Conveniently located in the heart of the city, just off the bottom of the Avenue de L’Opéra and not far from the Louvre, this new shop-front restaurant has a modish and rather chilly décor that might lead you to conclude this place is more about style than good food. But it’s not.
First of all, the warm and professional service creates a welcoming atmosphere as soon as you step in the door. Then chef Clément Vergeat is a talented and original chef whose cooking spins on a modern axis of seasonal local produce, zero waste in the kitchen, fermentation, clever juxtapositions of flavours and textures and a belief that good food should also be healthy and nutritious. His short menu – three starters, three mains and three desserts – evolves constantly to follow the markets and allows Vergeat to present his very latest creations.
Although we love to cook, I have to confess that this year more than in a very long time, it’s a huge pleasure to dine out after non-stop meal planning and cooking during lockdown. Our starters reminded us of our limitations in the kitchen, too, since even at my best, I’d never have come up with compositions as unusual and deeply satisfying as our starters – oysters topped with burrata, basil and pungent wood sorrel and a deep-fried artichoke with crabmeat and Kalamata olives in a pool of deeply flavoured shellfish bouillon.
The marriage of the shellfish with the Italian cheese was a tone-on-tone study in lactic taste, punctuated by sprightly herbs, while the artichoke and olives played off a primal spectrum of tastes from the sea.
Beautifully pan-roasted free-range chicken came with a flattering dark green condiment of seaweed and was garnished with green onions and new potatoes to create another yin-and-yang meeting of earth and ocean. Pan-roasted cod with sautéed mushrooms and garnishes of oyster leaf, a succulent with a startling taste of oysters, and tonka bean was cool-operator elegant and sophisticated, to boot.
Desserts were excellent and inventive, too, including an iced parfait with marigold essence, grapes and hazelnuts and a roasted fig with a spiced meringue and goat’s milk. Ideal for a tête-à-tête or a meal on your own, Tamara is a memorably creative restaurant showcasing the impressive talent of a very interesting young chef.
15 rue de Richelieu, 1st arrondissement.
Tel. (33) 01-71-60-91-30
From France Today magazine
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