When in France, or particularly Paris, you can never miss up the chance to have authentic French Cuisine! Especially in France, the country with the most 3 Star Michelin Restaurant in the world after Japan! I always take the opportunity to find and dine at Michelin Restaurant when I am overseas, since I always find it to be much more worth it than having it in Singapore. It is much cheaper. A rule of thumb, go for the lunch and it will allow you to experience at a fraction of the price. This time around I choose to have my fairytale like French Food at Astrance. The chef is Pascal Barbot. Astrance is also constantly ranked by S Pellegrino as one of the 50 best restaurants in the world. Reservations are compulsory, after all there are only 25 seats here. There would be a credit card hold as well and I made a reservation 2 months in advance.
Astrance is located on the banks of the Seine, just a stone throw away from the Eiffel Tower as well as the Pont de Hakeim which makes it perfect for a little excursion before and after lunch. Despite being such a highly raved after you will never expect to find the restaurant on a little hidden street away from the crowd. The exterior is also very underwhelming. You will definitely miss it if you do not pay attention.
Once after you enter speaks a totally different story. The host immediately help us with the door as we approach and we were given a warm welcomed. Out reservation was confirmed and we are ushered to our table. We got the best table in the whole place. The restaurant is located in a typical paris buildings and which come with high ceilings. Kind of like a loft style with a tiny second level up a spiral staircase with two tables up there and we took one of them. Water and a hot towel is immediately offered which is really attentive, especially in the peak of summer.
We are first being served with the amuse bouche by the host which are some gorgeous flower tart, I really have no idea what they are but it is rather good and delicious. It is not just a dish but an art as well. Look at how gorgeous they are! Besides that we also got some handmade waffles with apple compote in the middle. They were really thin and just melts in your mouth! Yummy and really open up your appetite.
There were less than 10 tables, most of them being filled up. We are also provided a “Menu” which shows us the options. Astrance do not provide a menu at all which might hinders my ability to share on the dishes later on. Every course is up to the chef discretion and based on what is good in the market everyday. You simply just choose options for 3, 5 or 7 courses. They cost 95, 170 and 250 Euros respectively. I will recommend the 3 course one for lunch. For the rest you should come for dinner since you are already paying that much! The staff also ask for our dietary requirements as well and allergens to avoid. I took the opportunity to get some photos!
I really love our table on the second floor since it is really private. Do request for it if you are able to. We were constantly left alone and when we need anything the staff will always turn up just as we need them. Furthermore, for all the courses, everyone in our dining company is always served all together and then one of them will elaborate on the dish in details. These are all the little things that shows why they deserved to be one of the best.
First up was the starter which is housemade burrata cheese filled with pine nuts. It is super tender and fresh and served with a drizzle of olive oil. The filling also consists of tomatoes as well as basil. super refreshing and light. I really love the pine nuts inside which is crispy and elevates the texture of the whole dish. Delicious! Plating is on point as well, look at how pretty the dish is with even some edible flowers on it.
It is kind of weird that bread is served after the starter. The bread serving is kind of disappointing and in fact the most disappointing aspect of the meal. For something this simple, they lack the focus on it. Only simple sliced baguette is offered. Well it is airy and warm, perfect great baguette, but I expect more from a 3 star establishment. There is also just a normal butter spread and nothing mind blowing. I’m actually loving this surprise menu thinggi, where you are constantly expecting what is coming next.
For the first main, we got a Tuna Confit served with a miso soya reduction as well as a side of japanese rice. Apparently the rice is from a particular region in Japan although I clearly forget where it is. The Tuna that is served is also just meat from the area surrounding the eye of the fish. Looking at the size of the steak, it makes me wonder how big the fish is! It is said that the meat here is the most tender part of the fish. I love how the chef incorporate French cooking methods with Asians ingredients and flavours. What a nice fusion. the fish was absolutely tender and well seasoned. It just melts in your mouth. The sauce is a little too salty but goes so well with the rice. Love the sauce. I definitely wipe the creamy sauce off. Perhaps with the use of soy, it is more asian and very suiting to my taste. What a great toro. Yums!
The second main that we got was duck. There is two parts to the dish, first up is a Seared Duck Breast with cherries as well as peppers. There is also some beans served alongside. The dish was well executed with the skin being well seasoned and crispy and the meat tender with a hint of pink in the middle. Apparently the peppers are well known as well. The second part is a side of Duck Legs Confit was well as Duck Fat Potatoes and Foie Gras Toast. A classic french dish! Everything was delicious and awesome, the duck leg confit skin is also not crispy enough. And the toast seems out of the blue. Overall it does not look very cohesive.
While it says to be 3 course, it always seem to be more than that. The Amuse Bouche as well as the dessert is not counted. Well, 3 course refers to the starter and the two mains. Approaching the end of the meal we were served a Chilli Pepper, Ginger Sorbet Palate Cleanser. Which certainly did it work. It also awake us straight to the point! Woots!
Dessert is a classic french tart served with a side of frozen yogurt. It was alright, perhaps the other low point of the whole meal. However I was really amazed by the flavour of the tart as well as how light the fresh cream is. I always thought it was unripe apple or some tart granny smith used here but after enquiring with the host, it turn out to be rhubarb! What a nice surprise!
Petit Four end of the meal as would any fine dining. Astrance does served up a very generous serving and we are all super full. First up was their speciality, the signature Jasmine Eggnog which was served in the shells itself. It is super pretty and delicious. Then we also have some Madeleines, so french! Lastly, as per the norm of Astrance we have some cut fruits consisting of Cherries, Strawberries as well as Apricots. They were super sweet and I love these yellow pink cherries which is my first time having it!
Overall, it is a well balanced meal and we left satisfied. It is such a great French dining experience. The whole meal took about 2 hours. 3 course is definitely good enough for me, although it is said to be 3, with the amuse bouche and dessert as well as petit fours, there are 6 course! That is a lot of food. I would say that the service is not as attentive as my previous experience. For example they only come over to clean the table after all 3 course instead of after every course. Perhaps it’s the French pride, service isn’t very good, they are a little snobbish as well. I would still definitely recommend to come and try if you are looking for French cuisine in Paris. 100 Euros each for a 3 star experience is hard to beat, furthermore in Paris!