Inside the chic new French restaurant Lumière at the Fairmont Century Plaza
Originally built in 1966, the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City is a truly iconic Los Angeles location, hosting presidents and accolades over the decades. After years of renovation, the building designed by Minoru Yamasaki is reborn today as the Fairmont Century Plaza, with two towers looming behind and a whole new look in its famous curved tower. And there’s a new French brasserie on the ground floor called Lumière, which also opens today with veteran general manager Paul Quinn (previously at Quince in San Francisco, and locally at Bao Hiro) and chef Ramon Bojorquez lead. the show.
The somewhat sprawling restaurant comes with a welcoming entrance that gives way to a semi-open kitchen to the right and a patisserie and bakery to the left. Intended to serve both the neighborhood and the nearby office towers, this front area resembles a cafe, with benches and tables that will serve breakfast and lunch. Go further and find a gorgeous zinc cocktail bar and wooden cabinets that should be the center of attention at aperitif time and most evenings.
Dotted with antiques from France, the unconventional space has a lot of built-in character, from fixtures and lighting to signs. Even the dining rooms have different vibes, from black veneer tables with pastel accents to the wide garden patio that could very well become the place of celebrity lore, like the Polo Lounge. There is a private dining room called Writer’s Room with 1920s decor on the nose meant to evoke the Hemingway / Gertrude Stein / F. Scott Fitzgerald ambiance of Paris.
The space, put together by EDG Design, will certainly be a talking point, with Lumière’s central location in the middle of the Hollywood shopping district, i.e. Creative Artists Agency, headquartered in Across the Street (which just announced its acquisition of ICM Partners, another Century City- based mega talent agency) – probably doing a lot of handshake deals here. The Fairmont’s restaurant looks set for the awards show afterparties and lush photoshoots of Vogue and Power Brokers, but in reality, the Heart of Lumière serves up a familiar and accessible ensemble of robust French classics with a twist. THE.
Bojorquez, a Mexican chef raised near the border and now a veteran Angeleno, knows exactly what the LA restaurant wants. The chef spent time at Trois Mec under the direction of Doug Rankin and Ludo Lefebvre, then joined Rankin to establish the Silver Lake bar and restaurant as one of the most overlooked new openings in recent years. At Bar Restaurant, Bojorquez helped capture modern French sensibilities on Rankin’s menu with seasonal produce and excellent style on the plate. Here at Lumière, Bojorquez is keen to make a solid first impression as an executive chef, setting up a handsome pan-seared sea bass with roasted salsify and onion soubise, or a bone-in dry-aged New York strip. with a pepper sauce and a side of fries. For starters, there’s classic French onion soup in a goblet, as well as seafood towers (filled with oysters, lobsters, and caviar), cold cuts, and cheese platters.
When it comes to drinks, expect a French-inspired batch, like a pineapple and martini-tinted gastric from Chambord, or a cobbler with citrus and mint vermouth. A Russell’s Reserve “Century Plaza” bourbon transforms into a choppy old style as Century City blends mezcal, California Argonaut speculator brandy, vermouth and ancho reyes. The wines feature primarily a French selection, such as a solid 2019 Morgon from Domaine de la Bêche, although California sprinkles the blend with a 2016 Ramey from Russian River Valley.
It had been a long time since such a remarkable restaurant opened in Century City; Hinoki and the Bird debuted in 2013, while Craft opened in 2007. Between those two and Eataly, which entered Westfield in 2017, there have been a few other notable restaurants like Meizho Dongpo, Din Tai Fung, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle and Javier. But the neighborhood can certainly make use of a Republic-style all-day restaurant that has so much style, decor, and flavor. Hopefully Lumière can fulfill this role.
With dinner service to begin with, Light at the Fairmont Century Plaza opens tonight with hours from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and then potentially breakfast and lunch service in the coming weeks.