Four years after Le Servan – their first venture, a little further down the same street and ranked best bistro by the 2015 Fooding Guide – Tatiana and Katia Levha have made their dreams into reality in the form of Double Dragon. The USP? Paying tribute to the cross-border cuisine of their children – with their heritage coming from a mother who originally came from the Philippines and a Polish father. With the same division of labour as they had at the outset – Tatiana in the kitchen and Katia in the front of house – the siblings offer flavoursome cuisine with a fun, Asian twist. They are supported by their young sous-chef, Antoine Villard, who was second-in-command at Septime before spending time at Fulgurances and who has just returned from a long trip to Asia. We found him, bursting with confidence and full of inspiration behind Double Dragon‘s domino counter was inspirational:, busy coming up with the lunchtime set menu (€18) as well as the à la carte menu for this new Parisian hotspot, where classic cuisine is made from the finest regional local produce and served with a twist. A show set to music, with a nod to a show that in turn takes its name from the pop culture of the 90s.
Double Dragon, 52 Rue Saint-Maur – 75011 Paris. Opening hours: from noon to 2 p.m. and from 7.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays. Advance bookings not offered.
Katia, could you tell us about yourself?
I opened my first restaurant four years ago with my sister, Tatiana, who is the chef. We opened the Double Dragon two years ago.
When and how did you get into the restaurant industry?
When I was 19. Shortly afterwards, I went to the Glion hotel school in Switzerland. Ad for Tatiana, she’d just started at the Ferrandi cookery school.
Why did you choose to work with your sister from the beginning?
It was a long-standing personal project. It was very natural for us to come together in our work, as we had always been close and had always followed complementary paths in our professional lives.
Who does what in your restaurants?
Tatiana runs the kitchen and cooks. I take care of the front of house and everything else.
Antoine Villard is both a very talented cook and an excellent leader. Our paths crossed after he had come back from a long trip to Asia.
Le Servan and now Double Dragon. How did the idea for this second property come about? What message do you want to convey with your cuisine?
The second property had been our dream, even before we opened Le Servan. We had grown up in Asia: our mother is Filipina and our paternal grandmother was an amazing cook. We wanted to create a place that reflected the culture of our international cuisine, full of flavour and spices with high quality produce, all on a human scale with affordable prices and a fun, energetic team.
What about the decor and the furnishings?
We did what we wanted to do, even if there isn’t necessarily an overarching, consistent vision! We really insisted on having a vast, coloured neon design by the immensely talented Thomas Jumin (our third partner), a gold leaf ceiling created by Etienne Renard, a counter made up of individually placed dominoes and a lazy Susan. We have combined the language of a traditional Asian restaurant with our own personal tastes and the work of lots of people and craftspeople who we like.
How did you choose your chef, Antoine Villard?
Antoine Villard is both a very talented cook and an excellent leader. This meant that he was the perfect choice! He had been the second chef at Septime, Tatiana’s husband’s restaurant, and that’s where we met him. Our paths crossed after he had come back from a long trip to Asia.
Are there any dishes here that you absolutely must try?
“Dynamite”, which is a Philippine recipe for extra-hot fried peppers stuffed with minced pork and cheese, and “yam woon sen”, a spicy Thai salad with translucent sweet potato noodles and prawns from the marshes of Charente.
Photography: Valerio Geraci – Text: Caroline Balvay – Translation: TextMaster @thesocialitefamily