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Sunday
Nov122006

Kong Bar

Kong Bar
1 Rue du Pont Neuf, 1st
M° Pont-Neuf
Tel 01 40 39 09 00.

www.kong.fr

Opened in 2003 on the 5th and 6th floors of the Kenzo building, Kong has an over the top Philippe Starck-designed environment that combines Japanese manga kitsch and Fashion TV flash with views over Paris and the LVMH headquarters. “Sex and the City” character Carrie met with her boyfriend’s ex-wife here in the final series episode set in Paris . I wasn't impressed by the food or the service, but it is kind of a cool place to see at least once. Great place for drinks between shopping and dinner. The Thursday night soirées are supposedly the best, but I admit I haven’t been back (nor heard of anyone else who has) since 2005. If anyone has an update, feel free to post it here!

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Reader Comments (6)

beautiful and delicous food... !!
December 17, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkat
Please read this review and take heed of my advice. Let me first say that what I have written here is a complete and honest account of my experience at Kong in Paris. My girlfriend and I have travelled the world and have experienced culinary delights from all walks of life. We have dined in 3* Michelin restaurants as well as family run eateries known only by local tradesman. I would say that I have a well rounded view on what makes for a worthy restaurant…. And by worthy what I mean is worthy of existence!

I was expecting a trendy spot serving haute cuisine with expert service. Unfortunately I received a somewhat overly tacky cafeteria style restaurant with sub standard food and terrible service.

The décor of the main restaurant was gauche. It failed miserably to reach the level of style it was aiming for. Actually being in the glass walled room made it feel incredibly cheap which, given the prices on the menu was its first serious failing. I was particularly surprised by the fact that the view out the windows was relatively poor (part of the bridge and river, the rest was roads and non-descript buildings). The dining room is small, probably can seat no more than 50 covers. I would imagine that the glass walls were a way to make the room feel larger than it was and distract you from the fact that you are almost in the lap of the diner on the next table.

Secondly what surprised me was the size of the menu, there were over a hundred dishes to choose from. If you are a fan of Anthony Bourdin you will know that a big indicator as to the quality of the restaurant is the size of the menu. A large menu indicates many ingredients, as fresh ingredients are expensive for restaurants those with large menu’s will re-use as much as possible or go for cheaper quality. I would argue that Kong’ management have opted for the latter.

The wine list was adequate albeit expensive for the quality you get. I actually knew some of the wines on the menu and had visited the vineyards personally. The mark up on the wines that I knew were almost unbelievable, I am talking margins of 1000% in some cases!

I started with the soft shell crab whilst my girlfriend had the fois gras with celeriac puree. The soft shell crabs were fine, possibly a little greasy. The fois gras was bland, poorly prepared and presented. Given that the starters were in the region of £20 each I was expecting something far better than that which we received. I have had much better for far less in many other establishments.

For the main course I selected the fillet steak whilst my girlfriend opted for the tuna steak. We were asked as to our preference for the cooking time of our respective steaks. I asked for the fillet to be rare whilst the tuna was to be seared. When we were finally presented with our main dishes I was extremely disappointed to see that the Tuna had taken on the dull, canned, brown colour which was further compounded when cutting through the middle to find no trace of red whatsoever. The phrase seared was clearly not understood by the waiter, or acknowledged. The fillet similarly had been over cooked. I asked for rare and received medium to well. Again we are talking of main course around £35 and would expect a lot more bang for my buck. When we called the waiter over we indicated as to the problem, he apologised and took our plates away. Within a few minutes another waiter who I was informed was called Marc (or Mark) told me that although the tuna was over done, he had consulted the chef to tell me that the fillet was cooked rare. I literally couldn’t believe what I was being told, supposedly in a fine restaurant in Paris the gastronomic centre of the world I was actually being told that a steak which was clearly not cooked rare was in fact rare, and what was worse was that the chef has refused to cook another one!

Regardless of your thoughts on whether a steak should be cooked as to the liking of the chef or the diner, I was so shocked that the waiter / manager was treating me so badly that I told him to take the steak away and take it off the bill. Whilst still regaling my girlfriend with the preposterousness of what had just happened, the waiter / manager (Marc / Mark) returned to the table asking us to leave, but not before we had paid €90 for the bottle of wine and two starters.

We were then shown the door and I couldn’t have been happier to leave. I almost want to tell people to go there and see what it is like just so that they can experience what I am talking about. The type of people frequenting this restaurant are utter morons, I don’t mean that rudely either. I read another review on this page talking about how this restaurant is featured in sex and the city… for me that sums it all up!

Now that I think about it… don’t go to this restaurant!
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel
Guess you should have read my review *before* you ate there. I've never seen ANY restaurant guide recommend the food at Kong. Bummer for your evening.
Hi, Daniel. I am sorry you had a bad experience at Kong with the food but like Heather said the place is not known for the food but rather for the ambience and decor. If you want to go eat at good restaurants in paris where they have good real food, Kong is not the place to be. Like they said. it's a place worth going at least once to get to know it as there is no many restaurants with the hip design and deocr that Kong has.
June 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternenette
OK... so I've just come back from a trip to Kong. January 2010.
The site used to be the restaurant of the old La Samaritaine department store. The decor is Philippe Starck - French, and an institution in the world of design. Think he's tacky? If you do go to Kong, don't complain about the decor. Love him? Then you'll love Kong. It's Starck and yes, it's gauche. Don't expect Paris' most amazing view. It's only 6 floors up. If you want a great view there's a big metal thing across the river that'll give you an awesome view at 300m. The 'aspect', is rather pretty and typically parisienne. Prepare yourself for a glimpse of the river, a vis-a-vis into the offices of the LV headquarters, and a complete, unobstructed 'view' of the weather you're graced with on the day of your visit.
Like Hotel Costes, go here and you'll realise that Parisian waiters don't care for being like other subservient waiters around the world. But then again, that's just how it is in Paris. Who knows where it came from, and who cares! It's Paris. Your waiters won't smile at you and they'll do as they please. That said, I'm still very thankful I visited Kong.
I went for afternoon drinks with some friends. It's not cheap. But what is in Paris?! 16 euro for a JW-Red. 22 euro for a flute of champagne and 8euro for a lemonade. My scotch was served in a dirty glass. And by the way my 'fresh' glass came back to me (one tiny melting cube of ice) I knew it was the original pour only in a new home. This I didn't mind too much, but my inability to stop comparing the city I was in to my hometown (every travellers faux-pas!) of Sydney did manage to feed my bitterness that for the price I was paying, I could have at least got fresh ice!!! Even better - check the glass before you pour boys!
All this said, it was still an experience I was thankful to have had. Go for a drink. If anything so that you have your own story to tell. Enjoy the 'aspect', sit on the ghost chairs, experience the 'why are you here interrupting my day of peace and quiet and making me work' service. Laugh while you sip on your quality drinks and bitch about how much better this city could be if the service standard was how it is back home. But if you're like me, you'll see that the experience was worth 22euro... but perhaps no more.
M
January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarco

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