Septime

This new venture from the young Chef Bertrand Grébaut has created a huge buzz and excitement in Paris’ gastronomic scene. Back in the day, gastro-bistros as they were called would be the hottest ticket meals in town as well-known chefs who had closed their fancier places for a smaller dining room serving traditional French food at reasonable prices. This gave them a chance to serve the kind of food they are comfortable with and clients were happier. But then, something changed. A younger generation of chefs climbed the ranks but wanted to break free from the cornered generation, they wanted to break free from the rules and traditions and started doing their own thing, outside of the ‘boundaries’. Notable restaurants include Vivant, Les Fines Gueules, Chateaubriand and now Septime.

A number of years ago it was gastro-bistros, usually owned by well-regarded chefs who’d closed their larger, fancier places to open smaller dining rooms serving variations on traditional French food, at reasonable prices. They all appealed at the time, when regular dining had because out-of-reach for locals and visitors, and it gave the chefs a chance to relax and serve the kind of food that they (and guests) were happier to eat on an everyday basis.

Climbing the ranks of L’Arpège (3 Michelin star in Paris under Chef and owner Alain Passard) for 2 years then a stint at Robuchon, he earned his own star at Agapé at the age of 27. He was then awarded 10,000€ grant from Evian-Badoit to realize his vision for Septime, where he hopes to “democratize” haute cuisine.

No sign for the restaurant. Just bright windows on a quiet street

Even the decor is a break from the traditional look; here it is more Scandinavian (even Danish) modern with a lot of wood surfaces and old arm-chairs resembling a post-industrial loft but surrounded with glass and mirrors. It reminded me of a loft in Brooklyn, New York. I aspire to have this kind of restaurant. 

Plating was simple with white plates (all round). You don’t need anything else. Even the open kitchen is simple yet enough to satisfy the needs of the Chef. 

What’s different about Septime is that it’s really about the cooking and not the Chef trying to meander his way through tricks and trends (ie. rectangular plates, food served in small jars). He presents the ingredient as it is without fuss and they are presented beautifully so that the natural taste and look of the ingredients pops up.

Before choosing what to have from the menu of the day, a blackboard caught my eye. Pork cheek for €5 and Basque sausage for €7? You know it had my name on it.

The pork cheek was so silky and smoothy and felt oily to touch. It had a very walnut-like aroma.

In comparison, the Basque sausage was more smokey and much stronger in taste.

With country-style bread

Menu du jour (Menu of the day):

Entrée

Gaspacho of tomato/Cucumber foam/Burrata cheese

Octopus/Potatoes/Fennel – Olives

Plats

Codfish/Tomato/Smoked Aubergine Caviar

Duck breast/Baby vegetables/Zucchini

Desserts

Cheese: Savoie/Reblochon

Melon/Raspberry Sorbet and Vanilla Chantilly

The value is reasonable as well. While dinner is à la carte, with a carte blanche at  55€ for 5-courses; at lunch, you can have either a 2-course or 3-course menu, priced at €21 and €26, and each includes a glass of white or red wine or a bottle of water (including the house-filtered still and sparkling water served in dames-jeannes). All wines are natural as well and the menu is changed daily.

Septime has a little courtyard outback on the way to the bathroom. Beautiful and cozy.

Though a little far out from the centre of Paris, this place made me speechless in both the decor, the service and the natural ingredients. If the goal was to “democratize” cuisine, I think 3-months in, he’s already reached his goal.

Septime

Address: 80 rue de Charonne, 75011
Metro: Charonne (Ligne 9)
Closed: Saturday lunch, Sunday, and Monday
Telephone: 01 43 67 38 29

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Comments
2 Responses to “Septime”
  1. love the rustic vibe!

  2. yen says:

    looks great! next time i will give it a try..

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