The World Cup celebrations may have stolen the show on my recent trip to Paris, but a quiet Sunday lunch in St Germain with an old friend was an equally memorable affair. She took me to Le Bar des Prés on Rue du Dragon and demonstrated that she knows my taste down to a tee. This bijou spot is everything that I love: healthy and inventive food fusing Asian and French cuisines in a delightedly spare and simply designed space (created by Studio KO of Chiltern Firehouse fame). Even the plates – black ceramic ware from Burgundy – were particularly pleasing.
The restaurant’s focal point is a smooth slab of Giallo Real marble that makes up the sushi bar, where we perched on coveted stools watching the chefs and bartender in action, while perusing the menu. At first glance I was somewhat dismayed by the limited options, but it turns out that the menu, like the space, is small but perfectly formed – all of chef Cyril Lignac’s flavour combinations satiate and sing.
We sampled sharing plates (from €22) of caramelised tomatoes with miso, avocado and coriander; and yellowtail marinated with citrus, cherries and sprigs of mint (€24). Craving “clean” food after a week of gluttony, we found that both the Red Label salmon sashimi (€20 for five pieces) with fresh root wasabi; and the Chu-Toro tuna seared and served with yuzu and sesame oil (€24) were perfectly light. I also loved the fresh, vibrant mix of ingredients, including peaches and elderberry in the Breton lobster salad (€30).
In case you think I am a serious glutton, I should point out that the dishes are small, so you’ll want approximately five to share between two people. And luckily we had room for dessert too, as this is a particular passion for Lignac, who learnt his trade from pastry chef Pierre Hermé. The yuzu sorbet with peaches, cherries and pomegranate seeds (€12) was deliciously light and refreshing. I’ll be back – in particular to sample the tempting cocktail menu.