Etude: A well deserved star

Salsify, clementine and black garlic

Salsify, clementine and black garlic

As I left the restaurant Etude after a colorful, well-paced, multi-course meal, my mouth felt very happy. And so did I – satisfied, enlightened, and eager to return. What more can a diner ask for? Japanese chef Keisuke Yamagishi,  who has a clear style all of his own, stood monk-like and focused as he assembled and seasoned his creations at the edge of the dining room. Yamagishi aptly named the restaurant after Chopin’s Etudes piano studies, and through his dishes he exudes the same passion and technique-centered concentration as the composer who inspired it. 

To a welcoming starter of carrots perfectly cooked into a brilliant orange puree, he added a subtle crunch of cubed kiwi, and a delicate spoonful of almond froth. To follow, golden salsify was dramatically paired with bright clementine and black garlic.  In a warm, rich square of brioche peanuts took the place of butter, and olive oil emulsified with cardamom became a spreadable delicacy. A dish of mushrooms and caramelized sweet potato gnocchi, with a creamy turnip sauce was a revelation. The wild nest of black kale, Brussel sprout leaves and braised endives with a leek sauce was surprisingly satisfying dish despite the absence of protein or grains.

 
 

Slow-cooked baby Kintoa pork from the Basque region arrived as bright pink, moist, and tender as any meat I have ever tasted. The dessert, an elegant construction of Madagascan dark chocolate, pistachio and tonka left me jealous that I had not created the beauty myself.

 
 

Quietly, Yamagishi has been exercising his craft since 2013 in this small, impeccable, pale wood and beige dining room, with its crisp, super-starched white linens and collection of carefully selected pottery and china. The chef trained in the kitchens of many of Paris’s modern favorites – Aida, L’Agapé (with Bertrand Grebaut, now Septime) and Abri – and received his first Michelin star in the 2018 guide.

Yamagishi certainly embraces today’s modern palate, offering two 5-course no-choice lunch menus: 'Symphony', an entirely vegan menu and his 'Ballades' omnivore menu. The Symphony menu is also offered in the evenings alongside an 8-course ‘Nocturne’ omnivore tasting menu. Ingredients are meticulously sourced, including unusual Japanese vegetable varieties grown in France by Japanese farmers.

His personal passion for Burgundy wines are reflected in his extensive and admirable wine list. 

Etude   |   Modern French / Vegan Friendly   |   14 rue du Bouquet de Longchamp   |   Paris 16   |   Tel: +33 1 45 05 11 41   |   Métro: Boissière or Iéna   |   Open lunch and dinner Tuesday – Friday, dinner only Saturday. Closed Saturday lunch, all day Sunday and Monda   |   45€ 5-course lunch menu (vegan + omnivore), 60€ 5-course vegan evening menu, 80€ evening tasting menu   |   Reservations essential   | Atmosphere smart–casual.


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Printemps du Goût: A Love Song to French Food

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It’s a sign of the times that the elegant Printemps Haussmann department store should dedicate its top two floors of real estate – with its magnificent view overlooking the rooftops of Paris to the Eiffel Tower and the Opéra de Paris – to its newly opened grocery store. This is no ordinary supermarket however. The store only stocks products made in France (selected through a process of blind taste-testing), where small artisan producers are represented alongside established well-known ambassadors of French cuisine. 

You’ll find everything from olive oils and vinegars, spices and condiments, to exquisite blocks of honeycomb and a vast selection of mini honey ‘pockets’ from Honly, who describe their flavor notes with as much attention as a wine merchant describes their wines. You can pick up coffee beans roasted right here in Paris from boutique roasters Lomi and Belleville Brûlerie, for jam lovers don’t miss the selection from Chambre aux Confitures (a favorite). The selection of Chapon chocolates is worth it just for the packaging, but I personally have a particular weakness for Henri Le Roux chocolates, also found in the confectionary section.

Upstairs are the fresh produce counters, with big-hitting names like baker Gontran Cherrier (make sure you try his red-miso and rye bread – a deeply satisfying loaf, or one of his croissants – one of the flakiest in Paris), Chef and restaurant owner Akrame Benallal with a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, Laurent Dubois for cheese and Michel Michalak with his picture-perfect pastries.

It’s expensive, as top quality usually demands, and curated as you might expect from a department store, but whether you are filling up a picnic basket, buying foodie gifts to take home, or just wanting to take a deep dive into French gastronomy, this is a one-stop shop where it’s hard to go wrong.

PRINTEMPS DU GOÛT    |   Floors 7 and 8 of the Printemps Haussmann department store   |   64 Boulevard Haussmann   |   Paris 9   |   Tel: +33 1 42 82 75 00   |   Métro: Havre-Caumartin   |   Open daily. Monday – Saturday 9.35am–8pm (Thursday until 8.45pm), Sunday 11am-7pm.


Best of 2017

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In the month of January I like to reflect on the places I have been and the chefs and meals that have touched me over the last 12 months. It's a fun exercise, to remind me of all the talent and bounty I have had the good fortune to experience over the past year. And looking down the list, I see my choices reflect some broad trends in food that are in full swing in both Paris and internationally, notably a conscious return to simplicity, a faithfulness to a concept of terroir and a primary emphasis on sourcing ingredients, and an unrelenting interest in natural and biodynamic wines. 

So this is my list of top picks of 2017 – not restaurants that necessarily opened in 2017 but ones in which I enjoyed exceptional meals, where I felt the true character of the chef was really evident in every meal. (In no particular order....)

Sauvage (Paris 6) – an unassuming wine bar whose creative chef has a fundamental instinct for balance and acidity. I was charmed by every dish that I ordered, and amazed about the quality of dishes given the minuscule size of the kitchen.

60 rue du Cherche-Midi |   Paris 7 |   Tel: +33 6 88 88 48 23 |   Métro: Sèvres-Babylone, Rennes or Vaneau

Yoshinori (Paris 6) – A Japanese chef working with impeccable ingredients, and simple yet creative ideas in every dish. 

18 rue Grégoire de Tours   |   Paris 6   |   +33 09 84 19 76 05   |   Métro: Odéon and Mabillon

Passerini (Paris 12) – For modern Italian fare in an elegant surrounding, you can't do better than Passerini. This is truly satisfying cucina povera in the hands of a master.

65 rue Traversière   |   Paris 12   |   +33 1 43 42 27 56   |   Métro: Ledru Rollin

Kitchen Ter(re) - my love for the talents of Chef William Ledueil is no secret, and his third restaurant in the capital is further proof that this man is exceptional. 

