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A Minifig\'s (Re)view: 10243 Parisian Restaurant
« poslato: Januar 09, 2014, 08:11:16:pre podne »
(note: a BIG thank you to Bobby from LEBGO for his permission to post this review on our forums)

Happy new year, fellow studheads! Here’s to a good and prosperous one and all that… Ah, and here’s to a very good year gone by as well. Yeah, I guess you could say I’ve been around for a while now… I can still remember having new year’s day lunch as a kid at the Breezeway Café – their chef was a real master, and he’d fix me up the juiciest steaks! I’d dream of them for weeks whenever my parents would drag me up to their cabin along the Rocky River. I don’t suppose the mountains have changed much, and luckily I don’t go hiking too often anymore – I’ve had more than my fair share of baked bean cans. Now, the town – that’s a different story: when I think back, it seems everyone used to have their front door – and back wall – open for you… I guess it’s just that everything looks much simpler when you’re a kid and you walk around with a smile on your face all day long.

Aside from all of that nostalgia though, let’s be honest, we’ve had it pretty good in recent years as well. True, some of our fellow townsmen may have developed a more lax attitude towards their facial hair upkeep, and traffic has definitely become a bit of a bother considering the amount of heavy trucks and equipment roaming the streets… but it’s a good thing the industry’s booming, now that our town is starting to turn into a proper city. More business brings more residents – and these days there’s plenty more girls in the streets as well!

Speaking of which, let me tell you, up until a few years ago, there really wasn’t all that much you could do if you wanted to impress your date – in my teenage years, I even took a girl on a sightseeing tour of the local gold mine. Suffice it to say, she was far from impressed. But that’s also been changing in recent years! The first major new introduction to our fine city was that huge corner hotel with the fancy new Italian café on the first floor. Nice buildings like that have been popping up here and there, and even the local fire department which seemed pretty content with changing headquarters every other year has now moved into a renovated old building that has become the pride and joy of our downtown district.

But let’s get back to taking girls out on dates. Less than a year ago, the city’s new cinema opened its doors to visitors and I was lucky enough to score two tickets to the grand opening of “Forever Sorting”. I was keen to impress a girl I’d just met – and that definitely helped; the date went really well, even though we had to miss out on the first part of the “dinner and a show” standard – she said she wasn’t a big fan of pizza or fast food… which was just as well, since I hadn’t picked up my paycheck anyway. We have been going out for quite a while – and now that our city has its very own Parisian Restaurant, I can finally take her out for a proper meal as well.

Mind you, I live just across the street from the Restaurant, so I was literally there when they were laying the foundations. I remember that actually building it didn’t take too long; the construction team just seemed so agitated to get it done. Weirdly enough, the first sign of things to come was the pavement they arranged outside the place. That and the fancy red carpets– I still can’t quite fathom how they managed to keep them in such pristine condition…

While they were still building the place, Bob – a childhood friend of mine working in the construction industry – sneaked me into the kitchen. He said that it was built to the exact specifications provided by Albert, the owner and chef of the new place. The interior space didn’t seem too big, but had room for everything – I guess Albert knew exactly where he was going to cook his starters, main dishes and deserts; and I could already imagine the magic happening in there. On the ground level, I could see that the central piece would be a stylish rustic wooden bar – and straight away, I knew just where my favourite table was. While I was watching them build the Restaurant, I was busy daydreaming about what would happen at that table – but that’s a whole different story.

The contractors did a rather good job of cleaning up the place – the backyard looked pretty neat, and I could only hope that Albert would keep it that way once he opened his restaurant. In all honesty, there has been talk of rodents now keeping a regular watch on the restaurant’s trash bins, but personally, I’d dismiss it as rumors spread by the jealous owner of the pizza parlor a few blocks down the road.

The restaurant’s façade started shaping up as soon as the builders were done with the first floor. They erected these gorgeous marble columns along the front, which really complemented the building’s broad windows. Albert had also managed to find space for a couple of tables for two at the front, and the fancy red carpet met its match in the red canopy above – which, aside from looking just as chic, served to shield the restaurant’s carefully devised menu from the elements – and stated to the neighborhood that the new place would bear its proud chef / owner’s name.

Rumour has it that our new French neighbour has ordered the draperies that go behind the grand windows on the first floor from all the way across the pond. If that’s the case, I’m guessing he splashed out quite a bit – although Bob tells me that those things are not so original and he’s seen a pretty similar design and execution in one of those other fancy buildings around town…

As you can tell, having friends in all the right places certainly pays off – Bob kept providing me with access to the place as construction works developed. In what seemed like no time, his crew was done with the first floor and started work on the second story.

Leading up to the entrance of the second floor is an open staircase that looks impossible to tackle with a serving platter in one hand and a bunch of glasses in the other – and if it were me, not even the sturdy-looking railing would be enough to keep from toppling over. But I guess Albert’s waiter is not as clumsy – the guy certainly doesn’t seem to mind serving the two outside tables on that floor.

The second storey itself is designed to serve as living quarters – Bob told me it was purchased before construction began by a scooter-loving girl who goes by the name of Stella. Her curious red toy has definitely livened up the neighbourhood, and is something we don’t see much of around these parts… From what I’ve been told, Stella doesn’t like having things too cluttered up around her so she keeps her place pretty neat and tidy. The nice Murphy bed she’s had installed definitely helps for that – and the fireplace corner with a reading niche adds tons of atmosphere to her living arrangement.

