HIRU, Fine Tapas <br>At the Foot of Montmartre

HIRU, Fine Tapas
At the Foot of Montmartre

HIRU is, first and foremost, a story of friends, that of the chefs – and founders – Alexandre Lacroix and Antoine Micouin. Two Paris-Dauphine graduates who had no intention of opening a restaurant. And yet they did! They didn’t count on the irresistible call of great food and cooking. A desire to “create and become entrepreneurs” that was stronger than their respective careers in finance. Having trained with Alain Ducasse, the two friends set themselves the challenge of opening their own restaurant. And the challenge was brilliantly met because HIRU was launched in the lively Montmartre district, offering a sunny menu for lovers of the good and the beautiful. In addition to being a gourmet address, 14 Rue Duc is a real tribute to the eighties, with a carefully designed interior by Alexandre’s brother, the architect Pierre Lacroix. He came into the equation because of his “touch” and “the atmosphere he brings to different places, through the choice of materials and colours (…)”. Intimate yet warm and welcoming, HIRU plays with a medley of mediums to create a unique vibe. A fine balance between the stainless steel of the bar, the wood panelling on the walls and the red squirrel-coloured leather of the seats embodies a strong visual identity that complements the signature of Studio Laurie Hernandez, the agency responsible for the restaurant’s graphics. And a sense of detail that extends to the name chosen for this first project. For “Hiru” is a name with Japanese, but above all Basque, connotations – meaning “three” – echoing the origins and backgrounds of its co-founders. Right down to the menu! Convivial and harmonious, where the Iberian influence blends with the culture of the South West and the Riviera! Numerous delights redolent of the south which “respect the seasons and natural ingredients”, like the Iberian ham croquettes – a highlight on the menu! “A new take on tapas” to share and enjoy with friends around a table or at the counter in this very special and eye-catching setting, where finesse and comfort are effortlessly combined.

HIRU, 14 rue Duc – 75018 Paris. Open Monday to Sunday from 18:30 to 01:00. Reservations on www.hiruparismontmartre.com or +33 (0)631 904310.

Bar HIRU à Montmartre
Étagères avec bouteille au restaurant à HIRU à Montmartre
Poufs en cuir restaurant HIRU à Montmartre
Alexandre, Antoine, Pierre, can you introduce yourselves?              
Along with Antoine, we are the founders and chefs of HIRU Paris Montmartre, a tapas restaurant, wine and cocktail bar that opened in May 2021. We called on Pierre to design the architecture of the premises. Before this project, I first studied economics and finance, then began my career in banking before turning to asset management. I ended up redirecting my career towards my initial passion for entrepreneurship and gastronomy.          
My name’s Antoine, co-founder of HIRU Paris Montmartre, and I come from the Basque Country. I started my career in finance for a French bank in New York, after a Master’s degree at Paris Dauphine University. Then, like Alexandre, I converted to the world of gastronomy in 2019, when I joined the Ducasse School.
Pierre, architect of the premises. I worked at India Mahdavi for 3 years after graduating from Camondo. I set up my studio in 2015, when the Hotel Particulier asked me to design their cocktail bar. On a daily basis, I like to work on different types of projects for which I try to have a total approach by designing as many things as possible.

Alexander and Antoine, how did you meet?              

Alexandre & Antoine
We met at Paris Dauphine University in 2009. But it wasn’t until five years later, during our respective International Volunteers in Business internships in New York, that we really became friends. We both had a passion for gastronomy, we loved to cook and shared a common desire to go into business and to create. So our partnership developed quite naturally. Once our cooking degrees and our pastry training had been validated, we set ourselves the challenge of opening our own restaurant in Paris.            
Why did you choose Pierre to design your premises?                      
Alexandre & Antoine
Pierre is Alexandre’s brother and we love his architectural style and the atmosphere he brings to different places through the choice of materials, colour and lighting. We therefore immediately invited him to take part in the project. We have developed a mutual trust and we could not have imagined a better collaboration. Pierre has brought a very special vibration to HIRU.                   
Poufs en cuir restaurant HIRU à Montmartre
Lampe à poser restaurant HIRU à Montmartre
Table restaurant HIRU à Montmartre

We wanted to create a venue that gave pride of place to raw materials, while making it intimate and warm.

