The Hidden Kitchen


Getting a reservation at The Hidden Kitchen (HK) is not an easy task. Bookings are made at least 3 months in advance unless a client cancels last minute (which requires you to be on the HK website or follow them on Twitter and emailing them immediately about your interest in the cancelled reservation). Hotter than most Parisian restaurants, the Hidden Kitchen is a private supper club in Paris held in a couple’s home. Dinner is held on the weekends only where 16 people from different backgrounds come together for a seasonal 10-course tasting menu paired with wine. Braden, our host and Chef, changes the menu every month, according to what’s available in the market. The menu is chosen at the discretion of the chefs (who ask you beforehand if you have any allergies). The menu is not disclosed until you arrive and since it is a tasting menu, the courses are small but still very inventive and fresh. 


The couple (Braden and Laura) are two young cooks from Seattle, United States began hosting dinner parties in their home in 2007 as a way to meet locals. As time went by, the demand for the dinner parties grew and they subsequently took on the task of hosting dinner parties twice a week. The location is unknown to you until you are confirmed a reservation. HK is a great opportunity for them and the guests to meet other foodies. 


The setting of HK is luxe with a long dining table as you walk in the front door. The open kitchen is in the next room and surprisingly a normal ‘home’ kitchen – no professional equipment. 



Our menu for the evening


Before each course is served, Braden explains his inspiration behind his Franco-American fusion idea while Laura moves around the table to fill glasses of each accompanying wine. Though the couple tells you about the complexity of serving and sitting through a 5-hour meal, the atmosphere is relaxed and what is so exciting about this experience is that your table mates are absolute strangers in the beginning but by dessert, you’re exchanging phone numbers, emails and even going to go on for further drinks with them. 


As we walked in the door, we were given a little cocktail: Pomegranate and carbonated vodka


Amuse-Bouche: Buckwheat (Sarrasin) gnocchi with salted prunes, parmesan sauce and Chives

The taste was very interesting – it kind of reminded me of a potato skin topped with cheese. The spoon was playful.

Roasted Celeriac Soup with Beets and Black Olive – served with Sherry, Sheep’s milk, vegetable stock and black pepper

My favorite dish of the evening. I liked the texture of the over-dried olive with the softness of the soup. A good contrast. 

Caramelized Fennel (skillet roasted) with Clams, Grapefruit and Fermented miso with butter, smoked Almonds

A very simple dish, very artistic as it looked portrayed the bottom of the sea. The butter was exquisite but too little for me to get an overall idea behind the dish. 

Rockfish fritter with Rye flour and pickled celery, Sous-vide red cabbage cooked with Sherry vinegar and butter, Ricotta and Tobasco and Red Pepper Relish 

I thought first it was a falafel but it is deep-fried fish. It was crunchy on the outside and very moist on the inside – good contrast. I liked the spicy punch at the end.

Palate Cleanser: Braden and Laura’s take on the Mint Julep – Bourbon Jello, Lemon sorbet and mint leaves. My second favorite of the evening.

It was light and refreshing – I wish I could have had a second-round. 

Braised pork shank with Orechiette (Vegan, ear-shaped pasta), Grilled cauliflower, Caper and Sage in white wine and horseradish

For me, a big disappointment of the evening. I thought the pork shank would be very tender but it was quite fibrous – perhaps it could have been cooked with more sauce so then it wouldn’t be that dry. The pasta was different – never had it before and well-cooked. I thought the overall dish was a bit salty due to the strong flavor of the capers and horseradish.

Hanger steak with Winter squash (Butternut) and Nori sauce, cooked overnight in chili oil, Charred onions sauce with coco and mung beans 

Again, not the best meat I’ve had. It was very stringy. It was not tender and soft, could have been more overcooked to give a more moist texture to the meat. I wasn’t a fan of the beans, they were a bit hard to eat. I liked the color of the sauce but couldn’t really taste the Nori.

Smoked potatoes with Green Goddess and Frisée, Frigata dressing with cupee mayonnaise and Crème Fraiche

I was a bit surprised with this last dish (before dessert). It was potatoes with frisée salad and dressing. 

Almond Cake with Blood Orange Sorbet and Caramelized White Chocolate 

I enjoyed the blood orange sorbet and the almond tea cake paired quite well with it.

Mignardises

The marshmallow (on the right) was cinnamon flavored, the chocolate (on the left) inside was with salted peanut butter and the bar was caramel with nuts. Candy 🙂

It’s Paris’ best-kept secret and a great first experience for me though perhaps I expected more out of the meal. I am glad I waited quite a while to enjoy the meal, perhaps it deserves a second-chance (with a different menu) to wow me.


Many food bloggers/food critics have loved it – I am waiting and willing to go back to see why. 


Braden and Laura were extremely friendly and funny hosts and we met a great crowd there. Thanks to Teddy for the final evening entertainment.


A very memorable evening indeed. 





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