25 Boulevard Saint Germain   |   Paris 5   |   +33 1 42 39 47 48   |   Métro: Maubert-Mutualité

Yam’tcha – Adeline Grattard continues to wow her faithful followers with elegant French cuisine, injected with some Asian-influenced creativity. 

121 rue Saint Honoré   |   Paris 1   |   Tel: +33 1 40 26 08 07   |   Métro: Louvre-Rivoli

Quinsou – Understated, elegant cuisine from Chef Antonin Bonnet who really knows his produce. His food is earthy, and the ingredients are sourced with care, a favorite find of 2017. 

 22 rue de l’Abbé Grégoire   |   Paris 6   |   +33 1 42 22 66 09   |   Métro: Rennes ou Saint-Placide

Saturne – I had not managed to return to Saturne for many years after initially reviewing them in their early days. But my first visit back there in 2017 led to a flurry of subsequent bookings, I couldn't get enough of Sven Chartier's vibrant, original fare that left me inspired after every meal.

17 rue Notre-Dame des Victoires   |   Paris 2   |   Tel: +33 1 42 60 31 90   |   Métro: Bourse

Fulgurances – Two of last year's resident chefs at this novel restaurant that lends its kitchen to upcoming talent, were highlights of my culinary year: Céline Pham and Sebastian Myers. I look forward to tracking their next moves and to see what new talent Fulgurances has to share with us in 2018.

10 rue Alexandre Dumas   |   Paris 11   |   Tel: +33 1 43 48 14 59   |   Métro: Rue des Boulets

Table d'Aki – A firm favorite and one that I have come to rely on for exceptional ingredients and precise cooking techniques every time. Chef Akihiro Horikoshi never disappoints. 

49 rue Vaneau   |   Paris 7   |   Tel: +33 1 45 44 43 48   |   Métro: Vaneau or Saint-François-Xavier


For the full reviews on each of these restaurants, and for more Paris recommendations, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris iPhone App. 

Blueberry Maki Bar: Wacky, Delicious Sushi Rolls

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When I’m in the mood for a wacky, but delicious Japanese feast, I head over to the Blueberry Maki Bar, a bright and playful restaurant in the heart of Saint-Germain. Festooned with colorful lanterns and boosted by a lively, fun-loving staff (except when making reservations!) everything here has the sound of good times, including the amusing titles of each dish. Maki – or sushi rolls – are the signature here, and each order includes a lineup of four to six, giant rounds of sushi. A favorite is the Shiso Bomb, with salmon, avocado and yellow radish, all wrapped in leaves of shiso, the bright, pungent herb often called Japanese basil. Or try the Bonsai, a tray of vegetarian maki that includes marinated cucumber, avocado, sucrine lettuce, carrots, baby spinach, chives, and shiso.  Flavors here are forward and fresh, and the menu notes that all fish here are wild, not farm-raised. There is a pleasing wine list that includes a bright-flavored Alsatian Reisling that pairs well with Japanese fare, an offering from Domaine Léon Boesch. And for red wine lovers, there’s the 100% Gamay Domaine Sérol, Côte Roannaise. Reservations here are essential, though the telephone is not always answered, and staff can be rather rude as lines form outside the door when the restaurant opens. 

BLUEBERRY MAKI BAR   |   Japanese   |  6 rue du Sabot   |   Paris 6   |   Tel: +33 1 42 22 21 56   |   Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Près, Mabillon, or Saint-Sulpice   |   Open Tuesday – Saturday   | 24€ lunch menu, 15-45€ à la carte   |   Reservations essential.


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

Breizh Café Odéon: Satisfying Buckwheat Galettes

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Following the gigantic success of its Marais location, Breizh Café has opened a second Parisian crêperie across the Seine in the bustling Odéon quartier. This charmingly decorated spot – all pale wood and warming exposed stone walls with a wraparound outdoor terrace on the place – still offers some of the best-tasting buckwheat, or sarrasin galettes around. The thin, deep brown, crisp-edged treats could almost stand on their own, they are so densely-flavored, almost meaty, with a rich built-in wholesome goodness.

In fact, this is almost the case with their Breizh Crousillant, pita-like wedges baked to a delicate crispness, and served with varied accompaniments. We chose a delightfully flavorful tarama, a dish whose presentation and preparation lend an international aura, taking it out of its native Brittany.

But as much as I love the place and could easily lunch there once a week – the menu is overly extensive and ultimately too varied – leaving one with the impression that they are just trying too hard. Their maki-inspired rolls are not that attractive and are awkward to eat, whether filled with onion confit and sausage, or Comté cheese and Andouille.

My advice is to stick to the simple options. I adored their classic galette filled with high-quality smoked salmon and soft goat’s milk cheese, topped with a refreshing, light salad. But the hefty price tag of 18.50€ was over the top for such a simple offering. The 19.80€ plate of langoustines seared in Bordier seaweed butter was appealing, but I would have preferred larger, meatier versions of my favorite seafood.

While I am happy to have a second incarnation of one of my favorite crêperies right here in my neighborhood, it’s clear that here you are paying for the location as much as you are for the quality ingredients. Service is slow and distracted, so be forewarned. The place is always full, make sure to reserve in advance. 

BREIZH CAFÉ ODEON   |  Cafés and Casual Bites – Crêperie   |   1 rue de l’Odeon   |   Paris 6   |   +33 10 42 49 34 73   |   Métro: Odéon   |   Open daily, 11:30 am to 11 pm   |   Sweet and savory crêpes and galettes from 4.50-22.90€   |   Reservations: essential.


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

Yoshinori: fantastic fare in the 6th

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The next time I complain about a kitchen that’s too small, I will think of Yoshinori Morie. If I could turn out a fraction of the fantastic fare he manages from his postage stamp work space, I would applaud myself.

The Japanese chef’s Left Bank restaurant, Yoshinori, has been open since last October, and the 30-seat establishment on two levels already has a steady following. With its simple but elegant pale wood décor, delicate linen blinds, and painted white colombage, it’s simply a warming, welcoming, intimate spot.

With just two chefs in the kitchen and a staff of one in the dining room, Yoshinori works at a smooth and steady pace. The French fare is seasonal, varied, and well-sourced, with oysters from Utah Beach, milk-fed veal from the Corrèze, skate wing from Brittany, pork and lamb from la ferme de Clavisy in Burgundy, and cheese from Laurent Dubois.

