As the long-serving restaurant critic for our sister magazine France Today, lucky diner Alec Lobrano gets to enjoy a wide range of new and established French eateries. Here is our selection of review excerpts from his recent favourites.
A trinity of influences – Africa, France and Japan – is reflected by the light, fresh, artfully plated and intriguingly original dishes Mory Sacko serves at his restaurant, which opened in September 2020. Eating here with a friend, the dining room repeatedly rippled with excited curiosity as each table was served its next course. For our part, we were consistently fascinated by Sacko’s suave and sophisticated cooking.
11 rue Raymond Losserand, 14th arrondissement, Paris.
“This is what I’ve always loved about France,” said my doctor friend. “Here we are in the middle of nowhere really, and the food is just so nonchalantly exquisite.”
She was right, too, since the meal that followed was a masterpiece of technical culinary prowess in the service of the shyly proud, still fructifying and poignantly fragile imagination of a young chef (Cédric Deckert) making a name for himself after finding the courage to go out on his own.
Average à la carte €130, prix-fixe menus €125, €76, €52.
7 Rue d’Eschbach, Laubach.
In his modern French ode to the pleasures of gastronomy, there are two other themes – the relief of not being confined to one’s own kitchen day in and day out any more and the hilarious happiness of being alive. Twenty-nine-year-old Tom Meyer is a tremendously gifted chef who will doubtless continue his ascent as one of the most influential talents of his generation.
Prix-fixe menus €58 (lunch), €75 (five courses), €95 (seven courses).
6 rue Bailleul, 1st arrondissement, Paris.
If the langouste and lobster claws were perfectly cooked, what was sublime about this course were the two mayonnaises that accompanied it, one made with lobster coral and the other bright with fresh tarragon. Next, a crumbly tart filled with black truffle-flavoured whipped cream and a tableside addition of freshly shaved black truffles. Both dishes were simply exquisite.
Le Menu du Jean €296, average à la carte €275.
Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 25 avenue Montaigne, 8th Arrondissement, Paris.
5. Cibo, Dijon
The proof is always in the pudding, or rather, in startlingly original and delicious hors d’oeuvres like raw catfish with beets, raspberries and omble chevalier (Arctic char) eggs, the exquisite little mouthful that debuted our meal. Since I’m not trying to sell you tyres, road maps or anything else, I hope you’ll trust me when I say that this restaurant merits a trip to Dijon just by itself, but advance booking is essential before you set off.
24 rue Jeannin, Dijon.
6. Rouge, Nîmes
If every course of this meal shimmered with originality and the precision of a highly gifted cook, it was the dessert that left us dumbstruck. A ganache of blond chocolate with a bracingly sour coulis of hibiscus jus and crushed meringue was seasoned with powdered black olive and accompanied by a pineapple sage sorbet – a stunningly original combination of European and African perfumes and textures.
Average à la carte €65.
6 rue Fresque, Nîmes.
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