Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Agape Substance, Paris

I-Ching and Monkey
as usual we were early for dinner, say 20 minutes early and restaurant won't seat you until your booking time...anyway the restaurant's opening time was 8pm. It's already Spring time in Europe and the Sun wouldn't set until it's 9.15pm. So we have longer days and plenty of lights up till late :))))

Tucked near the Odeon area, it wasn't difficult to find. Anyway if you know Paris well, most of the places isn't hard to find bcoz this metropolitan is divided into 20 arrondissements. I can live here but definitely not work here....hahaha.

But if given a choice to live in Europe I would choose Austria for its quality of life but not so much of food....Food it has got to be Spain, and to be precise Barcelona for its endless seafood and aged jamon iberico...but for wines, it has to be France. For shopping it must be Italy. and finally for Romance, it's Seville :)))). And if u love sailing and the sea, it must be Greece.

and so we deviated *again* from the main topic of this post....Agape Substance
both JS and Monkey were meant to make a visit here a few months ago but the reservations was horrendously full throughout our trip here last November. So this time around we managed to book it months in advance but sadly the previous chef left in December 2012, with almost his entire kitchen staffs.

Oh well, since we didn't try the creations from previous chef, we can't really do a comparison. But this is good, coz we went with an open mind.

Agape Substance has this format which I've alwiz alwiz wanted if we *EVER* gonna open a restaurant.....U EAT WAT I COOK

yup, there's nothing else u can order, there's no menu. U just go there, lay ur lazy bums on its tall stools and wait for yummy food to be presented. And that's exactly wat happened.

There's a some-sort of menu here but only the main ingredients are listed. You won't see a chronology of which to be served first and how it's being prepared.

JS ordering wines from the iPad wine list.
guess wines are the only thing u can "order" at this restaurant :))))
and water of coz....still water or with gas

One of the series of Amuse Bouche of crispy sheets made from pulp and juice of squash.

Agape Substance is the brainchild of Laurent Lapaire whom under his belt worked for so many top establishments. One of the most important one was with Alain Passard at L'Arpege. Remember the restaurant that served the WORLD'S BEST CHICKEN???
*read about it here*

without doubt, we soon realised the same format embarked here with display of squash and root vegetables on its table, just like at L'Arpege and also the creations of cuisines were concentrated highly on vegetables, herbs and beautiful fresh seasonal products.

another Amuse Bouche of fresh crunchy spring vegetables with goat cheese, some kombu were sprinkled on top. Give it some umami-ness.
Beautiful dish isn't it?
:)))))))))))) it's like whistling SPRING IS HERE!!!
I can almost hear the birds chirping.

Next was shallots/onions done 3 ways....
the ball pulp was caramelized, then the rings were deep fried onions, the tiny crispy stuffs were flakes of crunchy onions.
All these are still amuse bouche.
Pretty impressive huh?

JS ordered a bottle of champagne from a biodynamic maker Jacques Selosse
his champagnes the Substance and the Contraste were made using the Selora system, the same system used in sherry making.

Mr. Selosse is not only a winemaker but a grower. In french it's called Vigneron. Meaning all the grapes used in his winemaking were grown from his very own vineyard instead of buying from outside. This way you fully utilize and enhance the terroir that you have.

these days, we have abandoned big champagne makers and concentrate on biodynamic vignerons like this, especially after our educational visits to the region of Champagne 3 times in a row. I guess in life knowledge is power instead of branding. Oh damn I m working in the branding industry I shouldn't say this. *piak my mouth*

Next was a cream of celeriac with a lil surprise on the inside. I think it was seafood. The mash was really creamy with a layer of protein and olive oil underneath it.

Wow....the presentation was so immaculate and pretty.
Zucchini, fresh spring peas, asparagus, baby zucchini flowers with a tiny baby zucchini still attached to it, leeks....with some herbs on it. The dish was to be eaten with a light cheese mousse

Light cheese mousse
it's so light, u didn't know it's cheese hahahaha.
Chef is really good in pairing texture and taste. Kudos!!!!

Oh no...yummy warm bread...this is devil!!!!
with a contrasting butter served on its with seaweed and the other semi salted butter.
Breads were so yummy. Once u pop, u can never stop. Hence it's DEVIL!!!!

Fish with artichoke. I can't remember this dish well

a beautifully poached egg...this was definitely sous-vide.
Forgot to snap pic when I broke the yolk :)))))) but it's definitely a happy sight...hehehehehe

Japanese Sanma fish served with a warm hearty broth over fresh vegetables.
I lurve that lil green crunchy vegetables. It's sweet crunchy and fresh. Guess it's some shoots.

Morel mushrooms was prepared so well
Some simple pleasure :)))))))))))))

so u can see the influence of Alain Passard here? :))))
if u are not into fresh vege then this place isn't really you. If u are a type that must have MEAT in ur mouth then I will recommend another restaurant in another post. Definitely can eat MEAT till it comes out fr ur ear....heehehehehe

Scampi!!!!! I lurve scampis in anyway
all the vege were so pretty!!! and very very yummy too. What a sight on the palate :)))))

What I like most about this place is...everyone sits ala Chef's table format
u can watch the skillful team at work here :))))

By now we moved on to a red burgundy
JS really has eyes for all these rare gems in the wine list...this one was their last bottle

The pigeon was done pink!!!
perfect!!! moist and smooth and not too gamey

JS who's a no-poultry-no fowl- man had pork...or was it lamb??
I can't remember though coz he never share his food with me :(
Well when food is this good, no sharing please....hahahaha

Then came dessert our happiest moment
u can see there's lots of black specks aka Vanilla beans on the gelee sheets. A very refreshing dessert of grapefruits.

Another installment of's never ending huh?

these were so good....caramel pieces :))))))))))
melt in your mouth and your heart

Dinner is never complete without a lil cuppa of espresso

and a ciggie :))))))))

From this street u can see Pantheon Paris
the time when we arrived and when we departed....
cool eh?

This place is highly recommended for its finesse and execution. However reservation in advance is highly recommended. Lurve the creation and really really friendly and casual environment.

Agape Substance
66 Rue Mazarine,
75006 Paris, France.
Tel: +33 (0) 1432 9338

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