Escaping the restaurant-saturated Eastern area of Paris and putting down roots in the rather sleepy 8th arrondissement is a brave – but wise move. At the helm at Le Mermoz is Manon Fleury, a young and already incredibly experienced chef (Astrance and Semilla are both on her CV), with sous-chef Johann Barichasse (Yard, Mokonuts). From a kitchen at the back of a sparse, simple dining room, the duo send out balanced neo-bistro style dishes with oriental flavour, each more surprising than the last.
Pan-fried cockles came with a powerful sauce vierge with candied lemon, fresh coriander and kasha (grilled buckwheat seed, the ingredient du moment for many Parisian chefs). The cockles are just cooked and keep all their flavour – and the meal follows in much the same creative vein. Landes yellow chicken is crispy-skinned and nestled in fromage blanc and tahini, and dessert was a refreshing orange, date and almond salad with Earl Grey cream. And when night falls, Le Mermoz morphs into a wine cellar serving delicious small plates.