It may require unwavering dedication to secure a booking at Septime in the trendy 11th arrondissement, but I can confirm – it’s time well spent . Chef Bertrand Grébaut has drawn on experiences and his training from Alain Passard and Joël Robuchon to develop his own fresh, inventive style of cooking, which he creates with extraordinary produce. The result is a daily-changing seven course menu (a complete surprise to diners), which you will remember for some time to come.
Grébaut’s creative use of produce is evident in his Charolais beef tartare. The melting meat (finely diced moments before service) sits in a smoky freshwater crayfish stock, which creates the smell and taste of grilled steak. Acidic sweet notes come from segments of blood orange while chicory adds some crunch and bitterness. This is a real pleasure of a dish.
The white asparagus entrée is also worth a mention, with its creamy, nutty mousse of ficu cheese directly coming for a local production in Corsica. Slices of al dente asparagus decorate the mousse alongside tender, char-grilled stems. A charred flavour also come from roasted buckwheat, while lemon thyme beurre noisette gives the dish a zippy finish.
Main courses also showcase Grébaut’s perfect cooking of wonderful produce.
Monkfish from Finistère is cooked “à la nacre” so the flesh still glistens like mother of pearl. Slithers of pata negra add a touch of fat and flavour, alongside a deep mushroom reduction. You would never think to eat monkfish like this, but the quality allows you to almost eat it sashimi style. A big of French and Japanese fusion. Brussel sprouts (normally not much of a crowd pleaser) are confit in butter, which has been reduced down to a noisette. They are simply incredible, with crispy dehydrated leaves and a buttery heart. A dash of vinegar over the whole dish pulls everything together.
Veal sweetbreads are meltingly tender, covered in a walnut breadcrumb which has been finished in the pan. The resulting nutty butter dresses the meat and blanched baby turnips add some freshness.
Writing a short review for Septime is tough because there are so many plates that are worthy of some words. Though, that in itself is a great reflection on the quality of the restaurant. The cooking is at the level of a Swiss watchmaker. You also can’t fault the relaxed, friendly service and explanations given by the young and talented team. If you’re looking for a modern, entertaining and above all excellent dining experience in Paris, then this is an address you should definitely consider. Highly recommended.