Fashion Food at – “L’Astrance PARIS, FRANCE”

Tailor-made ‘fusion’ French cooking a snail’s toss from the Eiffel Tower

Pascal Barbot doesn’t so much slip off the shackles of Parisian gastronomy as joyfully fling them into the air. His cooking at this tiny Parisian restaurant borders on fusion, with spices used in place of salt in some instances and minimal use of cream and butter. Though an alumnus of Alain Passard’s L’Arpège in the city’s 7th arrondissement, Barbot also spent time cooking in the South Pacific and consequently Asian ingredients make regular appearances. The current larder contains flourishes of lemon grass, coriander, jasmine, soy sauce and daikon.

Barbot’s cooking is out of the ordinary but not in a particularly showy way. His signature dish of layered foie gras with raw button mushrooms and hazelnut oil and lemon confit is a beautiful but simple assembly job, while his hollowed-out eggshell cups filled with jasmine-infused eggnog is a sideways take on a French fine dining classic. Sommelier Alexandre Jean is on hand to guide diners through the restaurant’s appropriately eclectic wine list, which features everything from the big French heavyweights to obscure natural wines.

The chef’s contemporary cooking style is mirrored by an equally modern dining room with 25 buttery yellow leather seats on the ground floor and a dozen more on the open mezzanine. There’s no menu as such; just decide on the number of courses and declare any dietary preferences and Barbot and team will do the rest. The only problem is getting a table – the combination of the restaurant’s diminutive size coupled with the fact that it is closed three days a week means this is one of the trickier restaurants at which to secure a booking.

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