After studying under heavyweight chefs Alain Ducasse and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Wim Van Gorp set up shop in Batignolles to create Comme Chez Maman, the gastro bistro. The success of this place has given life to the area - which has been a bit neglected food-wise, in recent times. Newest venture Wim à Table, takes the same principles of his restaurant - home-cooking recipes, fresh produce, a Flemish twist - and has scaled everything down into a 40-cover tapas bar.
These gastronomic bites are divided into two menus; a classic - mini beef tartare, fish of the day tartare, ham croquettes, lamb samosas, Bern saucisson-, and a menu of the day. When we visited, a punchy wild mushroom with garlic in a tepid vinaigrette; a heavenly combination of miniature leeks with poached langoustines, rosemary and ginger vinaigrette; duck confit with new potatoes and a sweet mustard reduction; roasted chestnuts with fat lardons and mashed cauliflower. Moreish and warming, they were perfectly seasonal for moving into autumn.
We advise ordering moderately with one or two dishes per person, before choosing more. The plates are small but flavours are strong, and not ideally mixed. Each is best eaten alone. The wine list is very small (3 red, 3 white by the glass) but staggeringly well-paired - an organic white from south of Toulouse and a Côtes-du-Rhône from north of Avignon were both excellent.
And the setting? A huge print by comic book illustrator Joann Sfar covers the left wall, tables span the sides, and there are two counter tables. Large enough that you have space, cosy enough to be intimate. Despite only being open for 2 or weeks the place was half full - definitely a sign that Wim’s reputation precedes him. But a second restaurant is like a musician releasing his second album - you can’t recreate the same thing, but the pressure is on to deliver the goods. Fortunately, Wim à Table is going to be a hit.