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The plump Normandy oysters arrive bathed in a brilliant green sauce of sautéed leeks and juniper berry oil, showered with watercress. I fell instantly in love with his Ailes de Raie de Bretagne, meaty strips of moist skate wing served on a soothing bed of cabbage and Brussels sprouts, tossed in a buttery sherry vinegar sauce and topped with an avalanche of green herbs. The brilliant pink baby pork ribs—côte de cochon de la ferme de Clavisy – were paired with a mix of winter vegetables and a salty touch of Kalamata olives. And the bread, from baker Thierry Delabre, is worth a detour on its own, served with squares of sweet seaweed butter.

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But the real star of the show is the gorgeous, golden Passion Fruit Bavarois, set in a colorful mango sauce, flanked by squares of brilliant pink grapefruit jelly. It was a perfect wintry close – fruity, and easy on the palate – and I am inspired to recreate a version of this as a signature seasonal dessert.

The wine list presents some fine offerings, including selections from Michele Aubrey Laurent at Domaine Gramenon in the southern Rhône, Fanny Sabre in Burgundy, and Domaine Didier Dagueneau in the Loire Valley.

The well-priced 45€ lunch – first-course, main course, and dessert – is a must!

YOSHINORI   |  Modern French   |   18 rue Grégoire de Tours   |   Paris 6   |   +33 09 84 19 76 05   |   Métro: Odéon and Mabillon   |   Open Monday dinner, Tuesday to Friday lunch and dinner, and Saturday dinner. Closed Monday lunch, Saturday lunch and all day Sunday   |   35€ & 45€ lunch menus, 70€ dinner menu,  95€ dégustation menu at lunch and dinner   |   Reservations essential.


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

Saturne: Leading the Pack

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Thankfully, a number of Parisian chefs are going through an extremely creative, thoroughly down-to earth period, and Sven Chartier at Saturne is leading the pack. My last several meals there have been truly inspiring, it’s clear that he’s having a great time in the kitchen, turning out fare that excites him and nourishes us.

Whether at lunch or dinner, the spacious, wood and glass-roofed dining room is warming, offset by stunning white pendant lamps and a welcoming glassed-in wall of ready-to drink bottles of wine and spirits.

To say that his bite-sized appetizer brioches are feather-light is an understatement.  They’re airy and not overly butter-rich, served with a pungent, creamy dipping sauce made with aged Comté cheese. It’s that kind of originality and quality that makes Chartier so endearing.

His vibrant bouquet vivant de Bretagne – tiny, red, full-flavored shrimp that arrive at the market still squiggling and alive – are all crunch and pleasure, showered with bright green powdered dried seaweed, understated yet brilliant.

The menu features some of the best that France has to offer: Oysters from Utah Beach are anointed with a surprising sauce of pomegranate juice and raspberries; a Brittany-fresh scallop carpaccio is topped with a lively green watercress sauce and pungent nasturtium leaves; smoked pigeon is paired with a big slice of cabbage that is almost, but not quite burnt, an effect that gives the vegetable a smoky touch of its own. But the star of my last meal there was his generous portion of alabaster barbue – or brill – one of the best versions of that Breton fish I have ever tasted. This turbot-like flat fish was cooked to a tender perfection, with flavors brilliantly offset by faintly sweet, braised Conference pears, teamed up with briny sea urchin, ham from the Bigorre in France’s southwest, and all tied together in a buttery sauce of sweet vin jaune from the Jura.

I can also credit Saturne with my latest white wine discovery: a fabulous Chardonnay from the Doubs, that far eastern French department in the region now known as Bourgone-Franche-Comté. The wine, a vins de pays de Franche-Comté from Domaine Viticole du Moutherot near Besançon, is a revelation: golden, mineral-rich, unique with its intense yet pleasing notes of white flowers and varied citrus.

As you dine, surely don’t forget to admire and devour the outstanding pain des amis bread, a rich, thick-crusted loaf with a bright and nutty flavor from baker Christophe Vasseur’s Du Pain et Des Idées

 

SATURNE   |   Modern French   |    17 rue Notre-Dame des Victoires   |   Paris 2   |   Tel: +33 1 42 60 31 90   |   Métro: Bourse   |   Open Monday-Friday. Closed Saturday, Sunday, lunchtimes on public holidays and 22 December 2017 – 9 January 2018   |   45€ weekday lunch menu, 85€ carte blanche menu (150€ with wine pairing) at lunch and dinner.


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!


 

Passerini: Superb Cucina Povera

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I admit that it has taken me a while to come around to the talents of Chef Giovanni Passerini, but a recent meal at his namesake restaurant Passerini has me a bonafide convert.

The native Roman opened his first restaurant Rino back in 2010 after passing through the kitchens of Alain Passard (Arpege), Peter Nilsson (La Gazzetta) and Iñaki Aizpatarte (Le Chateaubriand). To an adoring Parisian crowd he was able to showcase his own modern style of cucina povera, but for me, in those early days, something didn’t click and my initial experience of Passerini’s vision left me uninspired. In 2014 he sold Rino, to go on to open a new restaurant and adjacent pasta shop (Passerini Pastificio) two years later in 2016 with his partner Justine. The new space, much bigger and brighter than the shoebox Rino, embraces a more sophisticated sense of modern Italian conviviality, offering shared dishes as well as an à la carte menu.

The memory of a recent lunch there lingered in my mind for days afterwards, his dishes a beautiful mixture of hearty servings, delicate flavors, crunch, acid and, above all, that promised sense of conviviality that is at the heart of any good Italian meal. The Panais-Pané proved much more interesting on the plate than on the menu and we delighted in the small nuggets of creamy parsnip deep-fried in bread crumbs and served with a spicy mayonnaise, sautéed Roman chicory, and united with a small dab of gel de citron (almost like a lemon purée). The black radish with oyster sauce, smoked sardines, sorrel and endive was refreshing and harmonious, and a very original take on a light, modern appetizer.

 
 

His pasta is the best example of modern cucina povera that I can think off, with all the hallmarks of comforting rustic Italian cooking, elevated to the extraordinary with thoughtful garnishes and exquisite quality produce. The ravioli, made next door in the pastificio, were filled with a dreamy concoction of potimarron (a dense, full-flavored squash), citrusy notes of orange and an earthy hit of tonka bean. The tonnarelli, a robust dried pasta of square spaghetti strands, was tossed in a hearty lamb ragout, with strips of fresh mint and a generous showering of grated fior sardo, a hard sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia.

