Restaurant Grain[s] (Paris)

© Léo Kharfan

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Old and counterfeit wines: the Saint-Germain neighborhood hasn’t always had a stellar reputation when it comes to wine bars. A reputation that the Becs Parisiens group are taking on at their new spot on Rue Mabillon, a hip natural wine and independent sake bar. Arriving after a stint at the group’s ChoCho tapas bar, chef Julian Avila has teamed up with Mathieu Guérin (ex-Mosuke and Mandarin Oriental) in the underground space: seventies light fixtures, a tiny zinc-topped bar and tomette tile floors for max 15 guests – there’s plenty to “écrasser un grain” or “drink a glass of wine”, as you’d say back in the 19th-century lingo. Sent out the night we went: a mouthwatering soft-boiled egg with anchovy mousse and Kalamata olives; a classic sando croque monsieur with grilled oyster mushrooms, Mimolette and sobrassada; enticing homemade linguine dressed with smoked butter and sage; and best of all, a delicate quail skewer glazed with fermented quince BBQ sauce, served grilled and medium-rare… Sakément delicious! // Kelly Slatée

FEELING THIRSTY? Take a world tour via your wine glass: Shanela, a white from the Bodegas Bilhar in the Spanish Basque country (€27), Crystallum, a South African Pinot noir produced by Peter Max (€65 a bottle)… Not to mention the Japanese bottles, including an umami-esque Miyamizu No Hana – a 2022 tokubtsu junmai from the Sakuramasamune brewery (€9 a glass, €77 a bottle). 
PRICE: Plates €6-22. 

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