Best sophistroquet of 2019
From their tightly-packed munchbox-cum natural wine bar at 60 rue du Cherche-Midi, the team from Sauvage has now crossed the street invading La Marlotte at number 55. In the space of a few days, their flag was planted and the décor established: soft green for the façade, white paint to refresh the wrinkled rafters and customized plywood furniture to fill the tommette-tiled room that’s been emptied of its Pompidou-inspired past. As for the cuisine, there’s no doubt about it, the short menu bears the royal seal of the laid-back owner, Leroy Sébastien, who’s backed up by the Schweizer brothers, Timothy and Jonathan (ex-Agapé Substance, A.T). Think high-born ingredients, broad strokes of flavor and a love of flowers – and salt! After starting with a bottle from Damien Millet (Beaujolais VDF, €42), away we go: tender duck hearts with wild garlic and radish (€11); tender salmon with bergamot and carrots (€12); foie gras topped with citrus and thin slivers of kohlrabi (€17); silky veal tartare mixed with raw cauliflower and chives (€14); perfect veal sweetbreads, roasted fennel with intense notes of anise, and sweet clover blossoms (€30); a somewhat dry pork belly with green asparagus, pickled onions and a praline crumble (€23); and a trendy but rather bland hake fillet, despite the white asparagus, clams and lovage dressing (€24). There were more surprises on the sweet side of the menu, served the day we went with a refreshing pét’nat’ from Julien Guillot (€44): quartered oranges under a strange bitter squash mousse (€8) and a crispy toasted buckwheat tapioca (€8). In short, even if a few more adjustments are needed, this wild child of a restaurant promises beautiful things to come! And FYI, the wine list runs deep: glasses of wine starting at €6, bottles starting at €27. À la carte €41-55. // P.-H.B.