Thursday, July 10, 2008

Paris, Astrance

Arrived in Paris this morning,  just in time for queing up for picking up my ticket to my next destination, San Sebastian, and for a subsequent lunch at Astrance.

After a rather lenghty taxi ride to my destination at 4 Rue Bethoven (in the 16th ad, across the river close to the Eifel Tower), my driver was unable to change a 50 Euro note and took no credit card (the fare was about 15). After protesting, he produced the change. I say.

Astrance is a small place, seating only 26, in two levels. It is definitively less stuffy than most 3 star establishment and staff and guests alike were less formal than usual.

There are three menus on offer, a simple lunch menu (110 Euro), a summer menu (150? Euro) and the menú Astrance (190 Euro). I went for the latter with a complimentary wine menu (100 Euro).

Started off with some small Brioche with rosemary cream with a glass of champagne. Nice.

A small amuse bouche followed, a glass of pea pureé,yougurth with cumin and ginger foam. Refreshing.

A socalled signature dish followed, fois gras and thin slices of champignons formed as an eight of a sphere with verjus and hazelnut oil. Very light fois gras dish, sets the tone for pure flavours.

Fresh shrimp, pak choi and some japanese vegetable with sesame seed, served with soy and candied lemon. Good.

Char (or Ferat as they say in French) carefully cooked with grapefruit, candied almon, white and green aspargus and lemon cream. Pure genious.

Spanish white fish (Merlan?) with a mix of raw onion, mint, basil and rosebuds and a tamarind sauce. Excellent and innovative combination.

Bresse chicken in a thin slice wrapped around an egg yolk, summer truffels, vin jaune sauce and girolles. The yolk was semiliqud and mixed well with the sauce.

Canard de Challon, perfectly cooked and very lean. Served with haricot blanc, petit pos, chorizio,confit du cuisse de canard. Sauce was laced with Sarjet (french, don't know the english term), lemon leaf and thyme. Seriously good, Served with a suprisingly good spanish wine, I forgot to bring the wine symmary promised by the sommelier.

Suprise dish with vanilla ice cream and .... mashed potatoes. I did not guess this one correctly. Interesting.

Dessert: Spicy sorbet. Milky pudding with green jelly and roasted breadcrumbs. Chocolate fondant in crisp casing. Canoli with lemon verbena ice cream.

Postdesset. Eggshell with cocunut refreshment drink. F>resh strawberries and raspberries. Good, but not up to Norwegian straberries which, along with new potatoes, is about the only thing that is better in Norway.

Enjoyable and relaxed meal. Woth a visit.


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