dish with pomegranates & fennel flowers

Clamato: an unexpected journey in Paris

When I’m next in Paris, I want to have a coffee and a maple syrup Clamatarte at Tapisserie, in the 11th district, home to the little culinary empire of Betrand Grébaut and Théo Pourriat.

I say ‘want’ as I like to steer away from ‘hope’. Like ‘fear’, hope is an illusion. There’s a feeling of longing, whereas ‘want’ is just putting it out there – that is what I WANT to do. I prefer that directness.

Tapisserie is in the same quiet rue de Charonne as Bertrand and Théo’s Michelin-starred restaurant Septime, ranked No 15 in the world. Next door to Septime is Clamato, the little sister restaurant. Across the street is Septime La Cave for natural wine, and cheese & saucisson. While 150km southwest of Paris, on the other side of Chartres, is D’Une Île, their laid-back 10-bedroom guesthouse in a nature park.

For Betrand and Théo it’s all about provenance. Take Tapisserie, for example, it’s an artisanal, “seasonal” patisserie. All the cakes and tarts are made on site, the flour comes from the local Île de France region, and all the other ingredients are traceable and chosen with care. The chefs at all thee Paris outlets then take the ingredients to give them an innovative, eye-opening, palette-preparing twist.

Eating at Clamato in 2019

When I was in Paris for Paris Photo 2019, I had hoped to eat at Septime. But, like in life, I was a little wave in a big ocean, and that ocean washed me up at Clamato next door. I ate at Clamato not just once, but twice. If you can’t get a seat at Septime, you can always wash up at the more relaxed Clamato – or at least, usually.

A good reason to go to Clamato rather than Septime: here is where the fun crowd hang out. Thank you Clamato for giving me such a great welcome!

Clamato is a seafood restaurant. It’s open every day and almost all day (apart from during pandemic lockdowns). It’s a must-have address in a city where so often things are closed at weekends or on holidays.

Mesclun, pear, haddock, hazlenut, Clamato, Paris
Mesclun, Pear, Haddock, Hazelnuts. This followed Strips of Yellow Plaice from Noirmoutier with Pomegranate and Fennel, as in the featured image,
Table by window, Clamato, Paris
The back of the restaurant looks over a courtyard garden
Bottle of Macon Villages, Clamato, Paris
A white Burgundy by Julien Guillot. My other wine was Le Blanc de la Fosse Vineuse by Thierry Hesnault.
Stairs with person, Clamato, Paris
The stairs to upstairs
Dish of food, Clamato, Paris
Squid from Oléron with Pepper and Pickled Grapes
Ceps, Clamato, Paris
Roast Ceps with a Fig Leaf Sabayon
Menu, Clamato, Paris

Across the road to Septime La Cave

I had wanted to cross the road to Septime La Cave to buy a bottle of Le Blanc de la Fosse Vineuse by Thierry Hesnault from the Loire. The Cave was closed both times – on Monday and Tuesday. I want to go there next time I’m in Paris.

Sign, Cave a Vins, Septime, Paris

My second lunch, at Le Servan

I had heard about this trend in New York… a few dishes in one restaurant and then a few more in another. For my second visit to Clamato, I had two dishes there and then moved on to Le Servan – run by Bertrand’s wife Tatiana – for another two.

Le Servan is a 15-minute walk away from rue de Charonne, up the back streets and towards the northern end of Père Lachaise, the famous Parisian cemetery. It’s a place for more hearty courses and for more pepper and spice. Like at Clamato, I sat at the bar. Everyone from the neighbourhood seemed to be there.

Mussels, Thai Basil, Le Servan, Paris
Mussels with Pepper and Thai Basil
Artichoke, Le Servan, Paris
Artichoke with Tandoori Cream
Arthichoke heart, Le Servan, Paris
Once I had eaten the leaves, the artichoke heart was taken away, and reserved with pepper and chives
Flowers, Le Servan, Paris
A touch of nature

After a finishing-off coffee at Le Servan, I wandered to Bastille, stopping off to buy some granola and bread at Ten Belles Bread – the suppliers of bread to Septime and Clamato. I also could not help but marvel at the architecture in the 11th arrondissement – once home to the industry of Paris, and now to some of the city’s finest eating places.

Boutet facade, Paris
The Maison Boutet in the 11th arrondissement once imported exotic wood. Then it made chocolate. Now it is a five-star hotel.
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2 Comments
  • Catherine
    Posted at 17:19h, 27 February Reply

    What an endearing post! Thank you Gina for sharing your Parisien secrets and treasures… So real touches – the colours, the flavours, the light as if we were there together. Let’s hope we can resume our visits to Paris soon.

  • Gina Power
    Posted at 17:51h, 27 February Reply

    I’m sure it’s around the corner, and I just love it that new things are opening … new incredible things xxx

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