The food can be hit or miss at Le Pas Sage, but this sweet little restaurant niched into a corner of the elegant Passage du Grand Cerf in the first arrondissement somehow pulls it off. With its lovely location, tongue in cheek name (word play on ‘passage’ and ‘unwise’) and spot-on design – all black and white tiles, fresh flowers and sparkling glassware, classic but cool – it feels instantly friendly.
The cooking can succeed, but caution is advised. The menu is self-consciously adventurous, discarding classic French bistro cuisine for more inventive dishes with global influences. When this works, it’s great. We loved a starter of poached egg in a vivid green pond of creamed asparagus with truffle oil and parsnip crisps – the flavours all sung out clearly, and the textures were enjoyably distinct. Similarly, Cajun-roasted lamb chops with pureed petit pois were gorgeous pieces of meat with plenty of crispy fat, enhanced to sinful richness by an intense jus and melting roasted garlic. Other things were less successful. The kitchen can be heavy-handed on flavours – the hot dog in a brioche bun, though funny and adventurous and made with premium meat, was an unwieldy mess, and a lamb gigot had a cloying, over-sweetened sauce.
The menu changes frequently, so you’ll have to use your instincts to order the things that work. Still, you have to love a place that serves up a fragrant, floral rice pudding with a towering, comical bouffant of hibiscus foam, and that offers a ‘fée verte’ absinthe shot with a scoop of absinthe ice cream. Despite occasional wobbles, we find ourselves returning, charmed by the place’s enthusiasm and inventiveness.
|Venue name:||Le Pas Sage|
Passage du Grand Cerf, 1e
|Opening hours:||Daily 12noon-1am|
|Transport:||Metro: Etienne Marcel|