The popularity of bistronomy has brought new life to gastronomy. This trend was launched at the beginning of the 1990s by chef Yves Camdeborde, who wanted to make haute cuisine more accessible by bringing bistro culture and gastronomy together.
This style of cooking has been named ‘bistronomy’ (a contraction of ‘bistro’ and ‘gastronomy’) – a neologism created by the journalist and food critic Sébastien Demorand in 2004. The trend has caught on with a whole new generation of talented young chefs.
The recipe? The ingredients are simple: you just take traditional specialities, add a love of good produce, an artist’s vision, and sprinkle it with creativity, which the eastern part of Paris certainly seems to be a favoured spot for.
The most talked-about bistronomy place in town right now is Le Chateaubriand, which features in British food magazine Restaurant’s list of the Top 100 restaurants in the world. The chef here Iñaki Aizpitarte is of Basque origins, a real mentor for a whole generation of cooks. Get ready for a feast of surprising and delightful flavours and textures for the eyes and taste buds, beautifully presented. To book a table, you have to be patient. If you do not wish to wait, you can also enjoy the cooking of this much in-vogue chef at the Dauphin, the offspring of the Chateaubriand, situated a few metres away. Bistronomy-priced cooking with a touch of the artistry of chef Aizpitarte to boot.
Not far from the Gare de l’Est, Albion combines French and English cooking. Under the supervision of talented British chef Matthew Ong, this restaurant in the 10th arrondissement revisits bistro fare with flair and style. And the icing on the cake, a fine wine list selected by Kiwi sommelier Hayden Clout, also the proprietor of the restaurant. A talented duo that flies the flag for French gastronomy.
Still in the 10th, Porte 12 is housed in a former couture and lingerie workshop. In the kitchen, the chef Vincent Crépel, from the Basque Country, serves cuisine that has a compelling individual style.
In the neighbouring arrondissement, rue Saint-Maur, Le Servan, run by sisters Katia and Tatiana Levha (Tatiana has worked at L’Arpège and L’Astrance), serves French food with a foreign twist. On the menu: nice traditional dishes with occasional Asian influences.
Japanese chefs and french cuisine
A veritable phenonemon in the world of gastronomy, Japanese chefs adopt and enhance French cuisine to perfection.
Like at Abri, a pocket-sized restaurant, where the chef Katsuaki Okiyama, (whose CV already includes Robuchon, Taillevent and L’Agapé), offers upscale gastronomy. On Monday and Saturday, the legendary sandwich tonkatsu is a big hit: a snack version of a typical Japanese dish of crusty breaded and fried pork.
At Le Grand 8 another talented Japanese chef of note is Masahide Ikuta. On the menu here, seasonal ingredients and a presentation inspired by nature.
In the 11th arrondissement, another great address is the much talked about Clown Bar, housed in the former watering hole of the Cirque d’hiver. In the kitchens, the Japanese chef Atsumi Sota presides over the cooking and offers a menu that cleverly reinvents bistro-style cuisine. The listed decor, on the theme of circus clowns, also makes it worth a visit.
A different menu every day
Why not astonish your taste buds with a surprise menu. In Paris, this trend is all the rage in many new bistros.
Pierre Sang, a young chef frequently in the news, has opened not one but three places. His first restaurant, Pierre Sang in Oberkampf, serves up a surprise menu – a different one each day – comprising six mystery dishes with a French-Korean twist. It is up to you to guess the ingredients! And if you can’t, no matter, all will be revealed after your meal. A real culinary experience.