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FOOD & DRINK

French poet and painter inspires new drinks list at LPM Restaurant in Dubai

Words by Rob Chilton

The life and times of Jean Cocteau are celebrated at the top DIFC restaurant

Artist, author, playwright, poet, filmmaker, painter, drinker – Jean Cocteau was a cultural chameleon who knew how to live the good life. Coming to the fore in the 1920s, the French polymath and socialite had the knack of sniffing out the hottest party with the coolest crowd and inserting himself right at its epicentre, making famous friends along the way such as Coco Chanel, Louis Cartier, Charlie Chaplin and Pablo Picasso.

Born on the outskirts of Paris in 1889, Cocteau moved to the south of France which became his playground until his death in 1963. It’s here that he stamped his unique style on the cultural landscape. And it’s these golden years in Provence that are the inspiration for the new cocktail menu at LPM Restaurant, the French restaurant with six locations around the world including Dubai.

Jean Cocteau was a colourful character

Global bar manager for LPM, Tibor Krascsenics, spent 18 months carefully crafting the new menu that includes ingredients such as Greek yoghurt, sandalwood, coconut sorbet, salted prunes, cacao nibs and fennel cordial. “It’s been a labour of love, with the end result being a testament to one of the greatest figures of the 20th century – and one of its most versatile artists,” says Krascsenics, 35.

Details of each drink are printed on paper decorated with Cocteau’s artwork and quotes such as ‘I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul’. The menu comes in a folder made from recycled leaves of the pineapple, the fruit that is the symbol of hospitality. On the front of the menu is the gold inscription Recipes For Our Friends, a play on the title of a cookbook Cocteau wrote with chef Raymond Olivier titled Recipe for a Friend.

Art by Cocteau at Chapel Saint Blaise des Simples in Milly-la-Foret, south of Paris

“Jean Cocteau was all about friends, art and hospitality,” explains Krascsenics from Slovakia. “We’ve taken four houses he lived in during his colourful life to make chapters for the menu. Each house has several drinks attached to it.” The houses are situated in Maisons-Laffitte, Villefranche-Sur-Mer, Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat, and Milly-la-Foret.

One highlight of the menu is called Lettre a Coco, which riffs on the notes found in the perfume Chanel No. 5. Each drink comes with a letter inside a pink envelope that bartenders spray with the famous perfume before serving it on a silver platter.

LPM in Dubai

The Trinity, meanwhile, is served on top of a box with a magnet inside that enables the glass to hover and spin in mid air. With the Linden Alley, the drinker first wipes their hands on a towel infused with linden oil (linden trees were commonplace around Cocteau’s childhood home near Paris) which allows them to enjoy the aroma when lifting the glass to their lips. The Tuesday Escape has a piece of rice paper stuck to the rim of the glass featuring Mickey Mouse to represent the comic books that Cocteau loved to read while eating sweets towards the end of his life.

Global bar manager for LPM, Tibor Krascsenics

Krascsenics, who will roll out the menu at LPM’s locations around the world, says he has become fascinated with Jean Cocteau and plans to visit the houses mentioned in the new menu. “What we tried to do was tell stories about Cocteau’s life through these drinks,” he smiles. “He had an interesting life and told lots of interesting stories.”

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