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My heart sang when the waiter brought the dessert of the last-of season fresh figs, teamed up with crunchy, caramelized pecans and a ginger and milk sorbet, the perfect end to a faultless meal.

Doggy bags were requested due to the large portion sizes of the pasta, so go hungry. But make sure you go, as this is surely the best Italian meal you will find in Paris.

PASSERINI   |   Italian   |   65 rue Traversière   |   Paris 12   |   +33 1 43 42 27 56   |   Métro: Ledru Rollin   |   Open Tuesday–Saturday dinner. Closed Sunday, Monday & Tuesday lunch   |   restaurant@passerini.paris   |   24-48€ weekday menus (2-4 courses), 40-65€ à la carte at dinner   |   Reservations essential.


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

Sauvage: An Unexpected Delight

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Unexpected. This is the word that springs to mind when I think of the small unassuming restaurant-cum-wine bar that has shot to the top of my list of favorite neighborhood dining spots in recent months. Unexpected because of its unlikely location, its curious chef and the spectacular dishes that defy the impossibly small kitchen hidden at the back of the simple yet welcoming dining room. Such a restaurant might be more at home in the 9th or 10th arrondissements of Paris, yet has found itself nestled among the upmarket fashion boutiques and classic bistros of the well-heeled Sevres-Babylone neighborhood – luckily for me just steps from my 7th arrondissement apartment.

Like many of the most interesting new wave of chefs in Paris, chef Sebastien Leroy does not have classic French culinary training. He spent his early career as a graphic designer and then as a set designer in films, before turning his long time passion for food into a fulltime occupation. However, his earthy roots as the son of farmers goes a long way in explaining his deep affinity for all things seasonal and wild. True to the restaurant’s name (meaning wild), Leroy’s personal cooking style is punctuated with fresh herbs and edible flowers, sourced carefully from the likes of herbalist and professional forager Stéphane Meyer (also known as the Druid of Paris!).

 My first meal there made quite an impression – an entrée of raw mackerel, green asparagus, toasted buckwheat and white nasturtium flowers was united by a vinegar dressing whose acidity was perfectly balanced. And herein lies what I love most about Leroy’s food, his understanding of acidity and how to make it bring a dish harmoniously together.

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This perfect introduction was followed by a slow cooked pork dish served with a bright refreshing salad of raw thinly sliced cauliflower, radish, coriander, mint and punctuated with a vibrant miso dressing, a dish I immediately wanted to figure out how to recreate.

 Most dishes seem to follow this formula, meat or fish, simply prepared and accompanied by one or two star vegetables, a scattering of fresh herbs, leaves and/or flowers, and a sauce with near perfect acidity every time to bring the dish coherently together – a rather ingenious blueprint that enables this humble wine bar with big ambitions to produce such sophisticated dishes from a kitchen barely big enough to fit the chef himself.

Two thirds of the wall space is dedicated to natural, organic and biodynamic wines from small, lesser known producers. The right balance of acidity, for Leroy, is just as important in the wines he sources as it is in each dish that he constructs. Since his early days of solo operation, Leroy now works with a front of house who can knowledgeably talk you through the extensive wine selection and will happily make food pairing recommendations.

The 15 seater dining room and the small sidewalk terrace fills up quickly, and although you may get lucky with a walk-in, it’s best to reserve ahead to guarantee a table.

Sauvage   |   Wine bar / Modern French   |   60 rue du Cherche-Midi |   Paris 7 |   Tel: +33 6 88 88 48 23 |   Métro: Sèvres-Babylone, Rennes or Vaneau |   Open Monday through Saturday


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

Kitchen Ter(re): Three times a charm

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If I had to assign a middle name to chef William Ledeuil, it would be “Inventive.” Few Parisian chefs working today can claim his depth and breadth of creativity, not to mention originality. With his unique passion for all things Asian – be they ingredients, cooking techniques such as steaming or his major respect for dense, full-flavored bouillons – he has set himself apart from those who seem to do no more than follow a trend.

The new Kitchen Ter(re), his third Left Bank restaurant, follows on the success of Ze Kitchen Galerie and Ze Kitchen Galerie Bis. Ter(re) continues his Asian flavor preoccupation– from green curries and coriander, to citron caviar, ginger and varied seaweed – but now artisanal pastas have been added to Ledeuil’s list of preferred specialty ingredients. After discovering a range of rare pastas made from ancient, stone-ground grains by miller and baker Roland Feuillas in France’s southwest, Ledeuil figured out a way to weave them into his already international approach.

Kitchen Ter(re) is not a pasta restaurant, nor an Asian restaurant but another convincing William Ledeuil endeavor. The restaurant is casual, with a brief menu that may include just four starters, four or five main pasta courses, and a trio of desserts. Go as a group of four and you can pretty much sample every delicious, inventive bite on the menu.

As an eternal lover of raw, marinated fish, I jumped on the marinated white fish – dorade – a burst of springtime flavor on a grey Paris day, colorful pinks and a sprinkling of green herbs, the explosive crunch of the little grains of citron caviar, punctuated by a welcome hit of fresh ginger.

Ledeuil moves more towards an Asian approach with his Thai beef bouillon, a dense, full-flavored broth teamed up with cubes of foie gras, quince, mushrooms, and of course sprigs of coriander. The pastas here – all tiny dense shapes – are first quickly blanched, cooled, then cooked off not in water but in various bouillons, giving each pasta a unique depth of flavor

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I would not have thought I’d fall in love with a chocolate dessert that includes the powerful soybean paste, miso, but in Ledeuil’s hands and with the addition of coffee, the dessert achieved a dense, fully chocolate flavor. Try, too, the honey ice cream paired with squash, passion fruit, and coconut.

There’s a lovely Burgundy Aligoté wine of the list: The grape’s depth and personality make it a fine match of Ledeuil’s full-flavored fare.

KITCHEN TER(RE)   |   Modern French / Modern International   |   25 Boulevard Saint Germain   |   Paris 5   |   +33 1 42 39 47 48   |   Métro: Maubert-Mutualité   |   Open Tuesday–Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday   |   |26 and 30€ (2–3 course) lunch menus, à la carte 45€ at dinner   |   Reservations recommended.


