Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Paris] Sola

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Add: 12 Rue de l’Hôtel Colbert 75005 Paris
Tel: 01 43 29 59 04
Hours: 12~2:30pm, 7~10pm
Price: [lunch] €48 [dinner] €88
Visited on: Nov 2012

There’s a small army of Japanese chefs cooking away in Paris. Their particular way of handling food, oftentimes a creative fusion between French and Japanese traditions, has garnered some notable acclaims here in the capital of haute cuisine. A few that have been Michelin-approved include Passage 53 (2 stars), Kei (1 star), Hiramatsu (1 star), and Sola (1 star). Having had a lovely lunch at Kei, I decided to give the rest a try as well.

When making the reservation, I was asked if I prefer the “French room” or the “Japanese room”. Having no idea what each entailed, I chose the Japanese room, which I later found out to be located in the basement in a cave-like setting, where guests are requested to remove their shoes before entry. The French room, on the other hand, is just typical restaurant seating.

Like at Kei, guests are offered hand towels upon arrival.

Sola offers a lunch tasting menu (€48) inclusive of two amuse bouches, one entrée, one fish course, one meat course, and a dessert. First came amuse bouche #1, lobster in American sauce with radish puree, and amuse bouche #2, foie gras with miso sauce, grilled corn, and polenta. A rather rich start, but lovely nonetheless.

Bread basket.

Alain Milliat jus raisin blanc Chardonnay (€6), white grape juice made from Chardonnay grapes, very fragrant.

Entrée: seared scallops, yellow cauliflower, cauliflower purée, honey sauce, parmesan crisps. The scallops were nice, but even more memorable were the perfectly cooked and seasoned yellow cauliflowers.

Not sure about you, but it was my first time eating this tube-shaped vegetable called crosne. More details here.

Fish course: turbot with Italian ham, ginger puree, broccoli puree, Chinese cabbage, green onion. The Italian ham was thinly sliced, so delicate I almost mistook it for a strand of turnip. It was pure fat, but did not taste in the least bit greasy, and was a brilliant accompaniment for the turbot. With ginger puree, Chinese cabbage, and green onion, this dish tasted decidedly Asian.

Meat course, Iberico pork, cepe mushroom, Parmesan foam. The succulent and crunchy pork was really a pleasant surprise, and everything next to it – cepe mushrooms, baby onions, fingerling potatoes – were a delight as well.

Dessert, berries, chocolate ganache, vanilla ice-cream, cassis meringue. Not bad.

The dessert plate and fork were especially Japanese.

To finish, a soft, fluffy square of “soya cloud”.

For those who are curious, this is what the French room looks like.

I really enjoyed the food at Sola, but unfortunately my lunch experience was tainted by a few unpolished details in service. For example, a few times during our meal, a waiter and a waitress were chitchatting loudly behind our table. Also, when we were exiting the restaurant, we saw one waitress napping on a dining table in the French room. These behaviors are simply not what I’d expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant, especially one that’s run by a Japanese chef as Japanese chefs tend to be extra meticulous when it comes to service. C’est dommage.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 23rd, 2012 at 4:09 am