Parisian neo-bistros / 1

Maria Canabal tells us about the new and very lively gourmet scene in her favourite town

09-08-2014
What’s more Parisian than a bistro? In the first

What’s more Parisian than a bistro? In the first part of the report that Maria Canabal wrote for Guida ai ristoranti di Identità Golose 2014, published by Mondadori, we begin to discover some of the most interesting addresses in the new restaurant scene of the ville lumière. Such as Sèmilla (tel. +33.1.43543450), whose menu is designed by the great chef Eric Trochon, here together with his team

I have two passions in life: scallops and Paris. Every Monday I leave my town to go across the world in search for culinary novelties and do not return before Friday. Every week, except on very rare occasions. It is in Paris that I feel the happiest, because it feeds me – literally and as a figure of speech. Being proud of my Spanish origins, I can affirm that you cannot export tapas. Have you ever seen a good tapas bar outside of Spain? The same goes for bistros.

A bistro is a state of mind, a soul, a layer. I personally adore them. But there’s something even more interesting, namely neo-bistros. A word that is the contraction of two terms: new and bistro. The concept implies conviviality, great cuisine and wine served by the glass for an honest price. Moreover, neo-bistro focus on the quality and quantity of the dishes offered. They aim at making authenticity and gastronomic style stand out, without ever falling into the trap of luxury and pedantry.

The marché d'Aligre one of the liveliest and most colourful markets in the French capital

The marché d'Aligre one of the liveliest and most colourful markets in the French capital

As a consequence, you will sometimes feel you’re eating at home in a friendly and affable setting. These tables, often run by a generation of talents who have left the great maisons to open laid-back locations, serve a simply extraordinary cuisine. A neo-bistro has the slightly rebellious attitude of the French... who dare to contaminate the code of the great restaurants in a relaxed place. The key is going there without any prejudice.

In the Odéon neighbourhood I love Sémilla dearly. You only need to read the menu for your buds to awaken. The main protagonists are products from the South West and fish caught by angling. The chef is capable of proposing even beetroot in five textures. The cheeses are unforgettable and come from Quatrehomme. The wine list prefers small producers.

We now leave the Odéon neighbourhood with its theatres, literary cafes, the students of the Sorbonne and we cross the Seine. On the right bank a small “golden triangle” has just been created, composed by Septime, Rino and La Gazzetta. Located close to the irresistible marché d'Aligre, these three neo-bistros are certainly worth the journey.

Impeccable even aesthetically, Septime has soon become a must for all the gourmet who visit Paris

Impeccable even aesthetically, Septime has soon become a must for all the gourmet who visit Paris

Septime welcomes you in a countryside atmosphere: old-style tiles, candid walls, natural wood tables without table cloths, big white candles and cutlery in the same colour, or anthracite, with a cleansed minimalism. The midday format is very short and super-convincing.

There are three starters to choose from, two mains and two desserts indicated on a small piece of paper on a black board you can read as a poem. The names of the dishes can sound very classic, however, here everything reveals itself as less classic than what expected. Bertrand Grébaut’s cuisine is naughty and natural. As a “chef-trotter” he loves serving niche products from elsewhere. Wines are only natural ones.

1. to be continued


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