After working for big names such as chef Gilles Goujon’s 3-star Auberge du Vieux Puits in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France then at Alain Ducasse’s 3-Michelin star restaurant in Paris for 7 consecutive years, the young Kei Kobayashi has opened an eponymous restaurant in the old Gerard Besson space in the heart of the 1st arrondissement.

The restaurant, named Kei, demonstrates the Chef’s personal take on French haute-cuisine by making clients experience a market-menu with traditions of the past. The very affordable lunch of 4 to 5 courses at 38/48€ or dinner it’s 6 or 8 courses (75/95€) is enough to bring clients on Kei’s culinary journey.

The waiters recommend that clients of the same table order the same meat (either veal, pork or duck) but since I am such a pork lover and found it it was iberico pork, I couldn’t pass up the chance and insisted that others shouldn’t feel pressured by my choice. Luckily, everyone got to choose their own; but one must remember that usually clients play by Kei’s rules.

The setting: light purple colored walls, adorned with original decorations in a bright restaurant screened with a see-through curtain

The back of the restaurant

The hallway to the kitchen

Simple table decor

Peony flower

Now let’s get down to the food…

Cheese sticks

Green beans with sauteed calamari and mousse of zucchini

Foie gras confit, citrus confit and mustard leaves

I did not know when to start. At first I thought the dish was a bit too overwhelming for my taste and felt like a forest before me but it was beautifully presented and the light ingredients meshed well with the heavier foie gras.

Gnocchi of baby potatoes, emulsion of parmesan cheese, iberico ham and morilles mushrooms

The whole dish tied together very well though I am not a fan of gnocchi.

Pan-fried seabass, green asparagus and garlic sauce

Kei won me over with the fish. It was beautifully cooked – extremely moist and tender meat with a crisp skin and a very tasty dressing.

Iberico pig, chinese spinach, baby potatoes and lettuce with ancient mustard

You could also have veal as your meat dish. It looked like steak but really was veal. Impressively tender and juicy.

Fresh strawberries with mascarpone ice-cream, topped with a mint sorbet, emulsion of strawberry and raspberry oil

A very light sorbet and an airy foam

Mignardises: salt-butter saber cookie, liquid caramel, marshmallow cassis and chocolate truffles

The very sweet marshmallow – felt like a kid in a candy store with this one.
The chocolate truffles to finish
Since it opened in February 2011, it has continuously received raved reviews from critics and bloggers. Though you can tell his experience of haute-cuisine lies at the heart of his dishes with some over-the-top emulsions and foams, he delivers on the particularities of the entrees and the fish.
5 Rue Coq Heron, 75001
Tel: 01 42 33 14 74
Metro: Louvre-Rivoli (Ligne 1), Les Halles (Ligne 4)
Closed: Sunday, Monday

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