ZE KITCHEN GALERIE, Paris
Just a few steps back from the Seine, opposite the Ile de la Cité, Ze Kitchen Galerie is new and very trendy, serving modern fusion food in the fashionable 6th arrondissement. Add the jokey name, the decorator decor and tableware, and it promises to be all show and no substance. Well, that was the opinion I formed before I even opened the door. How nice to be so wrong. The welcome was warm, the chairs were comfortable and the food was very good. Unusual combinations of fresh ingredients worked, the cooking was careful and the food looked pretty on the plate. Ze kitchen was indeed a gallery - the chefs work in a glassed-in box in the corner of the dining room.
Ze Galerie has no set menu, just dishes to order from the carte. We decided that two courses would probably do and I was delighted to see zucchini flowers in the list of main courses. They were stuffed with minced chicken and finished with a galangal sabayon. (Galangal is a ginger-like root, used in South-East Asia.) The result was beautifully subtle, miles from sad mis-matches that are sometimes palmed off as “fusion food” nearer home.
Robert had veal sweetbreads with green beans, peppers, and sundried tomatoes with a tamarind mousse - another clever and delicious assortment of flavours.
The puddings featured the same level of interesting combinations - particularly outstanding was the strawberry puree with pastis icecream and wasabi mousse - a high-risk mix of flavours in anyone’s language.
Trendy doesn’t have to mean vacuous and superficial, here it means intelligent and original flavours, good-looking food from the chefs in the box, and smooth and friendly service from the waiting staff. This old curmudgeon recommends it highly.
Ze Kitchen Galerie, 4 rue des Grands Augustines, Paris 6 - 2024 The restaurant is still going strong and Chef William Ledeuil continues to get great reviews.