Sola par Hiroki Yoshitake

In the shadows of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, lies Sola; that is Sola by Hiroki Yoshitake, a refined and creative Franco-Japanese restaurant lying in the short rue de l’Hotel Colbert.

From outside, nothing special is felt about the restaurant. Once you enter, however, the polished and modern decor immediately takes your breath away and that’s when you know you’re in for a real treat.

The restaurant is divided into 2 floors. On the ground floor, you find the Western room where you will find your daily dining apparatus such as chairs and tables. But I specifically booked downstairs, called the Japanese room, where customers are led into a revamped and modern cave turned into tatami-style seating. You are given a locker for your shoes and slippers to use until you get to your table.

The decor is very sleek and the colors of beige from the walls and the wood floors and seats are comforting to the eye. The lighting is exquisite, not too dark or too light. The staff, of course, is Japanese, very polite and let you enjoy your meal without eyeing you like a hawk does to its prey.

The menu is simple, either you choose from a petite dégustation or a grande dégustation…I opted for the latter..of course.

Before starting to eat, you are given this marshmallow-looking cylinder but the waitress immediately pours hot water on it and this baby marshmallow grows into full size, revealing itself to be a cleaning towel…Luckily I didn’t try to cut into it with my fork and knife beforehand.

Amuse-Bouche: Soupe de pamplemousse et fenouil

It was a cold fennel and grapefruit soup. The flavors combined were very interesting; to be honest I didn’t know what to expect, but didn’t expect it to be that good. Though I don’t like cold soups, I thought that this amuse-bouche was very adequate to the taste buds because a hot soup with these two ingredients would be too strong in flavor.

Foie gras with miso on a mini toast came with the soup. No complaints here.

Entrées:

Tartare de saumon et creme de betterave

Smoked salmon tartare with creme of red beets

The beets on the right hand side of the plate with the powder around it was absolutely beautiful. The red was very dark but of the most prettiest shade I have seen with beets.

The beet was well contrasted with the other side of the dish, showing more subtle colors and turning towards orange and pink. It all looked great on the blank canvas that is the white dish.

Encornet de caramel, champignons, et trompettes de la mort

Squid with caramel, mushrooms

Here I loved the contrast between the black ardoise dish and the very pale to light colored ingredients. 

Plats:

Dorade royale et asperges royales

Sea-bream and royal asparagus

Pintade et asperges blanches avec amandes, sauces aux viandes et sauce miso (from the petite dégustation)

Guinea-fowl, white asparagus and almonds, accompanied by a jus of meat and miso sauce

Canard et asperges blanches, sauce betterave

Duck breast and white asparagus, beetroot sauce. Loved the baby vegetables around the duck. 

Dessert:

Creme de citron vert, granité de menthe, fruits rouges et yuzu

Green lime creme, mint granité, red fruits and yuzu

Sorbet de kiwi (Kiwi sorbet with kiwi chip) (from the petite dégustation)

Next was a beautiful dish with dark chocolate creme, vanilla ice-cream with caramelized hazelnuts, a light meringue and almonds.

The second smaller dish was kinako (soy bean flour), clouds of soya that immediately evaporated in your mouth. Great texture and strong sweet flavor.

I was most impressed with the overall presentations and plating of the dishes. Each reminded me of a work of art, the chef ‘painting’ on a black canvas. There was always a main ‘brush stroke’ on each dish and the chef plated around this form. Very inspiring and one of the most beautiful presentations I have seen. The colors all mellowed with each other and these are the times you’re reminded that cooking can be a beautiful work of art. The dish is the chef’s blank canvas and he remains to be the artist expressing his feelings to the customers.

Sola par Hiroki Yoshitake

12 Rue de l’Hôtel Colbert, 75005
Tel: 01 43 29 59 04; Website: http://www.restaurant-sola.com/
Metro: Maubert – Mutualité (Ligne 10)

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