Chef Clément Leroy, Savoy’s right-hand man, runs the kitchen at Étoile-sur-Mer, and the culinary master’s favourite interior-architect, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, designed a subtle and sophisticated décor for the restaurant, with low lighting, sea-foam-coloured tables without cloths and bisque porcelain dishes which resemble sea shells.
There’s something politely sultry about this place, which makes it a very adult restaurant, or a place that works as well for a business lunch as it does for an evening tête-à-tête.
Leroy’s cooking is superb, too. Start with his wonderfully autumnal oyster pot-au-feu – a giant huître in a pool of warm beef bouillon with the same vegetables you would normally find in this dish, including turnips, carrots and leeks. Or maybe try the succulent cuttlefish and octopus with artichokes and Mediterranean seasonings, including – I think – a dusting of pimenton, or smoked Spanish paprika.
The main courses include turbot steak with kohlrabi and shellfish in a delicate green-curry infused sauce, and a ‘catch of the day’, perhaps brill, cooked in salt steam and served with seasonal vegetables.
The not-to-miss dessert is the flaky brioche with candied fruit and a garnish of ice cream or a sorbet of your choice, and service is precise and gracious but pleasantly relaxed.
Étoile-sur-Mer, 18 rue Troyon, Paris 17th. Tel: +33 1 53 81 72 50. Open daily for lunch & dinner, closed Sundays. Prix-fixe menus: Lunch €42 & €58, ‘Rive Gauche’ €88, ‘Nouvelle Vague’ €138. Average à la carte €150. www.etoile-sur-mer.com
From France Today magazine