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Quinsou in Paris - 1 Michelin star

Rating: 89.
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Quinsou has been on the Paris food scene since the end of 2016, but chef/owner Antonin Bonnet is not exactly a new kid in town and has already made a name for himself during his years (2012-2015) as head chef at Le Sergent Recruteur in Paris' 4th arrondissement (then 1 Michelin star, awarded within 5 months after opening). Before relocating to Paris in 2012, Antonin Bonnet was head chef at The Greenhouse in London. I remember having an excellent meal at Le Sergent Recruteur in 2013 (see my review), so I was keen to check out his new place.

Quinsou is a easy-going, small bistro that offers a daily changing menu priced at €35 for 3 courses at lunchtime and at €48 for 4 courses at dinner, and there's a menu 'Découverte' with a choice of 5 courses from the set menu (€48 at lunchtime, €65 at dinner). The menu also features a small selection of pre-starters priced between €6 and €18. I had lunch with my husband at Quinsou in February 2018 and we both ordered the menu 'Découverte', including cheese and two pre-starters to share.

We started with two superb oysters (No 2 from Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue), elegantly seasoned with dashi and a touch of soy sauce, followed by a gorgeous Croque Monsieur laced with thinly sliced black truffle. A lovely start of this meal.

First course of the lunch menu was an elegant dish of various types of carrots (slow-cooked overnight) with pickled rose petals, fresh orange, a single date, pickles, nasturtium leaves, and coriander cress. The slow-cooking had made the carrots deliciously sweet and tender, the date enhancing their natural sugariness even further, and the fresh orange and pickles brought freshness and acidity for balance. A well-executed dish, striking the right balance between intensity and lightness. 

Even better was the next course of Scottish langoustine, cooked to firm and juicy perfection, and wonderfully paired with a lightly smoked celeriac puree, wilted buttered spinach, roasted onion petals, a fantastic veloute of leek, spinach and sake kasu (a yeast by-product of sake making), and some crisp toast for texture. A lovely combination of rich and smooth flavours, the sake kasu adding a funkiness to the dish. *this dish had a supplement of €15.

Third course was 'Dentelles' (lace) pasta sheets (from Cucugnan in the south of France) complemented by a creamy Vin Jaune sauce, a mixed herb puree, and some sliced black truffle (supplement of €30). A harmonious flavour marriage, the herb puree offering balance and thereby making it a very digestible plate of food. Best of all was the sauce, which had been seasoned with 'Vacche Rosse' Parmesan cheese, giving the sauce depth and a lovely nutty finish. 

The meat course today was pork, simply served with an incredibly smooth and creamy mixed root vegetable puree, a tamarind and prune puree, some wilted chard stem, and a lovely pork jus. Beautifully cooked pork, and with a magnificent layer of fat, as it should be, and the pork and the tamarind and prune puree worked together perfectly. I loved everything on this plate. 

Cheese course: 18 month old summer Gruyère served with apple "ketchup".

Last course was a perfect, light and elegant, dessert of spiced 'Akanne' apple confit with apple sorbet, walnut crumble, little walnut "nuggets", and semi-dried apple slices. 

Quinsou is more casual in style than Bonnet's previous restaurant Le Sergent Recruteur, but it ticked all the right boxes for me, and for some reason it feels that Quinsou and Bonnet are a better fit. The service was low-key but professional, there's an interesting and well-priced wine list, and the cooking is accomplished with well-judged flavours and creative twists, but not gussied up. And it goes without saying that the ingredients were top-notch; Bonnet goes to great lengths to find the best possible produce. A refreshingly non-hipster, neo bistro, that simply does everything very well. Michelin France is on board too, because shortly after my visit Quinsou was awarded a Michelin star.

33 Rue de l'Abbé Grégoire, Paris, France

Posted 20-04-2018


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