No.1 The unassuming Michelin three-star restaurant has only 25 tables. Reservations are booked months ahead. Online reservation is now available by clicking the réserver button from their website.
No.2 Dinner starts at 20:15 and is one-seating only. Everybody gets the same surprise menu designed by chef Pascal Barbot.
No.3 There are neither bread servings, nor a cheese course (at the end). The culinary journey starts with an amuse bouche.
In our case, they were Palette of Almond, Green Apples and Praline
and a Herb Tartelette – The combination of textures and flavors is a delightful way to open up the senses, readying yourself for the next course.
No.4 The most distinguished dish at the restaurant is this Mushroom Millefeuille with Foie Gras marinated in Verjus, dusted with porcini powder, accompanied by droplets of lemon confit.
The texture of the millefeuille was as light as a feather. The flavor was complex without being heavy.
No.5 Seafood is usually prepared in the simplest method (i.e raw or steamed) to highlight the freshness of the ingredients, with condiments served on the side. Here we have Steamed Saint Jacques, Oysters, Bone Marrow with Seaweed Butter
And Steamed John Dory, Pickled Leek and Hazelnut Miso Paste
No.6 Depending on the season, truffles may be included in the set menu, or you can pay a supplement fee to have it added it to your courses. Below we have the Celeriac velouté with black truffle coulis topped with melted Parmesan and a generous shaving of black truffles – at no additional charge.
To be honest, this dish is a bit too earthy to my taste and is not my favorite truffle preparation.
No.7 The meat dishes are prepared in ways more akin to traditional French cooking. The Pork Belly Confit was accompanied by Chorizo dripping sauce.
And the lean and tender pan-fried Challans Duck was served with seasonal vegetables in its own dripping sauce as well.
No.8 Desserts are the BEST! Starting with a Sorbet of Ginger, Chili Pepper and Lemongrass – a perfect palate cleanser with such unusual combinations.
Followed by many more…
Including their signature Jasmine Eggnog
and Honey Chestnut Madeleines
Finishing off with Fresh Fruits
No.9 The whole meal takes 4-5 hours. By the time we finished our dinner it was almost midnight and we were the first table to ask for a bill 🙂
No.10 You get to take a tour of the kitchen (if you ask) and talk to the chef at the end of the meal.
No. 11 Upon exit, don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the sparkling Eiffel Tower at night.
No.12 With a price tag of 250€ for dinner (at the time of this writing). L’Astrance is one of the most affordable Michelin Three-Star restaurants in Paris. However, if spending more than a hundred euros on a meal seems absurd, go for the 95€ lunch menu. Some of the signature dishes are included in the lunch menu. You just need to clear the day to spend 3-4 hours in the restaurant.
Closing Note: We thoroughly enjoyed our evening at L’Astrance, We left the restaurant full but not stuffed. Some of the dishes we thought were a bit bland. This was because we came to dinner fully expected it to be like the other French restaurants we’ve visited in the past. That is not chef Pascal Bardot’s cooking style. If you’ve seen this episode of the Mind of a Chef, you would know that Chef Bardot focuses on the freshness of the ingredients – that he personally sourced from the purveyors on the restaurant’s closing days, applying minimalist cooking methods, with the addition of worldly flavors that he acquired from his years of cooking abroad. He does not like to use salt and pepper, or “to blend and to mix” different elements. His dishes, as a result, have a clean and un-muddled taste. And if this is what you expect, then you will have a fantastic time in L’Astrance.
All dishes are presented here in the order it was received.
Coming up next in the Travel section: Paris, I hate you!