And before you ask, no, I don’t do breaking and entering, and I’m not one of those guys that enjoy peaking in other people’s windows either – although, come to think of it, the windows on the second storey do seem to allow quite a bit of sunlight in. The reason why I’m aware of all those details about Stella’s abode is that, in a weird twist of events, Bob got together with Stella while working on that very same building. He’s now even looking to buy his own scooter… but that’s also a whole different story.

Let’s move on to the third floor of the building. Seen from where I live, that is definitely an architectural masterstroke. Its flowing curvy forms in dark blue are broken up by an elaborate attic window and a couple of symmetrical ornaments that complement the marble columns leading up the façade. I could, however, almost swear I’ve seen the filigree ornamentation adorning the lower part of that floor used as headdress by some indigenous local tribe…

The third floor is accessible via a rear outside staircase going up from the restaurant’s upper terrace. The top of the building is where Albert can usually be found outside his regular business hours – it’s the place where he has chosen to express his second passion other than the culinary art – painting. I paid him a visit a couple of weeks ago and I must tell you, the view he gets from that top floor is stunning. But then again, it would be – I live across the street, after all! The atelier is not too functional though – Albert’s easel and painting board easily take up half the space there.

The moody artistic atmosphere also goes together quite well with the rustic fireplace, but it does feel as though it can get a bit too gloomy at times. So Albert has had some fancy electrical work done in there that allows him to get a ton of natural sunlight… at the expense of a whole lot of privacy. But I guess an artist knows best what it is that he needs for inspiration. As long as we keep getting Albert’s priceless (albeit a tad pricey) Foie gras, he may well do as he pleases with his roof!

Well, I guess this pretty much concludes our tour of the city’s latest pride and joy. In all honesty, I must say I’ve seen buildings around these parts come and go; some of their designs get revisited, others end up repurposed or redeveloped instead. I’m pretty sure that Albert’s Parisian Restaurant is one for the ages. Not just as a great place to have a fine meal, but also as one of the architectural masterstrokes in town.

Seeing Chez Albert go up was a joy – but not half as much as having it across my front door and watching it every morning when I go to work. Certainly, this will always remain a dear place to me. Oh, and speaking of that – in case you’re curious as to those daydreams I mentioned a bit earlier on – I guess you could call that my new year’s resolution… Yeah, I’m a lucky guy, feel free to envy me! The only thing that’s actually troubling me though is that I still need to consult Albert as to what I could actually fit that massive ring inside though…

Shoot, wait – I almost forgot the best part of it all! Lucky for you, I’ve also got the whole thing being constructed – on tape. It was my way of returning the favour to Bob (he insisted on having all the details available for future reference), and now I think it\'s something everyone can enjoy. Voila:

[video size=100 width=425 height=344 type=youtube]ucLxyAKcWxw[/video]

With your permission, I’ll use the end of this (re)view to break character just for a bit.

First of all – may the new year bring you all good health and success! And at least one copy of the 10243 Parisian Restaurant each. Because \"Chez Albert\" is right up there alongside the Café Corner as one of the sets that you just have to have - unlike its predecessor though, it can not rely on novelty alone. Which is probably why this set\'s building techniques are actually what sets it apart - with elaborate yet sturdy and utterly enjoyable approaches, and a beautifully thought out interior design. As you could probably tell, absolutely no corners were cut in the making of the Parisian Restaurant and Jamie Berard has, yet again, gifted us with a brick-built masterpiece.

Furthermore, allow me to take this opportunity to express my most sincere gratitude towards TLG and LEGO’s Community Operations Manager for EU and Asia, Jan Beyer, who provided our LUG with the wonderful opportunity to review this set for you guys. In case you can read Cyrillic, feel free to head over to our forum and read the Bulgarian version of this review. Then come back and tell me if you\'ve spotted all the differences!

And last but not least – kudos to my partners in crime for this review, who include my significant Otter, fellow LUG member Akeyzerr, as well as his significant …erm, well, Akeyzeuse? I’m just not too good with French... Anyway – the photos and the awesome stop-motion video for this review are all Akeyzerr’s work (yes, he is a very patient and meticulous guy!), make sure you check out the Flickr set to see them in hi-res.
A Lion doesn't concern itself with the opinions of sheep

“In the beginning of a change, the Patriot is a scarce man, Brave, Hated, and Scorned. When his cause succeeds however,the timid join him, For then it costs nothing to be a Patriot.”


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Odg: A Minifig\'s (Re)view: 10243 Parisian Restaurant
« Odgovor #1 poslato: Januar 09, 2014, 11:30:59:pre podne »
This is one of most beautiful review I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing Bobby!

This set is first on my wish list for this year, and yes it will be mine!

Belgrade`s finest

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Re: A Minifig\'s (Re)view: 10243 Parisian Restaurant
« Odgovor #2 poslato: Januar 09, 2014, 12:21:20:posle podne »
Instead me too :)
great review
Име познатог научника Волта? Џонтра Дизни!


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Re: A Minifig\'s (Re)view: 10243 Parisian Restaurant
« Odgovor #3 poslato: Januar 09, 2014, 04:33:23:posle podne »
Parisian Restaurant looks good together with Pet Shop.
Best set for 2014