Applique HIRU restaurant à Montmartre
Miroir HIRU restaurant à Montmartre
Chaises cannage HIRU restaurant à Montmartre
With a name with Japanese overtones and a menu that recalls the flavours of the Basque Country, HIRU breaks the rules. Why associate these two cultures within the same restaurant?  
HIRU means “three” in Basque, but also “a state of sunshine” in Japanese. When we were thinking of a strong, singular identity, echoing our respective backgrounds, HIRU seemed the obvious choice. This name is a tribute to my Basque origins and to the childhood memories of Alexandre in Japan. On the other hand, our culinary identity is rooted in the gastronomy of the southwest, the Iberian Peninsula and the Riviera. It is gourmet-inspired, harmonious and friendly.       
You also decided to make this showcase a vibrant tribute to the eighties. Pierre, what inspired you to orchestrate the scenography of the premises?      
Alexandre & Antoine
We wanted to create a venue that gave pride of place to raw materials, while making it intimate and warm. Stainless steel, woodwork and leather very quickly found their place in our identity and perfectly fitted in with the graphics that we were developing in parallel with the Studio Laurie Hernandez. We also thought that focusing on furnishings with seventies/eighties overtones would give HIRU a timeless character and reflect our inspirations.
I wanted to design a comfortable, easy-going place, where you feel good. I live in Montmartre and I wanted to create a place that is well rooted in the neighbourhood, and especially not to overdo it. We worked on the shell by rounding all the corners, then added classic frames in which we set vintage mirrors. Wooden and red-brown leather lower wall panelling runs round the entire room. At the same time, we sketched out a big stainless steel bar. I wanted an écailler [oyster shucker] style bar that ages well, a place where people like to sit down for a glass of wine. I dipped back into the work of Maria Pergay’s to draw it, in addition to references to metal structures. To compensate for the cold appearance of the stainless steel, we worked with very warm lighting to make the place comforting. In particular, we unearthed a lot of 1970 vintage wall lights from Raak to decorate the walls.      
Your menu offers tapa dishes that smack of sharing and sunshine. Which products do you particularly enjoy working with in the kitchen?
Alexandre & Antoine
HIRU offers an evolving tapas list that is conducive to sharing, respecting the seasons and naturalness. It is essential for us to work with very high-quality fresh products, whether they are vegetables from Île-de-France or the pork products we import from Spain. One of our signature dishes is the Iberian ham croquette, which is served with a vegetable fondue and a poultry broth reduction. Both regressive and addictive, it nonetheless retains all the finesse of its preparation.
Chaises cannage HIRU restaurant à Montmartre
Restaurant HIRU à Montmartre
Plat HIRU Montmartre
Lumière HIRU restaurant à Montmartre
What can we eat here?
Alexandre & Antoine
Our menu adapts to everyone’s wishes and appetite. You can start with pimientos del padron, a gravlax salmon with gin, a few thin slices of Iberian ham, continue with an eggplant caviar, or pork cooked at low temperature, to finish with a sweet touch. Right now, for example, we offer a de-structured chocolate tartlet, with a combination of textures and different intensities of cocoa that bring a light, gourmet touch. It pairs perfectly with certain wines and spirits. We are also working on the summer menu, which will offer tapas based on fish (strawberry ceviche, in particular) and vegetables, always in the same spirit. 
And at the bar?
Alexandre & Antoine
Certainly the “Alain Ducasse had it”. This cocktail originated from an anecdote that is particularly meaningful to us. A few weeks after HIRU opened, Chef Alain Ducasse in person came to dinner. Sitting at the bar, he asked us for a cocktail that was “acidic, bitter, made with a shaker and not too diluted”. We created on the spot a long drink based on Campari, lime juice, bourbon and lemon bitters.   He loved it! So we thought it would be cool to put this “signature” cocktail onto our list.

Why did you choose to create these premises at the bottom of the Montmartre district? What does this neighbourhood mean to you?

Alexandre & Antoine
We researched several neighbourhoods, but the southern part of Montmartre was the one that seemed most interesting to us for our project. Having lived there, we knew the area well enough and loved the vibe and cosmopolitan criteria that make this part of the 18th arrondissement so charming. Then, we observed that the offer of cool restaurants/bars was quite limited, but that there was a strong appetite for this type of establishment. So we gave it a try, once again quite naturally. In hindsight, we are very happy to participate in the life of this neighbourhood!

Where will we find you in the coming months?

Alexandre & Antoine

On our summer terrace, every evening from 6:30 pm, for a gourmet aperitif in the sun! Of course, at the same time we are thinking about other projects. In Paris and elsewhere, always with the same DNA, probably for 2023.

Table HIRU restaurant à Montmartre
Panneau HIRU restaurant à Montmartre
Plat HIRU restaurant à Montmartre

On the other hand, our culinary identity is rooted in the gastronomy of the southwest, the Iberian Peninsula and the Riviera. It is gourmet-inspired, harmonious and friendly.

Terrasse HIRU restaurant à Montmartre
Vitrine HIRU restaurant à Montmartre

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