John Talbott writes a knowledgeable and popular blog about Paris restaurants that I read faithfully. When he asked my husband and me to join him and his wife, Sue, for lunch this week, I jumped at the chance to meet this psychiatrist turned food critique. The place he had in mind was Septime, located in the 11th arrondissment, one of the capital’s flourishing new restaurant scenes.
We had been to Septime last summer for dinner, not long after it opened, and were impressed by the creative fare young chef Bernard Grébaut (who had worked at the 3-star Arpège) proposed. Each course of our tasting menu featured fresh, seasonal ingredients and was prepared with careful attention to detail. Our lunch was also delectable, and at 26 euros for 3 courses proved a better bargain than our evening meal.
My lightly poached egg and shallots floating in a delectable bouillon scented with hay (yes, you read that correctly) sprinkled with crunchy grains of black wheat was delicious and inventive.For my main, I tried a mild white fish called carrelet that was surrounded by sautéed lettuce leaves and Brussels sprouts and served with a vibrant green vegetable sauce. The presentation was clever, but the dish needed more punch. Both courses were ideal for my post-holiday regime. Dessert--a decadent trio of sweet confections--included a large square of dark chocolate ganache, an airy coffee mousse, and a scoop of smooth, rich ice cream scented with rosemary and thyme.
Lunch proved to be a delightful affair (John is as charming as his wife) so we lingered over our food almost two hours. The ambience is what I’d describe as rustic with chic industrial accents, and the garçons professional and helpful. Portions tend to be on the small side, but that’s makes it easier to enjoy each course without feeling one has over-indulged.
80 rue de Charonne
Phone: 01 43 67 38 29