25, rue Bayen (17)
This is a find, if not a bargain. Simonin was the Atelier Rubichon chef in London, now back in Paris on his own, on a small market street in an otherwise busy Etoile-area neighborhood. Small. Modern. Comfortable surroundings. Based on the menu, expensive. A la carte at dinner, but at 39€, an extraordinary several course lunch at a giveaway price. Good enough to make one think about the a la carte dinner menu. And surely not to last. (And it hasn’t: Lunch now 49€.)
Michelin star quality food in comfortable, but sophisticated surroundings served by friendly professionals.
After an early 2014 menu change which added an 86€ three-course “Inspiration” menu to the still very expensive a la carte dinner menu, we tried for dinner, following many happy lunches. This remains quite special.
Three “surprise” (no choice) courses: pan roasted cepes, choice of meat or fish (duckling with apples or mullet and pastry with Provencal accompaniments), warm chocolate cake with mint sherbet. Each course exquisite to look at and to taste, each complex without being overly fussy, each carefully arranged and carefully prepared. This is a great restaurant.
Sophisticated. Beautiful. Complex. Modern. On the fixed price lunch, two choices in each category, plus extras; escargot or egg in a truffle cream sauce, chicken or fish. Another meal: pork or eel, or rabbit loin or cod. Equally sophisticated desserts. Several notches more refined than most other restaurants in this Diary.
Reserved. Friendly. (An elderly client who left before us on our last visit took my hat from the small coat closet by mistake. They knew where he lived and retrieved it.)
Expensive a la carte. Very expensive tasting menu. 49€ lunch. Relative to the care, beauty and intelligence of the food, still a bargain, if less so.