‘Twas a lovely lunch I had last week at Septime, lovely because of the light-diffused, farmhouse-industrial dining room, the thoughtfully prepared food, and the conversation with Amy.
An entrée of boeuf cru, smoked potatoes and tarragon cleverly balanced creamy and crunchy with a layer of toasted breadcrumbs sprinkled between the ground beef and mashed potatoes.
The merlu main course shared the same attention to texture, with raw slivers of cauliflower offering a toothsome counterpoint to the fish and purée. Dabs of anchovy paste added a bold and salty — at times overpowering — punch.
To finish, we had a dessert of cassis and basil sorbet, an unexpected but joyous marriage, bright and cleansing, faintly licorice-y. Alas, the accompanying chocolate ganache felt like an afterthought; served too cold, it tasted slightly congealed and pale next to the sorbet’s sunny enthusiasm.
I enjoyed Septime tremendously. And yet…
After reading so many laudatory reviews, my expectations were at a fever pitch. In the end, I didn’t find Septime as revelatory as I expected. Don’t get me wrong — my meal was lovely, and the lunch menu — 26 Euros for three courses — has a rapport qualité prix that I would, without hesitation, describe as fantastic. The chef, Bertrand Grébaut, has a fine pedigree and a witty sensibility. But, in the end, this is simple, seasonal food, beautifully cooked — nothing more or less. The internet has made this restaurant the Next Big Thing, but I wonder if the lily will wilt under those extra flourishes of gilt.
The internets giveth and the internets taketh away. Blessed be the name of the internets?
80 rue de Charonne, 11e
tel: 01 43 67 38 29