David Toutain

David Toutain
Country: France
City: 75007 París
Address: 29 Rue Surcouf
Closed: Sundays, Mondays, from mid-July to mid-August.
Price: 70/200 €
Tasting menu:: 42, 68, 98 y 158 €

In thirty years of critics and visits to restaurants all over the world, we had never seen anything like this. The fact of opening a tiny bar –because this is a bar, actually, as the kitchen and the bar, which is an extension of the former, make a whole– in which around twenty people eat on stools, squeezed up, shoulder to shoulder, in an extremely informal way, and getting 9/10 is a real exploit. Ladies and gentlemen, we are before a French number one! Since Pascal Barbot showed up, this had never happened. Let’s repeat it loud and clear: 30-year-old David Toutain, chief cook for three years in Arpège’s as well as in Marc Veyrat’s, is making history.
Young, informal, direct, … third millennium cuisine. His stay at Passard’s and Veyrat’s have allowed him to increase his culture, to refine his technique and to arouse his passion for vegetables and aromas. This green futurist cuisine moves away from the existing references. Every proposal –every meal consists of 12-14 dishes, depending on the day– rimes with surprising originality and virtuosity. The combination between the naturalism of the very varied dishes and the avant-garde techniques, always subject to the purity of the products, is frankly remarkable. Most ingredients are unknown by the guest, especially plants, herbs and flowers, whose perfumes are used in a magical way. The chef’s message is clearly destined to very open minds and palates, rather than to greedy guests. Not for big eaters.
If –as we mentioned before– his work is distinguished by nature, it is also characterized by the naturality the dishes are built with. David has an innate gift for creation that he transmits through every dish. He is a creator, a GENIUS. Un genius who doesn’t look for art, because he has got it inside and doesn’t need to show it; he just expresses it with an amazing simplicity. As far as we know, such a grand cuisine had never aroused so little pretentiousness. It doesn’t exist.
The guest stares open-mouthed at the frozen powder of wild watercress served with seafood consommé. The same sea and green trend is followed by the crab accompanied with cucumber and pistachios. The chef’s style is reflected through every single construction, such as the razor shell garnished with Swiss chard, chicory and blue cheese emulsion. His culinary concept and motivations are expressed by the abalone with green asparagus and two purées: onion and bitter orange. The Jerusalem artichoke presented with shallots and hazelnuts rimes with passion for vegetables and clear counterpoints, perfectly harmonized. You can also discover absolutely groundbreaking tastes, like the egg cooked at low heat with sweetcorn cream and cumin. The sea urchins with coffee sauce are really electrifying: don’t miss this tasty shock! The creamy potato gnocchi with potato skin consommé and foie gras is synonymous with absolute delicacy. The show goes on with little time to relax: there goes the squid with bear’s garlic and its purée
“Red mullet, artichoke and Melilo”: the first is cooked at low temperature, the second is baked and seasoned with the third and garnished with a microscopic brunoise of belly pork, tomato and red pepper, and a slight seasoning.
And the roasted veal with apple and peanut emulsion is simply perfect.
“Pork and aubergine”: belly pork with aubergine cream and slices of black meringue made with burnt flour. And what can we say about the roasted pigeon with baby sweet corn, sweet corn purée, slices of red onion and cumin/caraway sauce. This is not a kind of cuisine you can describe with words. Sensations are impossible to imagine, here. You must just live them and then, although you might not be able to analyse them, admire them if you are a real gourmet. This restaurant really involves the guest.