Au Passage

The Au Passage was born with the Boom of neo-bistros and Wine bars that invaded Paris from 2010 onwards. It soon gained the spotlight and in 2012 it was one of the favorites of the new Parisian cuisine, and even awarded as “Fooding d’Amour 2012”!

Destiny dictated that a space that so much reflects a new way of seeing the city ( away from the luxury and palaces, but always focused on the best French produce) should live of foreign chefs in the kitchen. From James Henry to Dave Harrison, or Shaun Kelly, or Edward Delling-Williams (who also worked at Euskalduna during dinner alongside Vasco Coelho Santos), and now, the spotlight is occupied by Luís Andrade, a Portuguese, a designer transformed into a cook by the Parisian life.

The restaurant was in our list of spaces to visit, and this time we had the perfect excuse!

The space reflects the bustle of the new a lively Paris, very different from the Belle Époque, for sure! The decoration, that could’ve come from any flea market, transports us to an environment so relaxed it is hard to distinguish between employees and guests during dinner.

It’s more likely to have dinner to the sound of Tupac or B.I.G. than to any calm ambiance music, dancing a bit while sharing the several dishes that make the menu and take a dip in the great selection of natural wines.

Dry sausage
The usual way of starting dinner around here. Excellent quality products, nicely accompanied by pickles and excellent bread, essential throughout dinner.

Oysters and passion fruit
Oysters of good size, dressed with a passion fruit ponzu. At first, it is weird but in the end surprising and the combo by Luís Andrade is well-accomplished.

Scallop and Kumquat
Despite the relaxed space, decoration, and prices, the cuisine flows in a different direction – with a lot of work, ideas, and rigor in the product selection. Scallops tartar, perfectly seasoned, with crunchy elements giving the right texture and a kumquat emulsion, an indication of the chef’s secret, the sauces.

Abalone, celery, and mushrooms 
The most Japanese touch of the menu, a delicious broth, enrichened by the mushrooms, sided by the freshness of the celery and the unique texture of the abalone. Very good!

Crayfish
Tagliatelle made in the restaurant, with an amazing sauce, full of flavor, with a perfectly cooked crayfish, better than some starred restaurants. One of the best seafood pasta dishes we ever tasted!

The standard was by then very high! In reality, we were like two kids wondering what more could come out of there when:

Sweetbreads, Spinach, and dates
A great, great dish! Very well-worked sweetbread with a delicious meat sauce, with capers butter. Soft spinach with a touch of almond flavor and texture, and an amazing date paste. By this time the bread did not survive all the sauces!

Pidgeon, shiitake, coffee, and Polenta 
Another dish of great technical accuracy, where less is clearly more! All perfectly cooked, with the pidgeon accompanied once again by another great sauce and a nice coffee polenta.

Belém tart and Chocolate
Two very different desserts, one like a memory of home for the chef, who took the recipe of the classic Gâteau Breton and filled it with a similar cream to our famous Portuguese pastry. The chocolate, as the name indicates, was really that, different techniques and textures of chocolate, presented in one dish, where the spotlight clearly belongs to the mousse.

Both desserts gave us a more than happy ending!

About the service, it is important to remember the previously made comment about being difficult to distinguish between staff and guests, in this case proving the diligence and camouflage the staff has.

Final Remarks
To those who live restaurants as I do, there’s hardly anything better than being surprised by one, being “wowed” by each dish, while rolling our eyes and licking our lips! When a space like Au Passage, with menus written in slate, uninteresting glasses and a mix and match decoration, surprises us like this, it’s total happiness! Looking at the menu and its prices we are far from guessing the work behind each dish, it would be easier to unfreeze and use the microwave, but no, it wouldn’t be as fun! (they must think!), and they start prepping the dishes in the morning (the restaurant only opens from 19h to 01h30).

It’s a breath of fresh air to find people willing to work to the rhythm of the seasons, with daily changing menus, not overcharging the clients, because quality, pattern, and accuracy they have!

A restaurant to go to, to return to, and repeat without excuses.

 

Au Passage
Prices from 35€ (without wine)
1 bis, Passage Saint-Sébastien – Paris
+33 (0) 1 43 55 07 52
baraupassage@gmail.com

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

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