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

2019 Class dates announced

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With pleasure and anticipation I announce our cooking class dates for 2019. The season will begin in January at our home in Provence with our spectacular Black Truffle Extravaganza, which includes a special truffle hunt, hands-on cooking classes with fresh black truffles at every meal, paired with an extraordinary selection of rare, white Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. In April, our popular five-day Cooking in Paris class will include plenty of seasonal full-participation cooking in our new Left Bank garden atelier, a market visit, cheese, wine, and oil tastings, as well as an extraordinary Michelin three-star meal. In June and September, we continue our week-long, hands-on classes of Cooking in Provence at our home, Chanteduc, gathering herbs, fruits, and vegetables from the garden, sipping wine from the vineyard, cooking with honey from our hives, visiting the renowned weekly market in Vaison-la-Romaine, meeting with sommeliers and cheese merchants, and enjoying the local cuisine. 

PROVENCE COOKING CLASS: FRESH BLACK WINTER TRUFFLES

 January  21 to 25, 2019

MONDAY EVENING: Welcome truffle dinner – Patricia cooks for you!
TUESDAY MORNING:  A Vaison-la-Romaine market visit, followed by hands-on cooking class and truffle lunch
TUESDAY EVENING: Hands-on cooking class followed by truffle dinner
WEDNESDAY MORNING: An authentic truffle hunt with dogs, followed by a sumptuous lunch in a regional restaurant famous both for its truffle dishes and its extraordinary cellar of Rhône Valley wines
THURSDAY MORNING: A visit to the truffle supplier to the stars, a wine tasting, and another unforgettable restaurant lunch, truffles of course
FRIDAY MORNING: New-season olive oil tasting; the final cooking class, and our farewell truffle lunch
 
The fee for each student is $6,000. We can accommodate two companions (a spouse, a significant other, a friend, or a relative who is traveling with the student), who are invited to attend the Wednesday program: the truffle hunt and the restaurant lunch (see above.)  This is a first-come, first-served option and the fee for each companion is $500.

COOKING IN PARIS

April 1 to 5,  2019
April 15 to 19, 2019
April 29 to May 3, 2019

As well as the hands-on cooking classes and lunch, students participate in an olive oil tasting, a bakery visit, a private wine tasting, a market tour, and a Michelin three-star lunch.The sessions include:

MONDAY MORNING: Hands-on cooking class, followed by lunch
TUESDAY MORNING: Hands-on cooking class, followed by lunch
WEDNESDAY MORNING: Tour of the famed President Wilson market, followed by a sumptuous lunch at a Michelin three-star restaurant
THURSDAY MORNING: Visit to the extraordinary Poilâne bakery and its ancient wood-fired oven; an extensive tasting with wine expert Juan Sanchez of La Dernière Goutte wine shop, followed by lunch in our garden (weather permitting!)
FRIDAY MORNING: An olive oil tasting, followed by hands-on cooking class and lunch

The fee for each student is $6,000. We can accommodate two companions (a spouse, a significant other, a friend, or a relative who is traveling with the student), who are invited to attend the Wednesday market tour followed by a Michelin three-star lunch. This is a first-come, first-served option and the fee for each companion is $500.

COOKING IN PROVENCE

June 9 to 14, 2019
June 23 to 28,  2019
Sept 8 to 13, 2019
Sept 22 to 27, 2019

Sessions begin with Sunday dinner and end after lunch on Friday. The sessions include:

SUNDAY EVENING:  Welcome dinner – Patricia cooks for you!
MONDAY MORNING: Hands-on cooking class, followed by lunch
TUESDAY MORNING:  Tour of Vaison’s famous weekly market, followed by hands-on cooking class and lunch WEDNESDAY MORNING: A private tasting of a selection of Rhône Valley wines followed by lunch at the best restaurant in the neighborhood
THURSDAY MORNING: Hands-on cooking class, followed by lunch
FRIDAY MORNING: An olive oil tasting, followed by hands-on cooking class and lunch

The fee for each student is $6,000. We can accommodate two companions (a spouse, a significant other, a friend, or a relative who is traveling with the student), who are invited to attend the Sunday dinner at Chanteduc, Wednesday wine tasting and restaurant lunch, and the Friday lunch at Chanteduc. This is a first-come, first-served option and the fee for each companion is $750.

Sign up here to secure a place in your class of choice. . Please note that classes fill up fast and places are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 2.0 - Just Released!

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Great news for any of you Food Lovers traveling, already in, or dreaming of Paris – we have just released a stunning new version of the Food Lover's Guide to Paris for iOS 11. After several months of hard work and creative design, the ultra-talented team at Cactuslab has put together several new features and a beautiful redesign to make finding the best places to eat and dine in Paris even easier.

New features include:

~ a fantastic new function to refine your search with multiple filters such as cuisine type, neighborhood, details such as Michelin stars or gluten-free, atmosphere, price, and culinary specialties. Want to search for classic and modern bistros on the left bank that are open on a Monday night or a restaurant with a well-priced lunch menu and a sidewalk terrace to watch the world go by? We got you. 

~ A redesigned map section that displays multiple listings in any one area. You can use the filter function here too, to limit the addresses to the categories you are interested in. And just like the old version, the offline geolocator means you can use the map even when you are no longer connected to the internet, so you can find the best bites nearest to you at any given time.

~ A search function in the A-Z glossary so no more endless scrolling!

~ A beautiful slick new design with a new photo format to really showcase the food photos and whet your appetite.

For those of you who already have the app, simply update your existing app free of charge via the App Store app, to get the latest version. If you don't have the app, you can download it from iTunes or directly on your device via the App Store app for just $4.99.

As the French say, bon app!

 

 

A Moveable Feast: the Paris episode

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This May I was invited to participate along with my very good friend chef Guy Savoy in an episode of A Moveable Feast, a fantastic PBS cooking series now in its 5th season. Hosted by the charming Pete Evans, the three of us cooked together in my Parisian apartment, preparing a formidable French feast : Seasonal Asparagus, Steak Frites, a salad that has to be tossed 32 times, an exquisite cheese platter from my favorite cheesemonger Marie Quatrehomme, landmark sourdough bread from Apollonia Poilâne and an expert selection of wines chosen by my friend Juan Sanchez of La Dernière Goutte wine shop.

The expertly orchestrated day included an astonishing crew of 20, and we were eight at table for the culminating feast, including my incredible assistant Emily Buchanan, Juan of course, and great new friends – Betsy and Alon Kasha – who are currently renovating the apartment that will be my new cooking school.

