a bit stronger, the smoked black tea “Roi soleil” goes very well with the cakes and sweets.
Choice of teas: 16 (black, green, white, oolong, pu-erh and infusions); tea bags
Brewing method: Brewed in the kitchen or at the table (tea bag left in the teapot)
1 choice of tea with refills per afternoon tea; 14-16€ for an extra teapot
The Savouries ★★★★★
Many afternoon teas in Paris neglect the savouries. Some chefs (such as François Perret at the Ritz) even decided to do without them. I was glad to see that Alain Ducasse did not make such a mistake: the savouries are brilliant:
- Tomato, mozzarella, pesto and basil Panini
- Aubergine caviar Eclair topped with cabbage ♥
- Salmon roll (Tortilla bread)
- Poultry Sandwich with lemon and tarragon (toasted bread) ♥
Everything is delicious of course, but the sandwich’s crunchiness and tastiness stole my heart.
The Scones ★★★★☆
The scones were soft, tasty and served in a serviette to retain their warmth:
- Plain scone
- Sesame seed and Cranberry scone
They are served with an apricot jam/marmalade and red fruit jam from the “Chambre aux Confitures“.
There is no clotted cream per se as the Meurice Paris team decided to replace it by a Borniambuc cream. While the audacity is commendable, I am not keen on that strong crème fraîche taste and I had my scones without any cream.
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★
At first glance, the cakes and sweets may seem a bit frugal:
- Figs, cardamon and almond Cookie ♥
- Chocolate tart with Fleur de Sel (pure salt) ♥
- Small Cherry with tarragon coated with an ivory white chocolate shell
These cakes are as scrummy as it gets. The salt and chocolate combination works perfectly, as the salt brings out of the dark chocolate’s flavour.
I recommend pairing the cakes and sweets with the “roi soleil” black tea.
A pastry chef comes to each table to bring freshly baked pastries (bringing the total of cakes and sweets to five items):
- Gugelhupf (yeasted marble cake)
- Honey Madeleine
I love these small attentions, even more so as they are very unusual. Nothing better than a warm pastry on a relaxing afternoon.
Le Service ★★★☆☆
Service is courteous and efficient. The Le Dalí restaurant staff is very attentive so you will not be missing out on anything.
The security team may come across as cold, especially so if you take many photos (as I did for the purpose of this article). I understand that Le Meurice Paris may often be targeted by paparazzi, but I never felt such hostility anywhere else in the world. Consider yourself warned if you enjoy taking pictures as much as I do.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★☆
The Meurice Paris afternoon tea is worthy of the reputation of its chefs Alain Ducasse and Cédric Grolet. The food is excellent and teeming with originality, both for the sweets and the savouries.
This afternoon tea is a must-try for any gourmet visiting Paris. I wasn’t too keen on Le Dalí restaurant but I have no doubt that Phillipe Starck’s Dalí inspired style will please interior decoration enthusiasts.
March 2020 update: prices and link to the afternoon tea time; I am downgrading the overall mark to four stars as the afternoon tea is now a little too expensive and other hotels do better.
+: Hôtel Le Meurice setting
+: The Mariage Frères tea selection
+: The delicious, original food
+: The pastries straight out of the oven
+: The Gourmet’s afternoon tea
-: Le Dalí restaurant
-: No connoisseur teas
-: The Borniambuc cream
-: Expensive (2020 update) yet frugal
Phone: +33 1 44 58 1010
Address: 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris