“Industrial chic, 26-seat counter restaurant serving modern French cuisine”: it’s a simple manifesto and one that places the focus firmly on the plate. Chef Christophe Lerouy is the magician firmly in charge of a kitchen that knows its oats and can execute the tricksy dishes to the highest level required. Everyone sits at the curvaceous counter, in full site of the chefs preparing the food. This food may originate somewhere in the Larousse lexicon (think all that buttery richness) but there are plenty of Asian influences infusing dishes with freshness, herbal depth and sometimes a slight kick, but always a mischievous, contemporary edge.
There’s no menu and each dish is served omakase style, which means plenty of mystery and seasonality, of course. An early salvo from a range of snacks might include a bonne bouche of potato, fresh cream and Alsacien bacon, goose liver counterpointed with smoked sardine and kept fresh with an apple jelly or a simple test tube of liquid sauerkraut.
Choose perhaps between Japanese scallops with dashi jelly, caviar and green shiso icecream, with a lick of zesty yuzu kosho or spiced venison with beetroot and artichoke purée or Iberico pork with pimento and eggplant. A deconstructed dessert of chocolate sponge, Chantilly cream and caramel-like purée of Tonka bean and Bailey’s ice cream.
For vegetarians, salt-baked cabbage is a signature, given added depth and texture with crunchy lado and ancholade.
Bread might be served with four different pats of butter, seaweed, charcoal, beetroot and regular. Service with a smile is the antithesis of stuffy. Prices for this level of experience are a steal.