David Toutain

Critics' choice
1/5
© Thaï Toutain
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© Thaï Toutain
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© Thaï Toutain
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© Thaï Toutain
5/5
© Thaï Toutain
The Eiffel Tower

Eager journalists have already spilled a lot of ink over chef David Toutain's eponymous restaurant since it opened in December 2013. For those who aren't in the know, Toutain attracted considerable attention in the kitchens of Agapé Substance a few years back, before fleeing the capital for some culinary capers abroad. The grand opening in December was therefore bolstered by a sense of homecoming, and a good deal of curiosity over what the young prodigy would do with his own restaurant.

First impressions don't disappoint. We walk into a vast, airy room, whose decor channels the fashion diktats of the day – minimal design, earthy colours, discreetly arranged plants – while retaining a certain originality. It seems to want to tell us that, in matters of design, nature knows best – a maxim that carries over into the food, which makes the most of fresh, straightforward ingredients. Toutain knows how to cook up a storm out of anything from Granny Smith apples to lemon, parmesan and asparagus, and accompanies each dish with a lively description of the recipe. At times, his cuisine is surprising – salsify in a white chocolate sauce, anybody? – yet the combinations always make sense, and at their best treat your taste buds to an entirely novel experience.

The atmosphere never suffers from the stuffiness that mars some restaurants of this calibre. Somehow, everyone around us seems happy and laid-back. The casual vibe is infectious, and even the steep bill (think set menus from €42 for lunch, climbing to €158 for dinner) isn't enough to dissipate it. If you need convincing that class and fun aren't mutually exclusive, this is the place to come.

Venue name: David Toutain
Contact:
Address: 29 rue Surcouf
7e
Paris

Opening hours: Open Mon-Fri for lunch and dinner
Transport: Métro : Invalides ou La Tour-Maubourg
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