24 Apr Septime & its ecosystem in Paris
There’s a small crossroads in the 11th arrondissement in Paris, a five-minute walk east of Bastille, where there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant, a seafood restaurant, a patisserie, a natural wine bar... and then, just over two hours away by car, southwest of Paris, a guesthouse in the middle of a natural park.
All these places are run by the same people – Betrand Grébaut and Théo Pourriat. All are sublime. I say that, but I still want to visit the first (Septime) and the last (D’Une Île). I say ‘want’ rather than ‘hope’, as hope is an illusion, whereas ‘want’ is just putting it out there – that is what I WANT to do.
Tapisserie: let us eat cake
At this famous foodie spot on the rue de Charonne, where it meets rue Saint-Bernard, I popped into the patisserie, Tapisserie, this April (2022). I was having a mid-morning breakfast of a coffee from L’Arbre du Café, which I knew from my visits to Silicon Sentier, together with a Baba au Mexcal with espelette pepper & orange, and a Pear tartlette with a light thyme & verbena cream.
It’s a very tight squeeze to eat in at Tapisserie, but I managed it, even though I was only one. The taste and texture of the pastries were heavenly, the focus was seasonal and the sugar content low – no sugar lows one hour later, like I usually experience after eating overly sweet cakes.
Clamato for seafood & joy
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 took me Clamato next door instead. If you can’t get a seat at Septime, you can always (but don’t bet on it) wash up at the more relaxed Clamato. Even when I went back for a brief visit this April 2022, the staff at Clamato recognised me from 2019! Quelle honneur!
Clamato is a seafood restaurant. It’s open every day and almost all day. It’s a must-have address in a city where so often things are closed at weekends or on holidays.
In the family – Le Servan in 2019
At the time of my visit in November 2019, I had heard about this trend in New York of 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 north 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 more pepper and spice. Like at Clamato, I sat at the bar. Everyone from the neighbourhood seemed to be there.
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 Séptime and Clamato – or at least they did back in 2019. I also could not help but marvel at the architecture of the 11th arrondissement – once full of small factories, and now home to some of the city’s finest eating places.