Opened in September 2014 on a not-particularly-fancy street in the 10th arrondissement, Porte 12’s burnished bronze door leads to an intimate split-level room where chef Vincent Crépel is busy creating small masterpieces on the plate. Appropriately enough, as the building used to be a lingerie workshop. But there the resemblance ends, as this outfit is neither racy nor froufrou. The space, crowned by a flowing iron staircase, is an exercise in the best kind of understated good taste – all taupe walls, warm wood, blue banquettes and airy cages of dangling bronze lamps, with a scattering of spotlights. A lot of thought clearly went into the design, which must have struggled to accommodate the kitchen behind its glass screen – the cooks look a bit cramped. No matter for the diners, though, who can only rejoice in the precise and complex flavours issuing from within.
At lunch, we tried the extremely good value set menus at €35 and €28 per head. A bowl of rich, dark, tender duck hearts in a many-layered onion bouillon came cosseted under buttery whipped potatoes planted with sprigs of salty glasswort. Silky raw petals of sea bream were laid on small, rich squares of slow-cooked vegetables, and dotted with an intense basil vinaigrette that had none of the overwhelming tang that the name suggests. Main dishes were a tender round of barely-pink veal with whipped parsnips, roasted spring onions and fresh raspberries, and a toothsome tranche of chicken on a bed of Sardinian fregula, flanked by a lively drift of crisped corn shoots. Flavours and textures across the board were complex without being overwhelming, leaving room for us to share a perfect plate of slow roasted figs with meringue and beurre noisette.
Service was spot on, and we went on our way with that happy glow that comes from being spoiled at a place with both originality and savoir-faire, and which doesn’t feel the need to make your credit card go up in flames. Like all the best small luxuries, Porte 12 is one we’ll return to again, and soon.
|Venue name:||Porte 12||Contact:|
12 rue des Messageries
|Opening hours:||Tue-Fri 12noon-2.30pm, 7pm-10pm; Sat 7pm-10pm|