Three young food-loving entrepreneurs recently opened a new kind of restaurant in Paris as a springboard for talented new chefs. Its name, Fulgurances, is a reference to lightning: they hope to strike their customers with a lightning bolt of joy every time they encounter a new chef.
Mission accomplished. We were completely knocked out by the meal we had there last week, cooked by Tamir Nahmias, the second young chef to be offered a six-month platform for his talents. By all reports, the first, Chloe Charles, was also a smash hit; she is now looking for a location for her own restaurant.
Since the service is provided by the owners themselves – Rebecca Asthalter, Hugo Hivernat and Sophie Coribert – customers at Fulgurances are assured good, friendly, well-informed but not always prompt service in the rather plain dining room with the usual Scandinavian-style furniture. The main draw for the eye here, with carefully positioned mirrors allowing all diners to see it, is the action in the open kitchen, where Nahmias, Gregory Marchand’s former sous-chef at Frenchie, works with amazing concentration and speed.
The two fixed-price menus, the only options, are a bit confusing, but what it boils down to is €44 for a generous assortment of starters (called mezze here), followed by a choice between two main courses and two desserts. For €58, you get all the starters, both main courses and both desserts (in smaller versions). The wine list offered far too few inexpensive choices, but we were extremely happy with the bottle of Corbières suggested by Hivernat: Maxime Magnon’s 2015 Rozeta (€48).
Now for the best part: the food. The first three starters were stunners: creamed beets with za’atar (a Middle Eastern mix of thyme, oregano and marjoram) and toasted hazelnuts; sliced duck breast with super-fresh green beans, oxalis (wood sorrel), sweet red onions, sesame seeds and anchovy vinaigrette; and smoked eggplant with yogurt, sesame and pine nuts. Impossible to pick out the one I liked best since each was so delicious and satisfying in its own unique way.
We thought our main courses would arrive next, but the starters just kept coming: a lone grilled octopus tentacle grilled to perfection and served with a roasted lemon and a dab of harissa; crispy samosas filled with duck confit; and squid stuffed with lamb confit (a surprising but wonderful combination).
Those six entrées, shared among the three of us, would have made an outstanding meal on their own, but the main courses were still to come. For me, the lamb dish stood out over the other choice, red mullet, but the latter was also excellent. The lamb, with crispy skin and tender meat, came with a magnificent accompaniment of spelt, lentils, lemon confit and raisins. The fish was served with white asparagus, cooked al dente, and roasted onions that reached new heights of divinity for the humble vegetable.
Could Nahmias keep it at the same high level for the desserts? He could and he did. The poached apricots with jasmine ice cream, almonds and thyme was a luscious delight, and the deconstructed millefeuille with Medjool dates, fromage blanc and almonds was scrumptious.
This was a meal without a single false note. Each dish was perfect on its own and contributed to the fine balance of a meal with a strong but not exclusively Middle Eastern identity (the chef is from Israel).
Nahmias has a great future ahead of him. Let’s hope that this experience will indeed lead to him opening his own restaurant. I will be one of his first customers. And I look forward to discovering the next lightning bolt Fulgurance’s owners will bring in when Nahmias moves on.Favorite