Is it worth the wait? Three months or more for dinner, a tiny bit less for lunch. That’s for you to decide, but a recent lunch at Yam’Tcha, a 1 1/2-year old postage stamp of a restaurant was not only memorable for the food, but throughout was even-handed, carefully paced, not the least bit precious, and just a perfectly nice place to be on a rainy November day in Paris.
Chef Adeline Grattard (pedigrees include time spent with chefs Yannick Alléno now of the Michelin three-star in the hotel Meurice and Pascal Barbot, of the Michelin three-star L’Astrance) and her Chinese tea sommelier husband Chiwah Chan make a rare pare, she working elegantly in her tiny box of an open kitchen at the entrance, he with great ceremony (but not ceremoniously) delivering tiny cup after cup of soothing and remarkably matched teas that pair lusciously with her carefully constructed French-Asian cuisine.
The meal included a myriad of ingredients and flavors, tender Brittany mussels merged with fermented beans and pumpkin noodles, anointed with just the right touch of brown rice vinegar; a duet of giant wontons (pictured) stuffed with plump and full-flavored shrimp and deliciously crunchy water chestnuts; a pad of steamed foie gras shook hands with a delightful blend of wakame seaweed and julienne of turnips, with a foam of dried scallops that emerged much like a sprig of parsley, not essential to the dish, but a pleasant nod.
There’s no menu choice at this small, 20-seat restaurant, but I won’t complain. The food is remarkably light, not a bit show-off, and just different enough for all of our everyday fare to make one sit up and take notice. I love the décor, simple and elegant with lovely little chopsticks and must-have Italian porcelain in pale earth tones. The brief wine list is remarkable. We enjoyed two delicious and well-paired Burgundies. The white Nuits St Georges Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Clos del a Marechale was chardonnay to perfection, almost as though the winemaker was thinking of Grattard’s fare as he vinified. Equally well-paired was the red pinot noir Nuits St Georges Les Boudots from Michel Noellat, a wine with a gentle touch of spice and smoke, elegant and right at home in this little jewel box of a restaurant. The name, by the way, is Mandarin for “drink tea,” and you will!
Yam’Tcha, 4, rue de Sauval, Paris 1. Telephone 01.40.26.08.07. From 50 to 65 € per person, without wine. Closed Sunday evening, Monday, and Tuesday. Metro: Louvre-Rivoli.