Fiona Beckett gives her verdict on Quinsou...
Originally published in Decanter magazine in partnership with Hine Cognac
33 rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 22 66 09
- Rating: 8/10
- Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Booking essential.
- Restaurant style: French
- Three course lunch menu €35 / evening menu €45
- Wine to try: Georges Descombes’ Brouilly Beaujolais
The secret of any successful neighbourhood restaurant is for diners to feel cosseted and cosy. In which case, lucky residents of the 6th arrondissement in Paris to have Quinsou on their doorstep.
There’s more to the restaurant than the term neighbourhood might imply. Chef Antonin Bonnet has an impeccable pedigree, having worked for six years at the Greenhouse in London’s Mayfair then in Paris at Le Sergent Recruteur. Now he’s finally opened his own place in this modest corner of the Left Bank.
When we ate, the room was full of happy locals, some of whom we gathered were fellow local chefs.
Bonnet’s basic menu hits the spot. The amuse, a star in itself, set the tone: an exquisite tomato salad of incredible sweetness that explained why the vegetable has always been categorised as a fruit. (Bonnet doesn’t normally do amuses, by the way. He just had some lovely tomatoes to show off. Normally there’s some home-made charcuterie.)
We followed that with a gorgeous selection of lightly cooked seasonal vegetables from an organic farm in Bec-Hellouin in Normandy, served with an unusual, almost miso-like praline vinaigrette and a perfectly cooked piece of maigre (a sea-bass like fish) with pumpkin purée, a light curry sauce and some very good homemade sourdough to mop it up.
As the food was so light we succumbed to the apple tart which came with a light, fragrant kola nut ice cream. It was an extra imaginative touch again, though I imagine some with heartier appetites would regard the portion as a little stingy. An accompanying glass of Jurançon – the Capcéu from Domaine Camin Lerredya – was an ideal match.
From the short but carefully chosen wine list our waiter also suggested a glass of Chartogne-Taillet’s Ste-Anne Brut Champagne to start with, and a beautifully lean, precise and mineral Montlouis (Domaine du Rocher des Violettes’ La Négrette) which perfectly offset the clean-tasting food. Good red options would have included a glass of Georges Descombes’ Brouilly Beaujolais. The wine list does lean towards the natural end of the spectrum but not scarily so.
The lunchtime (12pm-1.30pm) deal of €35 for three courses is incredibly reasonable for food of this quality, and in the evening (7.30pm-9.30pm) that rises to €45. Quinsou is a gem.
Fiona Beckett is a Decanter contributing editor and restaurant reviewer. She writes a wine column for the Guardian. To get the first look at her bar and restaurant reviews from all over the world, subscribe to Decanter magazine here
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