We know the great French chefs – Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Senderens, Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon – love Japan and its gastronomic heritage. But France also attracts many young Japanese chefs, eager to mix their culture and our ingredients and recipes. With stunning results..
Text: Béatrice Delamotte
PASSAGE 53 On Passage des Panoramas, one of the oldest in Paris, is a discreet yet well-known gourmet address, Passage 53. It is here, behind the white blinds, in the small but elongated room and minimalist decor, that Shinichi Sato works his gastronomic magic. The young Japanese chef earned his first Michelin star two years ago and the restaurant has entered him into the prestigious brotherhood of the ‘Grands chefs Relais & Châteaux’. There is no menu – every day the chef decides on the order of the day depending on what products he has gathered from his small circle of suppliers, guaranteeing all ingredients are seasonal. Jumping between Asia and the West, he concocts clean dishes with an expertly executed balance flavours and textures: veal tartare and oysters, foie gras poached in strawberry, and his ‘white plate’ which is a combination slices of tissue paper thin slices of cauliflower and calamari cooked to perfection. 53 Passage des Panoramas 75002 Paris – Tel. : 01 42 33 04 35
STELLA MARIS Nestled in a quiet street, a stones throw from the Champs Elysées, Tateru Yoshino’s restaurant is not new. But it is undoubtedly one of the best illustrations of the fascination that Japanese chefs have long since had with French cuisine. Holding the position of Stella Maris’ head chef since 1997, Yoshino is known for reinventing some of the greatest classic French dishes – including recipes that have long since been forgotten – such as calf’s head casserole, and juice “en tortue”. Constantly changing, the menu reflects his quest for perfection and the ideas of a chef who lives between Paris and Tokyo, where he has three restaurants, all starred. A very refined and subtly nuanced kitchen that consistently reflects this chef’s passion for bringing the great classics of Escoffier back into fashion. 4, rue Arsene Houssaye 75008 Paris Tel. : 01 42 89 16 22
LA BIGARRADE Created by the former head chef of the Royal Monceau, Christophe Pelé, La Bigarrade found success very quickly with two Michelin stars. A meeting with Yasuhiro Kanayama will change everything. After working together for a few months, Christophe Pelé is handing over the reigns and focusing on other horizons. In the spirit of what has contributed to the success of the restaurant, Yasuhiro wants to focus on the pure and concentrate on the taste of seasonal produce. Known for the finesse of his recipes and aesthetic of his dishes, this chef expresses everything with sensitivity and a very sharp technique. 106, rue Nollet 75017 Paris Tel. : 01 42 26 01 02
L’AGAPÉ Toshita Omiya (known as Toshi) learnt how to cook to order and work according to the seasons at L’Arpège. During his time at the George V he upheld his devotion to the rules of classical French cuisine. And from David Toutain (who he met eight years after L’Arpege), he learnt how to cook with instinct and how to work with textures. Today, as the head of L’Agapé, Toshi creates what he refers to as a fairly classic cuisine, with a lot of work put into each dish. Using only exceptional and seasonal produce, he produces elegant and systematic dishes, with a focus on textures, temperatures and expertly blended spices. Such as with the ‘Miller’s wife’ sweetbreads where coriander is mixed with herbs, seeds and pesto, supported by crushed artichoke and barigoule, the crust of which combines with that of the sweetbread. As for the presentation of the plates, it provokes even the most subtle of emotions. 51, rue Jouffroy-d’Abbans 75017 Paris – Tel. : 01 42 27 20 18
SOLA Sola – “sky” in Japanese – is the meeting point between two energies, that of French cuisine and that of Japan. This binary aspect is reflected in the decor with the Japanese room in the basement when we sat horigotatsu (kneeling) and the French room on the ground floor with its warm beams. Two atmospheres that complement and enrich each other. In the kitchen, Hiroki Yoshitake has not set out to make “good food”, but the “best food”. After going in search of the right produce at dawn in various Parisian markets, the chef transcends the French genre with a wholly Japanese approach to beautiful presentation contributing to ingenious cooking. But Hiroki also knows to pay tribute to French cuisine by being original, using the sublimation of sauces and jus’, to avoid crossing over. In his kitchen, the noblest products sit alongside the most humble, without discrimination. He knows how to showcase even the most simple of ingredient in its finest form, in expertly executed culinary formations. Hiroki Yoshitake is a juggler of flavours and textures, and a talent that was awarded a Michelin star in March. 12, rue de l’Hotel Colbert 75005 Paris Tel. : 01 43 29 59 04
LES COLLECTIONS The Café Faubourg is over, and now Collections here. A new name for the Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg’s restaurant that fits perfectly with the cuisine of Keigo Kimura. Throughout the seasons, the chef invents his own culinary collections. As a designer, he absorbs the characteristics of the ingredients to forge a vision of the dish that will highlight the best. Flavour and texture – should it bring crunch or a slight acidity? This is creativity without arrogance and superficiality, which is also expressed in the “accessories” he chooses to compliment the “model”: condiments, jus, herbs and spices…The result is chic and tasty, with respect to the codes of the French gastronomy, but also contemporary as shown with his oignon de Roscoff en croute, dauphinoise potatoes and Osetra caviar or the reinvented hare “à la royale”. 15, rue Boissy d’Anglas 75008 Paris Tel. : 01 44 94 14 24
LE CLARISSE Having lived 10 years in France, Kajiwara Sadaki proposes a tasty partition that perfectly blends Western and Asian flavours. An elegant and graphic marriage of little touches like this touch of ponzu vinaigrette to enhance a carpaccio of langoustines. No bad taste comes out of the kitchen of Kajiwara who plays between the West and Asia with all his dishes, without imposing any culture. The proof is in his ox cheek braised in pinot noir and lavender, with beaten shiro-miso. Everything is light, precise and delicate. 29, rue Surcourf 75007 Paris Tel. : 01 45 50 11 10
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