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Glass of red wine with beaker as decanter.

There isn’t much I can say about Septime that hasn’t been said before. The cooking is precise, intelligent, surprising… and most of all, seasonal — almost to the moment.

We had a 7:30 reservation, the first seating for dinner, and we arrived before all the other tables. That meant that, for a moment, we had the entire restaurant and the serving staff all to ourselves.

wine menu and bracelets

Why are French sommeliers so handsome so often? I mean honestly, adorable sommelier, how am I supposed to concentrate on your extensive list of orange and natural wines and your charming recommendations for how to choose when I don’t want to stop looking at you?

Not that my date was all that shabby, either.

septime

We started with a plate of (what I think was) baby tuna tartare in a cold parsley fennel soup, with shaved baby fennel and cherries. Yes, it’s pretty, but it’s also extraordinarily well-composed. The sweetness of the cherries hit first, melting away into the creamy fattiness of the tuna, finishing with the herbal notes from the soup and fennel.

parsley fennel soup with shaved fennel and cherries

Our second appetizer was white asparagus, baby cucumber, some kind of root vegetable cut into thin discs, with cottage cheese, salmon roe, and some small, nutty seeds. The salmon roe really made this dish, popping under my teeth and giving each bite a surprising hint of brininess.

white asparagus, baby cucumber, root vegetable, seeds, salmon roe, cottage cheese

Fish course: “poisson rouge” (possibly snapper?) with a whisper-thin slice of lardon on top, with smoked baby potatoes, some kind of edible blossom, and a jus de poisson. Well-cooked, well thought-out.

poisson rouge, lardon, smoked baby potatoes.

Meat course: veal, carrots, beetroot. This was my least favorite course of the night, as I tend to like my meat a bit rarer, but it was still tasty.

veal, carrot, beetroot

There was a cheese course here, which I completely forgot to photograph. There was a lovely, creamy sheep’s milk cheese and a very strong blue cow’s milk cheese.

Dessert: apple compote with a boule of ice cream and something that tasted like speculoos crumble. The waitress forgot what the flavor of the ice cream was in English, so she went to ask her colleague. Tim and I made guesses, and I won — elderflower! This was tasty, but the elderflower ice cream was a bit overpowered by the other flavors on the plate.

apple compote with elderflower ice cream and speculoos crumble

The check came out to about €180 for the two of us. At dinner, only the carte blanche menu is available, and is €55 for five courses without wine. We both had champagne to start, a bottle of good Burgundy, and the cheese course (which is not included in the carte blanche menu). It’s a bit of a splurge, but so, so worth it. We’re thinking about having a monthly dinner date at Septime, so we can taste the seasons change.

Septime
80, rue de Charonne (11th)
Tél: 01 43 67 38 29

Music to eat by: June Hymn [The Decemberists // The King is Dead]

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