Rhizome? It’s a bundle of roots! And knowing your roots is important at this cozy neo-bistro which serves ingredients bearing the Hauts-de-France stamp (pork from Picardy, chicken from Le Petit Bocage, organic vegetables from Pierre Chabrol, cheeses from the Ferme de Berneuil…) in a space decked out with almond green tones, brick walls, a mini glass roof and light oak tables… And the same goes for Aisne natives Samuel Fontaine (in the kitchen) and Claire Lefort (front of house), who trained at Mère Brazier in Lyon, Saturne in Paris, Auberge du Vert Mont in Boeschepe and Bacchanales in Vence. The other day at lunch, after a cream of Soissons beans for the regionalist prelude: a peeled tomato salad mixed with smoked duck breast from the Ferme des Charmettes, and moistened by some stunningly complex tomato water poured from a jug; veal rump served pink with new potatoes, where the bitter (homemade) veal jus and the crisp purslane matched perfectly with the sweetness from the eggplant caviar; and, just as impressive as the rest, a farm-fresh yogurt mousse with the first poached plums of the season, served with homemade meadowsweet ice cream. Enough to keep you satisfied until the fall – apples, mushrooms and, who knows, wild game… // G.D.
FEELING THIRSTY? For the apéro, there are 10 beers from the Nord department, including those from the Brasserie Saint-Médard in Compiègne (€5.90). By the glass (€5.80) there’s a living Syvaner from Kumpf et Meyer, then a spicy Cabardès from Guillaume Barré, and some good finds by the bottle, like Exilé, a Loire white from the Joussets, or Vin Rouge, a Gamay from the Clos du Tue-Boeuf, and the Morgon from the Domaine Foillard (€27, €28 and €43).
PRICE: Menus €20 and €25 (weekday lunch), €45 (dinner and Saturday lunch), kids’ menus €15.