Cobéa ★ // Paris 14ème // France

Cobéa is one of those Parisian restaurants that has people talking all over Europe. Born out of a partnership between Philippe Bélissent and Jérôme Cobou, the pair has created a charming restaurant with a great atmosphere.

At Cobéa, nothing is done by halves. The level of detail is high and there is no place for error. The style is certainly avant garde, but between the modern molecular touches, you’ll find some authentic classic technique.

The mise-en-bouche that you start with – a slow poached egg – isn’t’ at all what you think it is. A cloud of foam, holding perfectly, like the lightest cheese cake foam, is in fact sumptuous seaweed foam. It’s topped with crispy seaweed, on a bed of succulent John Dory tartare; a stunning mixture of avant garde and Japanese fusion. It’s fresh, with an intense iodine background, reminiscent of oyster water – simply wonderful.

Cobéa food is impeccable from start to finish, but the pan-fried chicken oysters (sot-l’y-laisse poêlée) are crisped-up to perfection, and placed on a bed of midolline pasta (small lozenge shapes) with a heavenly, light creamy sauce.

The next revelation is the superb signature dish – skate wing with orange (yes with orange) and a velvety, elegant coconut cream. Looking beyond the flower and micro herbs decoration, the combination works exquisitely. The fish, cooked at a low temperature remains soft, creamy, creating the perfect texture. Not sweet at all, a savoury flavour comes from the orange as it’s more bitter than you might think.

Dessert is also good – a cylinder of almond tuile, filled with pecans and a salted caramel whipped cream. It may sound delicate but it’s bursting with flavour.

Overall, Phillipe shines through his interpretation of cooking and the combination of unusual ingredient that he uses. On top of that, the restaurant itself has a really cosy feel. Try to get one of the two tables in the alcoves to make your meal that touch more magical.