Restaurant l'Astrance (Paris)

© l'Astrance

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After a three-year eclipse, the legendary restaurant from Pascal Barbot, the Sun King who’s more enlightened than the French despot, and Christophe Rohat, the minister of telepathic services, is finally back, reincarnated in the comfort of a bigger space (the former Jamin, which used to be the domain of Robuchon). If the ornate metal decor with shades of beige doesn’t much impress the 16th arrondissement, the first bites of the divine lunch menu certainly will (you can either order the set menu, or à la carte!): raw scallops in their shells, with crisp cabbage, a warm oyster dancing with bone marrow and black kombu butter, like a work by Soulages; gracefully fatty toothfish fillet (from the southern seas), with opal-white flesh and golden scales, proudly tucked up against some tender Koshihikari rice seasoned with citrus zest, radish and beurre blanc sauce; stunning suckling pork belly and stratospheric lentils and chorizo; a trou normand capturing the fire of hot chilies under a snowfall of ginger and lemongrass; before the masterful finale, a creamy almond shortbread topped with Comice pear, arm in arm with a sorbet made from the same fruit. At the end of the meal, a low bow to the chef feels in order… // Renaud Fuego

FEELING THIRSTY? High-born bottles with rather steep price tags: Quatre Mains, a Touraine white from La Grange Tiphaine (€19 a glass), Les Poyeux, a Saumur-Champigny produced by the Domaine des Sables Verts (€23), Melon à Queue Rouge, a Jura white produced by Philippe Chatillon (€115 a bottle)… 
PRICE: Set menus €120-285 (lunch), €285 (dinner), à la carte €190-300. 

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