Another visit to…Agapé Substance

Earlier last year, when I was still living in Paris, I visited Agapé Substance 2 weeks after its opening.

Then, the restaurant was quiet, the food memorable but it was more relaxed. Having kept in contact with Chef David Toutain the last couple of months, I decided to pay the restaurant another visit. Since my review in 2011, Agapé Substance has taken Paris by storm, being critically acclaimed as one of a kind in Paris, imaginative and now David Toutain enjoys some fruits of his labor while trying to always do something new. You can find him in gastronomic magazines, conferences around the world (most recently in Shanghai).

The menu, too, has changed; before there was a list of ingredients, now there is one menu no-choice (unless you have allergies) and depending on the Chef’s mood (luckily he was in a good mood that day), certain dishes and ingredients will be given to you for around 100 euros. There is definitely a price-hike compared to last year, but it’s all worth it.

A quick rerun through Toutain’s background. Chef David Toutain’s resumé includes stints at L’Arpège, Mugaritz (Spain) and Corton in New York (NYC).Lunch and dinner are the same price: 65€ for a ‘short’ menu or 99€ for a ‘longer’ menu; with wine pairing, respectively 109€ or 169€. I was not in the mood for too much wine, but more for the food, so opted for a glass or two, recommended by the sommelier.

The setting though, is the same: I call it a laboratory/kitchen with one long communal table, at one end, the front door, on the other the open and distinctly quiet kitchen. Now…onto the food. We were treated for a delightful meal of various imaginative, cunning and beautiful dishes. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. 

A light aperitif to start

Beetroot crisp…Crunchy, sweet, beautiful color, very subtle in taste

Nori, miso mustard and fresh radishes. Very asian-influenced dish, but what comes out is the freshness of the produce. A fresh radish (and its leaves) never tasted so good. 

Ginger sablé, Trout roe. Fish eggs gave it a sea-taste, which was subdued by the cake. All subtle. 

Wild Garlic sponge cake, fresh peas, garlic flower. I was about to eat the plate, as they looked so similar, but it was hard as a rock. Wild garlic to me is very strong, and its flavor did come out of the cake but quite light. 

Cheese cannelloni, mustard leaves. I am not a fan of cheese but this was light and airy. Not my favorite though. Another dish I thought was edible, doesn’t it look like a crust of some sort? Fail.

Bulots clams, seaweed. This is unforgettable. The dish comes presented without the soup, and you are suppose to taste the ingredients, then the waiter pours the broth. The bulots clams gives it a gummy texture and the green powder from an ‘ice plant’ is cold and melts in your mouth. Very interesting. Once you pour the liquid in, all textures change. The bulots clams are softer and the soup is then infused with the powder. 

Bread and butter break: On one side, salted butter; on the other seaweed butter

White asparagus, quail egg. Cool plate, but hard to eat in. 

Peas. They were stuck together and made into a ball. The soup was made from shrimp. Very light and strong shrimp taste (like from a incredibly clear stock)

Mushrooms of Paris and hazelnuts. One of my favorites. You could taste the earthiness and it was fairly sweet. 

Smoked eel. Another favorite. Melt in your mouth meat with a creamy and smooth and black sesame broth. I could eat this forever.

Egg and cumin. Not the most visually striking but wow, super strong in flavor. Low temperature egg with cumin and corn puree. 

 

Green peas, rhubarb and ham. Looks simple but taste delicious.

Zucchini and its flowers. Great refreshing vegetable dish, surprise razor clams!

Gnocchi, foie gras, potato skin consommé. Tiny in appearance but bold in flavor. The melting soft foie gras with the more chewy potato gnocchi, only to be poured, a clear potato skin consommé from a test tube. Great altogether.

Warm oyster. For me, nothing special. 

Turbot fish, lemon. Perfectly cooked fish with lemon cream. Perhaps not the best-looking of the bunch but smooth in taste.

Crispy pork, chanterelles mushrooms. Great meat dish to end the savory. Served on a hot ardoise plate, the crispiness of the skin, the soft mushrooms and the jus just made it all come together. 

Comté cheese from Franche-Comté. Usually in a form of a disk. Not as strong as I thought. I do not like cheese but I would prefer this than a Bleu. 

Olive oil meringue. The ‘sail’ of the meringue was made from olive oil as it rested on a bed of lemon, and buckwheat seeds. Not my favorite of the three desserts to have, but a palate cleanser. First time I ate the seeds in their natural form. 

Strawberries and parsley. I was expecting a strong flavored parsley ice-cream but was subdued with the strawberries and its jus. 

Cherries. My favorite dessert: poached cherries, vanilla cake and sorbet. 

I am full just writing about this meal I had. Nevertheless, it was exceptional.

David Toutain remains bold and creative in his little nook in the 6th district, I think we will hear more from him in the future.  An unforgettable meal, and one of the hottest tables in Paris. Book fast. 

Agapé Substance

66, Rue Mazarine, 75006

Metro: Odeon (Lignes 4, 10), St. Germain des Prés (Ligne 4)

Tel: 01 45 29 33 83

Website: http://www.agapesubstance.com

 
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Comments
2 Responses to “Another visit to…Agapé Substance”
  1. Mashav says:

    Looks amazing. Was sad to hear they increased prices so drastically, and been closed for holidays when my mom was in town 😦

  2. ChuckEats says:

    this looks great – it looks like he’s tightened the food over the past 9 months. the egg, cumin, & corn pudding looks spectacular

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