Montmartre is famous for being a tourist trap. If you are not careful you can easily end up eating at a substandard, over-priced, unoriginal eatery. For this reason I do not go out up there often, but if you know where you are going and what to look out for then it is possible to find somewhere well worth a visit.
Seb’On is a unique collaboration between Chef Sebastien Heloin and hostess Dorota Okulicz-Kozaryn. Sebastien is passionate about good food and has a background in international cuisine which is reflected in his cooking, a somewhat eclectic approach that is certainly not the typical Parisian fare. Dorota is an artist and cultivates the homey and beautiful atmosphere that is present in Seb’On. The combination of the two create a fantastic combination of delightful food and a cosy yet contemporary setting.
The “cosiness” of the place might be in part due to the size, it is quite small. As such when I turned up without a booking it initially seemed unlikely I would be able to get a table, even though it was just for one. However, I was lucky, a couple had not turned up and so I was thankfully given their table. It seems this really was a stroke of luck because several other couples dropped by throughout the course of the evening and all to no avail.
From my accent Dorota could tell I was English and gave me a translated menu, in fact I noticed that the majority of the diners present were Anglophones, useful if your French is a bit patchy. Now I normally opt to forgo the sweet and have a starter instead, three courses is generally too much food for me, but the desserts here sounded too exciting so I decided to go for the duck with sangria sauce (€20) for the main and crunchy cake for dessert (€9). The starters varied in price from €10-14, therefore if you were to go for a three course meal you can expect it to be around €40 per head without drinks.
The duck with sangria sauce was a very good choice, it was accompanied by ratte potato mousse and fennel cooked with citrus fruits. The ratte potato mousse was unlike any mashed potato I have ever had, it was very light and airy and for those of you that have never eaten a ratte potato, it has a very unusual nutty flavour. This contrasted well against the sweet and tangy duck which went down a treat, frankly I loved it, though I was a bit uncertain about the fennel and citrus fruits. Mainly because the duck itself was quite sweet and citrusy, it had a strong taste of orange and I found that with the sweet and also citrusy fennel that this was a bit much. I personally would have preferred a vegetable that had been prepared with less sweetness to accompany the duck, though this did not really detract from my enjoyment of the meal so I would not say it is a huge criticism.
The dessert was a bit of a surprise as I was not sure what “crunchy cake” might be. It turned out to be rather reminiscent of shortbread, in fact the only way I can describe it is if shortbread were a cake then this would be it. Crunchy is not exactly the word I would use to describe it, more akin to crumbly, melt in your mouth and buttery. It was a perfect foundation for the raspberry mousse, which was not too sweet and had a powerful tang to it, which in turn was balanced by the sweet and perfumed meringue and nutty pistachio ice cream.
I would thoroughly recommend Seb’On, every aspect of the experience was pleasurable. I would suggest booking though. If you are here visiting Paris then it would be good to bookmark this place for a day when you intend to explore the picturesque Montmarte— I can’t think of better way to end such a day. But do note that it is not great for vegetarians, there were no mains options without meat and only one starter. Also be sure of the opening hours as they are not open all the time.
Open: For lunch, Friday to Sunday, 12:00 to 15:00
For dinner, Wednesday to Saturday, 19:00 to 23:00
Address: 62 Rue d’Orsel, 75018 Paris
Phone: 01 42 59 74 32