The episode will feed out to PBS stations tomorrow, Saturday September 23. Local stations across the US will air the show at different times, so check local listings to see when you may watch it.

A Cool Summer Gazpacho

Summer arrived right on time this year in Paris and Provence and temperatures have recently been soaring into the high 90s. When temperatures are this high, I always reach for a recipe where I don't have to turn on an oven, and this one is a favorite as it's so cooling and so very simple to prepare. This is a slight variation on the emulsified soups master recipe, Red Tomato Gazpacho from My Master Recipes. An essential element of the book is to encourage you to first understand the fundamental techniques behind each recipe so that you are then free to switch out ingredients to create endless variations on the original. Recently, I couldn't resist using one of the gorgeous yellow ananas tomatoes from the market, and with all this hot weather the coriander in the garden has shot into flower, so I grabbed a handful to make use of my abundant stock. The result was a soup the color of a cantaloupe (not unlike the cover color of My Master Recipes!), flecked with green. What else do you need on a warm, summer's evening?!

Red Tomato Gazpacho

8 servings   |   Equipment: A blender, food processor or immersion blender 8 chilled, shallow soup bowls or glasses.

2 pounds (1 kg) ripe red tomatoes, rinsed, cored, cut into chunks  
1 small cucumber (about 6 ounces; 180 g) peeled, cut into chunks
1 small mildly hot pepper such as Anaheim, stemmed, cut into chunks
1 small red onion, peeled, cut into chunks
2 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled, halved, green germ removed if present
2 teaspoons best-quality red wine or sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) mild extra-virgin olive oil

1.    In the blender, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, onion, and garlic. Blend at highest speed until well emulsified and very smooth, a full 2 minutes. With the motor running, add the vinegar and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, until the mixture is smooth, thick and emulsified.

2.    Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Pour into chilled bowls or glasses to serve.
 
MAKE AHEAD NOTE: The soup can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Re-blend at serving time.

 


This recipe was first published in My Master Recipes. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 

 

 

 

Petit Problème Technique

Apologies for any inconvenience you might have experienced trying to get in touch with us in recent days. Fortunately our technical  problems have now been resolved but any emails sent between May 16-22 will not have reached us, so if you have been trying to contact us, please send again and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

Noglu: Fresh and Vibrant Gluten-free Fare

NoGlu appeared on the Paris food scene back in 2012, when restaurants and bakeries catering to those on a gluten-free diet were hard to come by. Since opening their first restaurant in the 2nd arrondissement, the brand has proliferated rapidly to include locations in the 3rd and 7th, as well as an outpost in New York. My local Noglu in the 7th arrondissement is a light and airy café offering a fresh, varied menu with an emphasis on healthy café food. Everything, of course is gluten free, and many dishes also offer vegan substitutes for dairy products.

The Avocado Toast with Gomasio arrived exactly as described, a generous slice of toasted chickpea and rice flour bread (Noglu’s standard loaf), topped with slices of perfectly ripe avocado, and showered in microgreens and Gomasio, a Japanese toasted sesame seed seasoning. The pastry crust of the quiche was very convincing, crisp, flavorful and well cooked, with a filling of sweet potato and feta.

Desserts were a little disappointing. The lemon tart was ‘correct’ as the French like to say, meaning “as it should be” but far from outstanding, let down by a slightly undercooked crust. The vegan raspberry layer cake was sadly inedible, with a very dry crumb and a vegan cream that, although made in house, tasted like an industrial cream from a can.

The madeleines, however, are a convincing gluten free version of this classic shell-shaped tea cake.

For the gluten-free home chef, the Noglu team has put out a cookbook that includes a very good gluten free flour mix, as well as recipes for madeleines, chouquettes (a childhood afternoon treat made from choux pastry and topped with pearl sugar) and their satisfying savory chickpea loaf.

NOGLU : 69 rue de Grenelle   |   Paris 7   |   +33 1 58 90 18 12   |   Métro: Rue du Bac   |   Open daily, Monday–Saturday 8.30am–7pm, Sunday brunch 10am–4pm   |   Reservations: not necessary


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

Strong Alert Flavors From The New Chef At Fulgurances L'Adresse

The concept of Fulgurances l’Adresse is unique. Open since October, 2015, this 11th arrondissement restaurant changes chefs every six months, spotlighting sous-chefs who have worked in well-known establishments, and who are eager to strike out on their own. The six-month stint gives them a chance to spread their wings, show what they can do, create a personal culinary style, and become known to the dining public.

The latest hire is Vietnamese Chef Céline Pham, who at age 29 already has an impressive resumé:  A graduate of Ferrandi, Paris’s foremost culinary school, she has worked side-by-side prominent chefs such as William Ledeuil of Ze Kitchen Galerie, Sven Chartier of Saturne, and Bertrand Grébaut of Septime.

Pham’s cuisine offers very strong, alert flavors, and a well-conceived updated interpretation of French food, with an Asian accent. Nothing here seems superfluous or the offering of a self-absorbed chef. Take her version of the ultimate French ingredient, foie gras, which she cures herself, then deftly tops with a delicate miso sauce and a vibrant citrus confit. Surprising as well as satisfying. Ubiquitous Italian burrata cheese is transformed into something new with the addition of toasted grains of buckwheat and a colorful, pungent blend of tiny Asian greens. Monkfish is successfully paired with asparagus and pomelos; (a grapefruit variety); rare-cooked duck breast teams up with miniature cobs of corn, spiced with a ginger mayonnaise. Her version of the signature Vietnamese beef and noodle soup – pho – is indeed unique. Not a soup at all, she combines tender slices of beef with noodles she has soaked in a blend of Asian spices, infusing them with traditional flavors yet making it a dish all her own.

The only flaw I found was her first-course dish of squid served with tétragone (summer spinach) and salicorne (edible seaweed). The squid was just too tough to enjoy, a problem all of us cooks face and fight from time to time.

Dessert was a dream: Basil sorbet, a bergamot orange curd, and a feather-light citrus cake of fabulous, crunchy meringues.

