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Terroirs de Chefs

L’Agapé Substance

A star is born

Have you been to Agapé yet? Perhaps, but I bet you haven’t been to it’s new little sister, Agapé Substance.  

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Just like all little sisters, Agapé Substance is her own person.  The restaurant is situated on the Left Bank at 66 rue Mazarine, where Laurent Lapaire has renovated the premises of the former ‘Don Carlo’ cabaret, well known to Saint Germain denizens. 

Interior decorator Zette Cazalas, better known for her museum design, has opted for a minimalistic style and you will find yourselves perched on Knoll stools designed by Mies van de Rohe in 1958, specially reedited for the occasion.

Chef David Toutain cut his teeth with two masters in particular;  Alain Passard, guru of vegetables, and Marc Veyrat, wizard of mountain herbs.  Toutain’s resulting cuisine is full of subtleties and new flavours.  The voyage begins at a glass counter in open space with the kitchen where the dishes unfurl one after the other, carrying you off in a heady whirl of taste and discovery.

Sublime crab, with shrimp and carrot consommé and grapefruit accompaniment, decorated with a leaf that tastes astonishingly like oyster.

Then egg, with a cream of new garlic and touches of fresh almond, verbena. Followed by monkfish, accompanied by Tonka bean perfumed spelt risotto and meadowsweet emulsion.  And how to describe the pork spareribs accompanied by pan-fried young leek and an eggplant purée to die for?

The desserts are just as delicate with an avocado ice cream, a pistachio, cherry and hibiscus financier cake and an all-chocolate platter of finely worked textures to finish with.

Agapé Substance is also a true gourmet adventure with you in the driving seat, for, apart from the menu, there is also a selection of seasonal produce that you can choose from and mix as you please.

Laurent Lapaire, founder of the three Agapé restaurants, has paid close attention to the wine list and the emphasis is on ‘natural’ wines.

Should you try it?  I say hurry there, and request table 00 for two people.  It’s the VIP table, so you’ll be in the front row for admiring the action in the kitchen.

Sophie le Menestrel

Terroirs de Chefs 

L'Agapé Substance 

66, rue Mazarine. Paris 6e. M° : Odéon.

Tel. 01 43 29 33 83.

Closed sunday, monday.

Menus : 39, 51, 65 (lunch), 51, 78, 99 ( dîner.) €.