After opening four Fig & Olive restaurants, all in New York, founder and owner Laurent Halasz has decided to branch out to Melrose Place in West Hollywood. Wednesday evening was the first in a series of three private opening parties for the restaurant, which included a fashion show, Lamborghini car displays, and DJ beats throughout the night.
As Fig & Olive Melrose Place is surrounded by boutiques like Monique Lhuillier, Carolina Herrera, Alexander McQueen, and Vivienne Westwood, Barras combined couture with cuisine for the week's opening parties as a gesture to the neighborhood. Amongst the partiers and passed hor d'oeuvres, models in Fendi designs stood up on blocks on the dining room floor. Friday's opening party will feature fashion by Chloé. Barras hopes that when Angelenos think of Fig & Olive, they think not just about the food, but that "they have to dress up a little bit"--all in keeping with the brand's stylish, European vibe.
Last night, even the skinny set was pouncing on passed trays of prosciutto crostini, tomatoes filled with cheese, slices of roast veal, and little pots of chocolate creme. It was so crowded that the Los Angeles fire marshall could be seen roaming the premises, and this was just day one.
Owner Laurent Halasz plans to stay in Los Angeles for several months to get the restaurant off the ground before returning to New York. He said of the new West Coast location: "what we can do here that's better than New York is ingredients. The seasons are much longer--you go to Santa Monica [farmers market] and it's a dream! For example, we're about to have some prawns from Santa Barbara tonight that taste delicious. The access to ingredients here is a joy."
As for the restaurant's focus on featuring the world's best olive oils (see LA Weekly's story), pastry chef Andrew LeStourgeon plans to launch a dessert menu featuring items made only by olive oil--no butter allowed, just like the rest of the menu.
The 8,000 square foot restaurant has separate areas for fine dining, a 50-foot marble bar for communal eating, a garden terrace and an upstairs lounge area. Dinner service begins this Saturday, March 5. By March 21, the restaurant hopes to be open for lunch and have their alfresco dining set up along Melrose Place.
Fig & Olive
8490 Melrose Place
West Hollywood, CA 90069