I rang Astrance in Paris at 10am on March 15th, exactly 4 weeks before I wanted to eat there – the phone was busy! After 20 minutes of redialling I finally got through. Now I just had to get a table for two on April 12th @ 8pm – they had one and it was like winning the lottery! They asked for my credit card details & that we should ring and confirm the day before. So I had a table at number 13 out of the world’s best 100 restaurants – Astrance also has three Michelin stars & gets a mention in the Gault & Millau guide! We arrived 10 minutes early and Olivier suggested that we go for a walk after inquiring whether or not we were lovers! On our return we were taken to the “lovers” table. We had an interesting conversation with Alexandre about organic wine and ordered a bottle of Cotes du Jura Chardonnay 2009 which was indeed organic & good. Now it was down to the serious business of sampling Pascal Barbot’s cooking and the hospitality of his partner at Astrance, Christophe Rohat. There is no menu and we were asked if we were allergic to anything. My old joke about bad service & food was told! We were here to enjoy ourselves, so not many photos or notes were taken. This is what I remember:
Green Apple – Rosemary Cream – Asparagus Soup & Curry Foam – Paris Mushrooms & Foie Gras – Oyster, Scallop & Bone Marrow – Asparagus, Cumin & Orange – John Dory – Mackerel, Buck Wheat Seeds & Smoked Anchovy – Pork Belly & Chorizo – Lamb, Aubergine & Liquorice – Potato Foam & Vanilla Ice Cream – Chilli, Lemon Grass & Ginger Ice Cream – Jasmine Egg Nog.
Barbot who is from Vichy in Central France is a seasonal chef who loves to work with under-used ingredients such as Pork Belly & Mackerel – Rohat runs a tight ship on the FOH floor. After supper we met the very jovial Barbot in his small kitchen & Karin helped the very approachable Rohat fold table cloths before our taxi arrived. Both have worked for Alain Passard at Arpège where we had a table booked for lunch the next day, which will be the subject of my next post. Astrance should be on your list of restaurants to go to – these guys have all the boxes ticked. (Click on a thumbnail to start slideshow)