Although on previous visits I have had disappointments with their selection of “natural” wines, we hit it big twice with two excellent biodynamic choices this time: the Loire Valley white, 2015 Muscadet (100% melon de Bourgogne grapes) from Domaine de l’Ecu, with its nose of citrus and white flowers, an easy, instantly drinkable wine; and a Languedoc red, the 2015 Corbières Campagnès (100% carignan grapes from 100-year-old vines) from winemaker Maxime Mignon. The winemaker is following the current European trend of aging wines in clay amphoras, as opposed to wood or stainless steel, a practice that dates from antiquity. The modern practice began about 20 years ago in Italy and has spread as an experiment  throughout Europe, with the argument that the clay allows for flavors that favor a greater purity of the fruit, an expression of the soil, as well as reducing the need to add sulphur to the wines.

My only regret is that when I left the restaurant late at night, there was not time to run into my kitchen to try out some of Pham’s creations. To be continued, for sure!

Fulgurances l’Adresse   |   10 rue Alexandre Dumas   |   Paris 11   |   Tel: +33 1 09 81 09 33 32    |   Métro: Rue des Boulets   |   Open Wednesday to Saturday lunch and dinner   |   www.fulgurances.com   |   19€ and 24€ lunch menus, 46€ and 58€ dinner menus   |   Reservations essential.


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

 

Fairweather dining at Divellec

Poached oysters in watercress sauce and caviar

Poached oysters in watercress sauce and caviar

There are friends we love despite their faults, so we stick by them anyway. The 7th arrondissement fish restaurant, Divellec, is a bit like that for me. The brasserie-sized restaurant, overlooking Les Invalides, was recently re-incarnated from the 1980s Le Divellec, a rather haughty but quality businessman’s lunch place.

Today, chef Mathieu Pacaud – son of Bernard Pacaud of L’Ambroisie and owner of Hexagone – is in charge, and though the restaurant only opened in December of 2016, it has surprisingly received a Michelin stars right out of the starting gate.

Let me start with what I love about Divellec: With each visit I am charmed by the makeover of the décor with its ocean-like shades of blue, comfy wicker arm chairs, the mix and match of selected pottery, and ultra-slim stems of the wine glasses – all of which have the right touch of class and elegance. The staff, too, is spruced up, smiling, sometimes a bit distant and corporate perhaps, but they make you feel taken care of.

Some of the food can be spectacular as well as beautiful, like the gently poached oysters bathed in a brilliant green watercress sauce and topped with a spoonful of caviar. It’s full-flavored and satisfying, set in a white porcelain, shell-shaped bowl. Technicolor food at its best.

Their sole paired with fresh, seasonal morel mushrooms is a delight, the fish plump and flavorful, perfectly moist, with a touch of sweet vin jaune from the Jura in the sauce.

Sommelier Claude Esambert – an upright Frenchman back from a decades-long stint in California – is outgoing and knowledgeable, giving us the details of one of my favorite white wines, the Burgundian Saint-Aubin from Hubert Lamy.

The kitchen clearly understands deep-frying, and their current appetizer – which arrives almost the moment you sit down – is a dream: ultra-crispy, tiny, deep-fried eperlans (smelt or whitebait), the ideal starter to pair with a glass of Champagne rosé, such as the popular Billecart Salmon.

On this particular visit, everything from the simple raw ecrevisse (crayfish) topped with a colorful vegetable mix, fresh herbs, and bathed in a bright vinaigrette; to the moist, perfectly cooked sea bass paired with pasta shells stuffed with ricotta and herbs, made for a truly pleasant, lunchtime meal.

There is great attention to detail with top suppliers here: chocolates from Jacques Genin, cheese from Marie Quatrehomme, breads from Fréderic Lalo of Le Quartier du Pain, and olive oil from the famed cooperative in Mausanne-les-Alpilles in Provence.

But there are problems with Divellec, ones that I am surprised got past the Michelin inspectors. Fish is very hard to get right, and Divellec fails more often than it should, with dishes that are underseasoned or not totally thought out.

At times the kitchen favors presentation over flavor. On my first visit, I ordered their langoustines wrapped in pastry and deep fried. But sadly these lovely crustaceans were smothered in a white napkin, and covered by an ostentatious glass cloche, which turned what should have been crispy gastronomic treasures into a soggy, sad mess.

One order our ormeaux (abalone) was so tough it was inedible, and I did what I rarely do, returned the dish. In its place arrived a perfect platter of well-seasoned bar (sea bass) ceviche, but one doesn’t expect to send anything back to the kitchen in a 2-starred restaurant.

I have been to Divellec several times since it opened yet strangely I have never, ever, seen a chef in the dining room. What the restaurant lacks is someone in charge, someone who personifies the place and rules with a sense of style and perfection.

But the worst sin of all came on our last visit when the host of our party of eight decided he wanted a glass of red wine. We requested the wine list but the sommelier simply went ahead and poured an unordered glass of red. When I asked my friend how the wine was, his response was an unenthusiastic “okay.” I sniffed it, and could tell instantly it was seriously corked, with a strong scent of spoilage. The wine was quickly replaced, with an apology for the flaw, but the damage was done. This just should not happen in place of this caliber.

Prices here can be overwhelming, especially if you order their turbot, whole sea bass, lobster or whole sole, priced by the gram.

Despite all of this I will surely go back, for the creative fish combinations and presentations, great ideas for what I might recreate at home, as well as the magical chocolate soufflé made with Jacques Genin’s grand cru chocolate. But I do hope that someone takes charge of Divellec. The restaurant has been mostly deserted on my visits, and just does not have the sort of joie de vivre a restaurant like this should exhibit. Someone there needs to wake up!

DIVELLEC   |   18 rue Fabert   |   Paris 7   |   Tel: +33 1 45 51 91 96   |   Métro: Invalides   |   Open daily   |  Lunch: 49€, 90€, 210€ weekday menu; 49€ weekend brunch menu, Dinner: 210€ 8-course menu. Lunch and Dinner à la carte, 130€.  |   Reservations: suggested   |   www.divellec-paris.fr   |  contact@divellec-paris.fr

 


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

 

Big Love for Gluten Free Pizza

Mammargherita Pizza: San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, basil

Mammargherita Pizza: San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, basil

It seems that the Big Mamma Group is, once again, onto a winning formula with their pizza, pasta, brunch restaurant Biglove Caffé, in the upper Marais. The Group has given the former Rose Bakery space a magnificent makeover, transforming it into a charming Neopolitan style bar/café. The glass-plated entrance way is adorned with hanging cured meats, and the marble bar and the imposing Italian Belle Epoque style copper coffee machine set the scene for an authentic Neopolitan experience. 

