After his successful venture in rue Oberkampf, Pierre Sang decided to open another venue literally just around the corner from the first, a surprising choice of location I thought. But after hearing so much about his food (and after all he is confident enough to open two venues within a one block radius), I decided he must be worth a try.
Pierre Sang has an unconventional approach in that there is no menu. The idea is to experience a culinary adventure, you simply inform them how many courses you would like to have and whether or not you have any allergies or major dislikes and the rest is up to the fancy of the chef. Only after are you told what it is you actually ate.
I chose Pierre Sang on Gambey (over the other venue on rue Oberkampf) because the latter was packed and my friend and I were able to slip in much easier in the slightly quieter venue on Gambey. As it was lunch time we had the choice of two courses (entrée or desert and main €20), three (entrée, main and desert €25) and four (all three plus a cheese course €35). At dinner time you can opt for an absolute feast, six courses for €49. So we made our choices, three courses for me and two for my friend, and gave our requests. The waiter did not bat an eyelid when my friend told him he was vegan, something that is a bit unusual in Paris and we excitedly waited for our first course.
To start we both had the same, lightly steamed vegetables with a soy sauce dressing. I could of course see the carrot and asparagus but I was a little unsure of the white vegetable. To me it had a bit of a taste of star anise, though my friend disagreed with this. Now as a profound lover of Asian food it went down a treat. The vegetables were cooked perfectly, sufficiently crunchy and complimented thoroughly by the sauce. I was initially a bit nervous about agreeing to eat anything put in front of me with very little input into what it was, but after this I could tell that Pierre Sang was my kind of cook and we would have no problems there.
Next came the main. Our courses were quite similar, except my friend had more vegetables and I had some white fish. This sat upon a medley of some kind of Asian cabbage (Korean apparently), a very spongey textured mushroom that I had never encountered before, edamame beans and bean sprouts with a dressing that packed hints of chili, lemon and liquorice. The spongey mushrooms (I found out after that they were Morel mushrooms) soaked up the juices of the dressing and were wonderful. I loved the combination of citrus, heat and the liquorice, I am not too good with spicy food and this was the ideal level of heat for me, just a little kick. The fish (John Dory), was lightly fried and had a crunchy skin and soft flesh. Aside from finding out what the mushroom and fish actually were, I was able to pretty much figure out what all the tastes were here.
Finally I had desert. It arrived in a small bowl and at first glance seemed to be just a fruit salad. I should have learnt by this point that Pierre Sang does not do just anything. There was a minty sorbet to the side and an interesting flavour lingering over the whole salad, which consisted of passion fruit, mango, pear and strawberries. Tangy and sweet, cold and minty, the flavours mingled well. After I found out that the sorbet was clementine and mint, I think maybe the clementine was too subtle against the mint for me to pick out, and that the taste I could not figure out was a coriander syrup. Unusual but it worked. My only criticism was that the pear did not taste of much, but I did not dwell on this long as the rest was very good.
Pierre Sang on Gambey was a great experience. It took the stress out of deciding and was a little more fun than the usual lunch out in Paris. I was really happy at their willingness to cater to vegans, even though I am not I have a lot of friends that are so it is good to know that I can keep this place mentally bookmarked. It is definitely worth a return trip to see what else he might come up with. It is sure to be delicious.
6 Rue Gambey, 75011 Paris
Open: Thursday to Saturday, 12:00 to 15:00 and from 19:30 for dinner.
Book Online: www.pierresangboyer.com/EN/