BUZZ: Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx & Pottoka

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BUZZ: Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx & Pottoka
Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, Mandarin Oriental, Paris 1st Sur Mesure is the culinary cocoon of the year. Minimal white décor for the 40-seater space, by architects Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, is the perfect backdrop for the techno-émotionnelle cuisine presented by Matrix man, Thierry Marx. Have a drink in Bar 8, or in the garden, then pass through the heavy glass doors into a strange universe like no other. Guests already installed smile. What? Unusual for Paris, but here you’re part of an exclusive club, you may have met at Château Cordeillan-Bages, Marx’s former 2-star address, whatever, you’re A-list, darling. Marx pops out of the kitchen to greet, suggests a glass of champagne, and there’s celeb sommelier David Biraud, you know, from Le Crillon, Meilleur Sommelier de France 2002 and Finalist, 2010 du Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde. You’ll discover a somewhat conservative wine book, with separate leather-bound tome, written by Le Matrix, describing the vineyards. The equivalent to a coffee table book, great conversation piece if you’re on a first date; and there are those tricky moments when chit-chat goes AWOL. The tables are fairly low so when the tall guy comes to ask if you want eleven dishes or five, you could be forgiven for feeling a tad intimidated, like, honey I’ve shrunk. Get over it and order the eleven, you only live once. Skimp on the wine if you must, order a carafe of water instead of mineral. I found a pleasant red Bio 100% Carignan 2008 Vin de Pays de l’Hérault “Le Pigeonnier” 55€ and a white Montlouis sur Loire Clos de Breuil at 45€. By this time you’ll be thinking, what the hell, might as well impress the Berlutis at the next table, so the Burgundy, Mazis Chambertin AOC Chapelle Chambertin will do the trick at 2,500€. Then there’s a bit of a wait, no bread, a few minimal tuiles that taste like a spaceman’s lunch. The wine arrives, the water . . . so where’s the beef? You look at the Berlutis, they look at you, raise their eyebrows. Hunger and expectation are as sharp as a Laguiole knife. Finally, the first course arrives, and it’s a minimal Betterave structure et déstructure, still no bread, a little disappointing. However, when Oeuf éclaté arrives you blink at a work of art, variations on a theme of egg, the white reworked to form a jelly disc which covers the yolk (see photo). Some of the peas are not peas but are reconstructed, it’s what Matisse would paint if he were alive today. Now we’re on the road to the stars. And when bread arrives, it’s a rectangle of spelt and grain, almost honey cake, not as sweet. Semi-Pris de coquillages, longuet Caviar d’Aquitaine, with a fragrant spuma of coquillages, is a play on textures, probably created in the FoodLab by Le Matrix. Excellent chestnut bread. Langoustine, melon rôti sans cuisson, is a delicious enigma. This is followed by Le Matrix’s signature Risotto de Soja. He says soja’s his favourite ingredient because it lends itself to any dish, Oriental or Occidental. And he’s right: it’s divine, feather light, topped with shaved truffles, a finger of truffle oil, and zero calories. Next foie gras, pêche, verveine, then Sole, pamplemousse-gingembre, riz soufflé.100% Sarrasin bread, just from the oven. The main could be either Volaille de Bresse en deux cuissons, amandes et girolles or Agneau, olives noires, coeur de tomate. Or it may be beef, Matrix style, according to  market and season. Dessert (sugarless) is in three services: Sweet Bento, a triple stacked white ceramic tower of micro fruit tarts, mini cherry biscuits and tiny chocolate cubes. L’Ylang-ylang is frozen meringue quenelle on a bed of lemon-spiked guacamole; and Mister Green Tea’s mousse of thé matcha topped with sorbet citron yuzu. In the garden, green tea and petit fours. Is it worth it? You bet. Sic Itur Ad Astra (thus the way to the stars) Sur Mesure by Thierry Marx Mandarin Oriental, Paris Tél: 01 70 98 73 00 251, rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 1st Métro: Tuileries, Concorde Open: Lunch Tuesday-Saturday 12-2pm; Dinner Tuesday-Saturday 7:30-9:30pm. Closed Sundays & Mondays. Lunch 11 dishes 180€ 5 dishes 75€ + wine Dinner: 145-180€ + wine Pottoka, Paris 7th With the delicious success of their Left Bank Fables de la Fontaine, and a Michelin star under their toques, Sébastien Gravé and David Bottreau just opened Pottoka (“my wild little pony,” loosely translated from the Basque) and it’s already playing to packed houses. Located in the former Petit Bosquet, the dynamic duo have created a rugby-chic theme. High stools, a bar, trophies and memorabilia on the walls, banquettes seating about 45. Accents are on the cuisine of the Southwest, where chef Gravé hails from. There’s a menu and blackboard suggestions for market specials such as, for the first, cèpes, simply flash-fried, tender and delicious. The difference between the two bistrots is Fables showcases fish cooked in a neo-Basque style and Pottoka, meat. From at least eight starters choose Le Cochon Ibaïona and Le Cochon Ibérique, rugby man-sized portions served on…
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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend It.com, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !