Sunday, December 15, 2013

Le BAT, Yariv Berrebi's new Bar a Tapas et Tartares, Paris

One of the more surprising eateries to open up in recent months is this modern spot serving small dishes in a bar space around an open kitchen, wedged somewhere between the Hard Rock Café and Indiana Café (worst "Tex Mex" in Paris). An ovni (UFO) as the French food press would call it, this bar a tapas et tartares has young Israeli chef Yariv Berrebi (formerly of Kitchen Galerie bis) behind the counter live cooking excellent quality produce to crowds of businessmen (lunch), theatergoers (they are open until 11pm weekdays and midnight on Saturdays) and clued up foodies. Prices are reasonable, and although the cooking is (justifiably) a bit less asian fusion than before, Berrebi is an interesting chef to watch out for (although his rapid departure from ZKG was a bit of a shock for some). The 24€ three course menu is a steal.

Heirloom tomato salad

Galician beef, smoked potatoes 

Monday, December 09, 2013

Czech, please: drunch at Sansho, Prague

Prague is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but, excepting high end French gastronomy clones and beer halls purveying hearty fare, it has never really had much to draw gastrotourists to its regal streets. But a few addresses are changing the way people think about the Czech capital, and at the forefront is undoubtedly Sansho.

Founded by Brit chef Paul Day, Sansho, a modern little table replete with local media types and Brooklynesque tattooed and bearded servers, is making waves. Day, who apprenticed as a butcher at the age of 13, then who worked for three years at a Chinese butchers, went on to be number two at Nobu London followed by a stint at Nahm, (the first Thai restaurant in the world to gain a Michelin star) with David Thompson, and on to open a private club (failed) in Prague. This failure resulted in him opening his own place.

Thompson's skills in butchering, wok'ing, and roasting, love of and insistent use of local ingredients, and repertoire of South Asian recipes make Sansho an exciting table, especially in the staid, traditional Czech capital. Star dishes such as spider crab sliders with wasabi mayo, tea smoked trout with green  mango, and pork belly (from rare breed Prestik pig) with watermelon are, as Day says, "updating the Czech palate".