Friday, December 29, 2017

Dessance (Paris, FRANCE) ★★★☆☆

Believe it or not but my decision to venture over to Paris' 3rd arrondissement has very little to do with the world's biggest underground station at Forum des Halles nor getting my sweet tooth fixed at Pain de Sucre. My secret mission here involves a long anticipated visit to Dessance, the one and only all-dessert restaurant in Paris.

Created by Philippe Baranes, Dessance aims to introduce a "different concept of sweetness, completely removed from the sugary and fat-laden recipes which all too often constitute the traditional dessert or patisserie menu" (an introduction directly from the restaurant's website).

Obviously, they needed a special talent for this project and found this man in talented chef Christophe Boucher, who had previously worked at the edgy Aux Mare des Oiseaux auberge near La Baule as well as fine-dining temples in Paris including Ledoyen and Le Grand Vefour.

There are a number of tasting menus available at lunch service but unfortunately, I arrived a little late (it was around 2PM) so the longest menu they could offer me was Menu Irresistible (44 Euro), which consisted of 1 savory dish, 3 vegetals, fruits and plants dishes and 1 dessert.

This is a unique fine-dining experience, so why not an amuse bouche to start things off? A little bit of marinated octopus with clementine and black radish helped to stimulate my appetite.

The only savory dish came first and it was smoked veal loin served with different textures of carrot (purée, poached, juice), pickled purple onion and crumbs. There were dabs of mandarin sauce and veal jus in there for a nice balance of savory and sweet flavors.

I was looking forward to this, the first sweet dish made with vegetals, fruits and plants, and it turned out to be my favorite dish of the afternoon. This featured a layer of Jerusalem artichoke purée beautifully matched with vinegar cream, an egg white sorbet and hake. 

Next up was a refreshing dish of grapefruit, purple sweet potato crumbs, yam purée and tapioca chip with an aromatic broth made with black tea, lemon and yuzu providing the finishing touch.

My last plant-based dish was raspberry-cooked apple served with ginger crumbs, red berries and cream. There was a fair amount of acidity in this dish but the scoop of lavender sorbet helped to offset it a bit.

Finally, we got to choose between two desserts. I went with this william pear which was prepared in three distinctly different ways. The poached pear, pear juice and dehydrated pear meshed well with the nice touch of yogurt cream while the crispy wafer added some extra texture to the mix.

Jelloman had the other dessert, which was salted caramel ice-cream with chocolate crumble, yuzu lemon, chocolate chips and what I thought was pretzels.

I like anything with salted caramel so this was a winner for me as well.

Some petite fours to wrap up our sweet journey to the 3rd arrondissement.

On my way to the little man's room, I got the chance to check out the little space they had on the mezzanine floor. That's pretty neat.

Like any avant-garde food, there will be some hits and misses along the way but I like the overall concept of it. With chef Boucher's talent, I think this will evolve into something more interesting and exciting down the road.

Dessance is like a rainbow in the Paris sweet scene.

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: €€€
Address: 74 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris, France
Closest Metro Station: Arts et Métiers / Rambuteau
Tel: +33 (0)1 4277-2362

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