Rather a strange name for a restaurant ‘H.Kitchen’. You might like to blame Hidenori Kitaguchi for that, but you’ll thank him for the rest – it’s been a while since we tasted or saw anything this interesting in Paris, a mix of the finest Japanese and French cuisine unlike anything you’ve eaten before.
Here’s our review.
And once inside, you’d be hard pressed to compliment the décor, with just two paintings on the walls and rather standard furniture. Perhaps the message is that we should be concentrating on the food?
For our visit one Tuesday evening during the school holidays, without even a hint of music playing in the place, it has to be said that the ambiance is so calm you would barely dare cough. H. Kitchen also sports those polystyrene ceiling tiles that remind one of rented student accommodation. Thankfully, the welcome is anything but cold – our waitress was adorable in a sort of reserved Japanese way, and the descriptions of the food on offer are enough to help you settle in and look forward to what is to come.
Rather than change entirely every season, the menu evolves slowly as time goes on, with certain dishes added or removed, no doubt leaving a core of favourites too good to miss. Each day also has a special first course and main dish.
We started with two first courses – salsifis au gratin, perfumes with tarragon and served with petals of botargo, and the daily special – macaroni with truffles.
It has to be said, presentation is superlative at H.Kitchen – the long salsifis ran the length of a giant plate and the ‘macaroni’ turned out to be one long tube curled round upon itself. Very clever and inventive! The salsifis was cooked perfectly (not too soft) and the botargo has an almost smoked taste to it. Oh, and the special herb on top (atsina – a sort of aniseed cress?)… Very special.
As for the macaroni, the cheese sauce was super salty without being fatty, and the fine slivers of black truffle gave off their trademark subtle smell and taste…
Together with our fine Côte du Rhône, we were already very much enjoying ourselves.
But that was just the beginning. For the main dish we chose pasta-style squid cooked in a curry sauce, and the fish of the day – brill with a citrus sauce – and both impressed.
The squid was so finely sliced that it really did have the appearance of small tagliatelles, with the allegory continued with a surprising accompaniment of parmesan cheese. Only the taste of curry was elusive.
The tender slab of fish arrived on a plate speckled with dozens of spots of balsamic vinegar and citrus sauce – spectacular! The mix of tangy sauce and neutral fish was extremely interesting.
We were also very glad to still have some room left for dessert.
The “Chocolat – parfait à notre façon” arrived as four elements – a small round chocolate biscuit, a small scoop of chocolate ice cream, a pot of semifreddo chocolate soup and the iced ‘parfait’ decorated with a sprinkling of something dark and mysterious (sesame perhaps?). All very good!
As for the blood orange with its biscuit, whipped cream, sorbet and jelly, the taste of citrus fruit was fairly discreet, but the cream was wonderful, not over sugary, and both the sorbet and jelly were very tangy indeed. Wow !
Each stage of the meal had us analysing the ingredients and combinations. Be prepared to be surprised by the tastes and presentation.
In fact, we were almost sad when it was time to finish things off with a coffee. Thank goodness it came with homemade marshmallow and green tea white chocolate cubes!
A special mention also has to go to out waitress, who giggled discreetly and made us feel very much at ease. For our next visit, we quite like the idea of the tasting menu – four compositions with cheese and a dessert for 54€ per person (for entire tables only). Can’t wait 🙂
H.Kitchen (here) is open Tuesday – Saturday from midday-2pm and from 7-10.15pm
Tel. +33 (01) 45 66 51 57
To check out all our photo of H.Kitchen, click here.