Chef William Pradeleix already has one Raw restaurant in the Marais, and recently opened a take-away next door to it.
Now he’s crossed the Seine and launched Raw St. Germain in a smallish but bright space. We were tempted by a special offer from culinary booking site The Fork to go down and see what a raw meal tastes like…
As part of the Fork Festival which lasts three months and offers huge reductions on some interesting restaurants, we decided to go and check out the latest addition to the Raw family – Raw Saint-Germain.
The restaurant has neutral, mostly white decor, a high ceiling and vast windows. There are only a couple of dozen seats, and we’re guessing that it’s busiest during the week, at lunchtime. The 20% reduction (available here) for certain Saturday night bookings makes us think that they need a little extra custom at the weekend (although we’re pretty sure that Sunday brunch is very, very busy).
Strangely, the restaurant doesn’t seem to have a website, or a Twitter account. Event their Facebook page has just two photos on it, posted in December 2018. Surely a better presence on social media would help attract people on a Saturday?
Anyway, on the night of our visit the place was pretty empty, despite the offer from The Fork (a tasting menu of five dishes for 36€, which is a real bargain). With just four diners, a tiny speaker playing music from a faraway corner, a sole waitress for the whole place and a single chef in the open kitchen (perhaps Pradeleix himself ?), it was lacking a little atmosphere.
We also didn’t adore the fake bricks painted white – isn’t that New York loft look a little past its expiration date? ☹️
Time to start our meal! We’d contacted the restaurant to say that we would need one vegetarian menu and one with fish, and they very kindly accommodated us, which we were extremely grateful for.
Our first dish was corn soup with a drizzle of oil on it, and it was absolutely delicious! Very flavoursome. Wow! 😃
Next there was a vegetable tartare (cucumber, red peppers, edamame, celery, perfectly ripe mango) with a distinct hint of garlic. Very well balanced.
The other dish was a Tahitian-style tuna tartare, very soft with a strong-tasting sauce that nonetheless didn’t overpower the fish. The coconut and lime sauce was also very creamy – a great mix.
As we finished, the third dish arrived, just twenty minutes after setting foot in the restaurant. The food was coming thick and fast, rather too fast. We were struggling to keep up!
One of the latest dishes had (delicious) mushrooms cut so thinly they were transparent, with truffle oil, radishes, pea sprouts and a sauce whose taste we couldn’t quite place. We’ve never seen vegetables sliced so thinly – it completely changes the taste. Excellent.
The other dish was a sea bream sashimi with super-thin (transparent) radish slices, fish eggs and a fruity kick from some pickled mango, balanced out by the white truffle and chive. Top marks for presentation too.
These two dishes came together with the third dish – an ‘accompaniment’ of crunchy fennel, Granny Smith apple cubes and a lemon vinaigrette. We found it way too copious and couldn’t finish it.
Before the last savoury dish in the menu, we had to ask for a few minutes respite to let everything go down.
At this point a table of seven people arrived, and it dawned on us why the chef had been sending out our dishes so quickly – serving seven people at the same time must be logistically challenging.
After a short break, our final savoury dishes arrive. The first was kale with mushroom slices and a peanut condiment (basically, what was listed on the menu as an ‘accompaniment’ on the menu, but in a larger portion). It was good, but there was quite a lot of it, and by this time we weren’t really hungry enough to finish it all.
The last fish dish was a salmon with edamame, which turned out to be both melty and crunchy. Another success!
It takes skill to give each dish its own character and mix of tastes, especially as these are unaltered by any cooking. Also, in raw dishes, all the vitamins and nutriments are left intact – tasty and healthy!
The last dish of our fixed menu is the dessert – caramelised figs with verbena mousse, crumble and honey ice cream.
This was simply stunning – beautiful to look at, crunchy, soft, creamy… A perfect end to the meal!
And of course, we had a little expresso coffee to finish. Because why not?
Every dish we had eaten was astonishing (apart from the ‘accompaniments’). Presentation is impeccable, the mix of tastes is extraordinary and there’s a surprising variety of tastes from dish to dish.
If you’re looking for a new experience, we think Raw is a great choice. With or without the Saturday night reduction is up to you.