L'Astrance (3*) (4 Rue Beethoven 75016 Paris,tel. 01 40 50 84 40 )
Chef : Pascal Barbot
Have i been there before? Twice. First time when it already had one Michelin star and once when it just got it's second star.
Ambiance and service: Friendly,professional, yet less ceremonial than at some other high end restaurants in Paris.
Food? Some dishes were impressive, some- ok. I took L'Astrance winter menu.
Approximate translations of the dishes.
The lunch started with a glass of champagne and amuse-bouches that came with it.
Cream with white truffles, brioche and apple and caramel crunchy "biscuit".Simple, correct, but maybe too simple?
Une devinnette that turned out to be cream of burnt bread,bacon, mustard and foie gras. Interesting mixture, but hard to guess.
Foie gras and mushroom galette with hazelnut oil and preserved lemon sauce.The most famous dish by Pascal Barbot. I remember having it both times i went to L'Astrance. When you think of it, it's years they are serving the same dish for every single menu. Sometimes chefs are like singers,who create one hit (that makes them famous) and play it over and over again… Not saying that it's a bad thing, already inventing something that people speak about for years needs a certain talent…
Scallops from Bretagne,shrimps from Mozambique,oysters soup, seaweed sauce,preserved lemon,turnip. I hope i mentioned all the ingredients- I liked a lot the seaweed sauce that tasted like liquorice and went well with iodine feeling of the oysters soup. I wish the seafood was less overcooked, i would have even preferred it half raw that would absorb the heat of the soup while eating.
Sea bass with pomelo, coconut,red peppers and razor clams on the side.The texture of the fish was perfect and pomelo taste was very mild. I didn't see the point of razor clams though which were not even good.
Concassé of black truffles,artichoke,pomelo,jus de cuisson, black truffles shavings and treviso salad. Warm, crushed black truffles in truffle cooking juice,flesh of pomelo,bitter treviso salad.Amazing, can you imagine the aromas?
Spare ribs, black curry ( coffee,black olives, liquorice) on a bed of leeks(?). Crispy skin, soft meat. Delicious.
36 months Comté cheese with a slice of black truffle. A three stars dish by itself because of the extraordinary products.
Gianduia chocolate sabayon with dried fruit soaked in alcohol.
Pâte d'amande with stewed seasonal fruit under it.
Honey madeleines, eggnog and fresh fruit
Any flaws? As i've mentioned above, some dishes were just ok, but as a Chinese proverb says , "better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one". L'Astrance is one of those diamonds decorating the French gastronomy crown. My lunch there was a very pleasant experience.
Will I return? One day.