Restaurant Quinsou in ParisQuinsou (Paris) - © Quinsou

His ex-lieutenants are all grown up (Les DéserteursMokonuts). A former chef under Michel Bras, he has fed Terence Conran, the millionaire Marlon Abela, run some insane and respected kitchens (Green House, Sergent Recruteur) and was compromised in spite of himself in the ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful La Jeune Rue project. Antonin Bonnet, a discreet anti-hero, luckily stopped building castles in the sky to focus on his little nest, Quinsou — named after a small sparrow from the Lozère department that only sings on rare occasions — where he works alone in the kitchen. Seated on a leather bench underneath designer light fixtures (Poulsen, Flos), for today’s lunch we contemplated a verdant beakful of sharp, sautéed vegetables (chard, pencil leeks, kale and kohlrabi from the Ferme du Bec Hellouin), electrified by a praline vinaigrette and dotted with purple basil. Don’t forget to wipe your plate clean with the good homemade bread made with heritage flours from Roland Feuillas. We then admired the line-caught red porgy from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, resuscitated by a vivifying nettle soup with fennel oil and red potatoes from Flanders. Before indulging in desserts imbued with divine goodness: a small, hay-infused goat cheese from the Ferme du Châtain with honeyed figs (€9); a lemon and satsuma (a sweet mandarin orange that’s popular in Japan) tartelette with sheep’s milk fromage blanc and aniseed sorbet that’s taut as a bow, smooth as an embrace. Wines of the same caliber help orchestrate this symphony of flavors: Brouilly from Georges Descombes (€8 a glass); Montlouis-sur-Loire, Minéral Plus from Frantz Saumon (€38). Any complaints? Just one: why do chefs these days all insist on forcing us to order four, five or six courses minimum, when we’d much rather indulge in however many we see fit? Menus €28-35-48 (lunch), €48-64 (dinner). // Matthieu Jauniau-Dallier

Getting there

Restaurant Quinsou
33, rue de l'Abbé Grégoire
TEL: + 33 1 42 22 66 09
Subway: Rennes, Saint-Placide