Ostra, Vieira, Tuétano, Berza, Kombu y Miso
Pascal Barbot
Country: France
City: 75016 París
Address: 4, Beethoven
(+33) 0140508440
Closed: Saturday, Sunday and Monday
Price: 200/300 €
Tasting menu:: 200 €

France’s number one. Pascal personifies better than anyone else the generational renewal of French cuisine. He has been a star for years already, and an artist of universal appeal who is now living moments of complete fulfilment in the year of the 10th anniversary of his restaurant: he is one of the chefs with more innate talent in the entire culinary world, an independent character with strict criteria, a man who has been subject to neither culinary trends nor media determinants, a person that expresses his feelings, tastes and beliefs in a simple manner… And all this is done with the knowledge of one who has trained in the finest restaurants on the planet. He achieves this by making a remarkable effort, surpassing his limitations of both space and, consequently, staff, and he has obtained this success with supreme modesty – opening this small, simple bistro with his partner Christophe, that is always full to capacity with the most exclusive gourmets in existence. In other words, Pascal is a liberated being who has attained glory – an exceptional man who has never taken part in the gastronomic mix-up of trends.

If he has always been a natural designer of unprecedented flavors and contrasts, clearly ultramodern, now it seems he has balanced his priorities and is insisting on nothing short of perfection. He is polishing his already distinguished style. His dishes combine flavorful, intellectual impact with the attainment of superior results. Fantasy, exotism and Asian touches, together with virtuosity and harmony. Proposals charged with the future and a growing maturity that makes us guess that the best is still yet to come. A man who is unique and who constantly excels himself. Perfectionism evolving, or the common sense revolution.

Barbot, coherent in his manner of thought and action, makes no concessions to the masses. Everything functions on a system of menus that are variants of a single proposal in which the guest can only choose the main ingredient. The dishes appear and disappear with the seasons. As a consequence, to describe them has no other purpose than to prolong what is to come.

Appetizers that insist on the open-mindedness of the chef, never subscribing to a concrete dogma, treasuring delicacy and pulchritude: herb brioche with truffle butter and pea mousse over yoghurt cream and turmeric and cardamom foam; really outstanding. Excellent. The first oceanic dish –and terrestrial, too– is made of raw oyster, two steamed scallop medallions, two marrow medallions, kombu seaweed, cabbage, miso, yuzu: exquisiteness exuberance proposed with radical purity. The crayfish, majestic, served with sprouts, herbs, flowers, vegetables, ginger and lemon, swimming into some clarified consommé made with the same seafood, rimes with great values: top product, precise doneness, spicy/acid counterpoints, chromatism and unprecedented sensitiveness. They have remodelled and substantially improved the famous cookie of raw, sliced mushrooms, offered with foie gras, green apple, cinnamon and citrus sauce, taking on the shape of a mille-feuille, but a more flavourful, fun and plural version. The white asparagus cooked al dente sprinkled with cumin and garnished with grilled and caramelized tender almonds, kumquat jam, herbs, flowers, a brilliant piquillo pepper, spinach and turmeric quenelle, as well as a jubilant lemon sauce are really fantastic; a perfect union between the –predominant– bitter sensations and the sour flavours. The pumpkin ravioli over spider crab and spiced spinach with hazelnuts, anise and plums are a real work of art; a pertinently executed composition that is synonymous with variety and total harmony. Nobility, inventiveness and utter complexity are aspects that unshakeably appear through the dishes here: lobster with cedar, asparagus, coriander, dill and peanut powder, separately served with an unbeatable consommé made of the same crustacean, subtly perfumed with soy. The proverbial innate gift of balance is patent in the low temperature turbot, rosy meat, incredibly juicy and pure, presented with an octopus medallion, a Japanese turnip brunoise with mint, mixed vegetables and an exciting grape, tamarind and Cayenne red pepper sauce which both heat and refresh the palate in a perfect symbiosis of spicy and acid sensations. Another wonderful madness with amazing naturality and exquisiteness is the marinated mackerel topped with grilled buckwheat served with a slightly marinated sardine, oyster leaf, pickled poppy, caramelized lemon, … accompanied with another dish containing a delicious anchovies cream topped with a rugula cream and garnished with a pansy. The veal sweetbread with peas, snap peas, small beans, baby courgettes and two sauces (meat and sobrasada), is really traditional, very technical and utterly classical. 10/10 for the raw materials, 10/10 for the doneness, 10/10 for the complements: this is what deserves the sautéed chicken breast served with caramelized wings, a toast with the rosy livers of the animal, a leaf of Asian cabbage, a curry, black olive, liquorice and coffee quenelle, and black garlic. The same philosophy and exquisiteness are reflected through the duck from Challans with black curry and caramelized aubergine or through the pork breast served with stewed green lentils from Puy.
And so go intellectual and carnal proposals on and on, until you get to the desserts, as brilliant as the rest, like the ginger, pepper and lemon grass sorbet –frankly exciting– or the bitter almonds foam served with rhubarb and strawberries and mango sorbet with a coconut and ginger biscuit; almost nothing… 

The chef and his privileged talent are more convincing than ever.