There was a hint of the new magic. Rerouting us through the corridors of the Hotel de Paris as they were gilding its amphitheatre-style expanse with finishing touches. Our eyes were drawn to the lobby and Salle d’Empire and, of course the magnificent Belle Époque “haute couture” restaurant Louis Quinze. Almost secretly, toward the Jean Mus gardens and the sea in the Rotunda wing of the Hotel de Paris a new pearl was emerging, with the intriguing name Omer. It’s the newdarling baby of Alain Ducasse.
Think of playing with the concept “Au Mer” and a delectable range of seafood, but not only. Think also of the fabled Homer and his Odyssey. Because Omer takes you on a wondrous trip around the Mediterranean. Imagine sharing all the finest tastings encompassing North Africa and the Middle East in addition to Spain, the Italian and French Rivieras and wandering south to Sicily and Sardinia. This is what Alain Ducasse is tempting us with.
It’s a daring challenge to pair in the same Hotel the lauded magnificence of Louis Quinze with the new-concept Omer with dishes such as a tartare of fish, exquisitely plated with caper berries, flowers and such. Or a delightfully spiced Shawarma veal kebab, in a yoghurt sauce, tickling the palate and the nose with its flavours and scents.
It’s a welcome challenge and one that makes sense for the grand creator of restaurants encircling the world with 20 Michelin stars. A challenge that has been brewing, awaiting its destiny in Monte Carlo. It finds its seeds in a cocktail of ideas, which came to life first in 2005, with agrand encyclopaedia of 500 recipes, the “Grand-livre de cuisine”.
That has now evolved and synthesized and given birth to Omer – where you are encouraged to share and take a broad journey around the Mediterranean. That unique “terra” in the middle of the word Mediterranean will always be captured – civilization after civilization worshipping the olive as well as the divine fish that the region nurtures.
Ducasse has a passion for variations on architectural gems. Rather than Bell Epoque, at Omer imagine a more modern, nautically themed environment, with alcoves, as if cruising on a luxury yacht. It’s created on a design by Pierre-Yves Rochon. Expect less formalityand to be teased with dishes at inviting prices; flexible enough in their offerings to include a half-hour lunch on a bento box at around 50 euros. Or perhaps an inviting octopus salad will tickle your fancy.
Omer is gifted with the masterful culinary talents of Patrick Laine, who has been serving three-star Michelin cuisine at the Alain Ducasse flagship in Monte Carlo now for many moons. It will be interesting to see how he capitalizes on the Ducasse treasure of experience in the Middle East at his IDAM restaurant in Doha in Qatar for example. And how he delivers world-class fresh cuisine with the finest ingredients at tempting prices. Omer with its alcoves and stunning Wine Circle; accessibility at the crossroads of culture and cuisine now welcoming Monte Carlo’s almost-outrageously-discriminating clientele.