The intimate restaurant Clover Saint-Germain, with cuisine by Michelin-starred chef Jean-François Piège, only has space for about twenty diners. It’s so small that the kitchen is actually in the restaurant next to your table!
With a new name (Clover Green) and concept (vegetarian and low on fat, in line with the chef’s latest book Zéro Gras), we went down to see how meatless food and French cuisine could possibly coexist…
Clover Green is hidden down a small backstreet in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, not far from our hotels, with interior design by architect Charlotte Biltgen and an open kitchen that couldn’t be more open if it tried – here, the chefs are bustling just next to you (and visibly enjoying it too, it seems). Feel free to watch them work their magic.
The restaurant, gives you the choice between à la carte or a fixed-price tasting menu (68€ for four dishes and a dessert), and the wine menu starts at 40€ (and goes up to 700€ !). Be prepared – a meal with dessert and some wine will probably cost around 100€ per person. That’s the sort of price point that would make a lot of people think twice.
We were warmly welcomed after a slight misunderstanding about the time of our booking. We’d reserved our table online for 7pm, and when the confirmation was sent back sneakily marked 7.30pm, we didn’t even notice (the change wasn’t mentioned).
We decided tthat one of us would eat à la carte and the other would try the tasting menu. The evening of our visit, this included:
– Thinly-sliced aubergines, feta, olives
– Heirloom tomato juice, fresh almonds, celery, mustard
– Auberging ravioli, grilled aubergine water, sumac, capers, rocket
– Vegetable feuilleté, ‘financière’ vegetable sauce, beaufort cheese quenelles
– Epicea creme brulee, strawberry juice
It’s difficult not to be impressed by such a high level of creativity, with such inventive dishes composed and presented with incredible care.
The aubergine was presented like a salad, light, with a good mix of tastes. The tomato juice had a surpising collection of unusual ingredients, including a celery sorbet that served as a good foil for the acidic taste of the tomatoes.
The aubergine ravioli didn’t disappoint either, once again beautifully served (with a touch of cranberries?), and the vegetable feuilleté was spectacular, like a sculpture on the plate that allowed each element to express its taste.
The second diner also chose the ravioli to start, follwoed by cod with new potatoes.
The fish was crowned with pine nuts and a great success (as it should be at 28€), with both soft fish and perfectly cooked fresh vegetables.
It would have been possible to finish our meal without tasting the desserts (14€), and to accompany the creme brulée, we chose an iced vacherin, ice cream surround by meringue, accompagnied by blackberries.
What a success! Handsome to look at and such great tastes – one of the best desserts we’ve had for a while, perhaps ever! It was definitely the most expensive…
As for the creme brulée, it was generously served and as delicious as it looked.
To finish off, we ordered expresso coffees which arrived wit a warm cookie, as if it had just come from the oven. A very nice touch.
So, Clover Green is delicious, but expensive. The intimate atmposphere and very special food will make it worthwhile for those willing to spend such an amount on a meal. To lower the price a little, why not try going for lunch, where the three-course tasting menu is at 44€?
We felt that the mix of french gastronomy and fat-free vegetarian food was rather a success, with the absence of meat pushing the chef to be even more inventive. For a special out-of-the-ordinary meal, this could well be the place to go.
The Clover Green restaurant (here) is open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner
Tel. +33 (0)1 75 50 00 05
Online booking, maximum two weeks in advance: here
To check out all our photos of Clover Green, click here.
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