The menu offers a handful of fresh pasta dishes (including a gluten-free vegetable lasagne which sadly should be avoided at all costs) as well as a few appealing salad options, and an international-style brunch menu. But the pizza is why you should go to Biglove, and those who follow a gluten-free diet can rejoice, as all the pizzas here are completely gluten free. Paris is home to some very respectable pizzaiole (pizza chefs) but few who specialize in the unique style of Neopolitan pizza, that boasts a slightly thicker crust, and is more lightly baked than the well-done thin crusted versions from other parts of Italy. The result is a sort of pillowy experience, where the elements of the pizza seamlessly blend into one. The dough here is made from a mixture of buckwheat, corn and rice flours and fermented for at least 36-hours before cooking to give it a good rise and a faint acidity to the crust. For those not interested in a gluten-free diet, do not be put off for these bases are a cunning likeness to the wheat flour version and perhaps only in the thick outer crust can you tell that it’s made from alternative flours. As a point of pride for the Mamma restaurants, ingredients are of an exceptionally high standard – mostly sourced directly from favored artisanal producers in Italy – including the essential San Marzano tomatoes grown at the foot of Mt Vesuvius. The pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired brick Acunta oven, hand-made in Naples, that can get to temperatures so high a pizza can be cooked in 60 seconds (just shy of 930°F/500°C). The resulting Mammargherita pizza – for me the simple concoction of tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella and fresh basil is the best litmus test for pizza – was remarkably close to a true Napolitano pizza, that is to say, very, very good.

The desserts were disappointing – the unnecessarily large portion of lemon meringue pie was cloyingly sweet and lacked any balance of acidity from the lemon cream that you might expect. The chocolate cake was devoid of any personality. Best to stick to an after-meal coffee, roasted dark and moody, true to Neopolitan style – of course.

Big Love doesn't take reservations and the lunch service fills up fast, so go early or be prepared to queue.

BIGLOVE CAFFÉ   |   30 rue Debelleyme   |   Paris 3   |   Métro: Filles de Calvaire   |   Open daily 8am-11pm   |   Pizza and main dishes €12-18   |   Reservations not taken.


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!

 

 

 

 

 

Yam'Tcha: Precision, Elegance and Creativity

Langoustine, onions, pomegranate, goji berry and tarragon

Langoustine, onions, pomegranate, goji berry and tarragon

There is plenty to love about Adeline Grattard’s Yam‘Tcha. Her French-Asian themed food is unique, well-thought-out, beautiful, and welcomingly assertive. The restaurant, relocated from rue Sauval in mid 2015, draws you in immediately with the appealing cooking aromas that waft from the semi-open kitchen, the coziness of the well-crafted wooden birch tables and elegant yet comfortable arm chairs, the frivolity of the tiny garden brightened by a white stone floor, the openness of the well-lit, well-stocked wine cellar.

Grattard’s pedigree includes time spent with three-Michelin star chefs Yannick Alléno (Pavillon Ledoyen) and Pascal Barbot (Astrance), and their influence on her food is evident: precision, elegance and a confidence to be creatively adventurous. She makes a rare team with her Chinese tea-sommelier husband, Chi Wah Chan, offering a careful selection of refined, soothing teas to accompany Grattard’s carefully constructed dishes (Yam’tcha, afterall, is the Mandarin word for ‘drink tea’.) Wine pairings are also available.

She employs and embraces a multitude of seasonal ingredients, and as you sample her fare, you feel as though everything from that vibrant red pomegranate seed to the brilliant green wild garlic emulsion are there for a reason and not simply as window dressing.

Any chef can win me over in a millisecond when they offer some of my truly favorite ingredients: asparagus, langoustines, and a shower of fresh black truffles. And she did. Her love for citrus as well as sweet and sour combinations come through loud and clear, as in her duo of white and green asparagus dressed with a frothy sauce of mandarin orange tinged with touches of kumquat, a dish with a lovely citrus bounce.

I am not sure where she secured the gigantic, soothingly rich langoustines, but they were cooked to a delicate perfection, paired with a bright sweet and sour sauce laced with crunchy pomegranate seeds and tangy goji berries. Each dish is complex without being overbearing, and by the end of the meal we were satisfied but not digestively assaulted, a rare feat after a seven course meal.

As a collector of modern as well as antique china and pottery, I wanted to walk away with a few of her colorful dinner plates, some from popular French designer Sarah Lavoine. Each is thoughtfully paired with a specific dish, from the golden ocher plates for the asparagus to the bright red pottery for the slow-cooked and tender Iberian pork that was showered with slices of exquisite fresh black truffles.

To add additional excellence to a wonderful dining experience, sommelière Marine Delaporte offers a brilliant and well-considered glass of wine with each course, accompanied by thoughtful and enthusiastic commentary with each pour. Of the six selections sampled, I truly loved the 2015 Riesling Cuvée Albert from Albert Mann, a distinctive Alsatian white that is well-balanced, ripe, juicy, and aromatic. Equally satisfying was the Loire Valley white Jasnières Rosiers 2015 Eric Nicolas, dry with the tiniest touch of sweetness.  The choice of mostly white wines with the meal was refreshing.

I was less enthused about the understated first course of rice-based congee with cubes of foie gras and the equally disappointing soup laced with scallops and mushrooms which lacked the personality and forward flavors of her other dishes.

 But at the end, Grattard totally surprised me with a dessert that included a bright green sorrel soup with a bitter almond (orgeat) sorbet, paired with a well-constructed mini-tart of a single prune wrapped in a coat of lemon jelly, topped with a Champagne granité.

Although I am generally not a fan of set menus where the diner has no choices, and each dish is a complete surprise, it works here, since the chef has so many layers and volumes, it is a treat to experience it all. And the wine and tea pairings only help amplify the experience.

Reserving at Yam’tcha can be tricky and staff don’t always answer the phone. Persistence is the key. By phone you’ll most likely be successful on a Tuesday when the restaurant is closed but staff are there. Otherwise I recommend stopping in at the restaurant to make a reservation in person, if time permits.

YAM ‘TCHA   |   121 rue Saint Honoré   |   Paris 1   |   Tel: +33 1 40 26 08 07   |   Métro: Louvre-Rivoli   |   Open Wednesday – Saturday. Closed Sunday & Monday   | Lunch and dinner: 60€ and 135€ menus, with options for 40€ tea tasting and 70€ wine tasting   |   Reservations essential.


For more Paris restaurant reviews, get The Food Lover's Guide to Paris 5th edition, or download the app!