Bertrand Grébaut, Le Fooding Guide’s 2012 Man of the Hour
Admired ever since it first opened in 2011, Septime is still stunning the world with its haute cuisine lightning bolts. In the kitchen, the thirtysomething chef Bertrand Grébaut, backed by Clément Girodengo, sends out ultra-contemporary cuisine that’s highly plant-based. Meanwhile, in the dining room, Théo Pourriat orchestrates the staff who are as cool as they are precise, in a highly faubourgeois space – bare concrete, untreated wood furniture, a windowed-wall, a staircase, metal suspension lamps… At lunch, the delightful €42 set menu includes four incredible courses. The day we went: a sharp start to the meal with delicate cuttlefish from Oléron served raw over a bottarga cream that was drunk on the taste of the sea, with a twist from marine herbs and sea beans; followed by galvanizing roasted asparagus with egg yolk and lovage, topped with some punky Norway spruce tips; fattened hen from Le Pâtis with a cherry laqueur, smoked sucrine lettuce, plus a cardamom and wild garlic jus; before a floating island with the delirium-inducing scent of fig leaf, which had a taste of Corsica about it. At night, the menu gets even more sophisticated with three additional courses: roasted leeks with a cream of smoked egg yolk, mustard seeds and a parslied butter; Grand Roux polenta with cream of corn infused with hay and spices; veal sweetbreads in an XO sauce with a wild garlic vinegar. To drink, only the best: a Swiss beer from La Brasserie des Voirons (€20 for 750 ml), a haughty Georgian orange vine from Okro’s (€9 a glass), a radiant Carignan from Fond Cyprès in the Aude (€8), a Côtes-du-Jura white from the Domaine des Marnes Blanches (€58 a bottle), or a Fleurie from Jean-Louis Dutraive (€60). Menus €42 (lunch) and €80 (dinner). // S.L.