HuThoPi, a newish restaurant in the 12th arrondissement, has one of those corny names made up of the first letters of the owners’ names – childhood friends Hugo Lafont, Thomas Cuny and Pierre Le Lard – but it has the advantage of being a homonym for “utopie” when you say it out loud.
I can’t say that I was sent straight to Utopia when I had lunch there the other day, but perhaps a lesser paradise. My friend Jean-Michel and I chose to have lunch there rather than dinner because the dinner prices were a bit steep: €70 for a tasting menu and around the same for three courses à la carte, while the lunch menu, which offers two choices for each course, is €36.
The long, narrow restaurant, all in sleek black (even the banquettes), with blond wood tables, has an open kitchen where you can watch the aforementioned owners at work along with an assistant.
Jean-Michel was almost in heaven with the panoply of flavors in his starter of roasted white asparagus with grain-mustard cream and poutargue (cured fish roe), topped with oyster leaves, which actually do have a taste of the sea.
I was slightly less taken with my subtle dish of raw scallops with bits of Daikon radish, apple and celery, topped with a generous helping of a light mousse made with almond syrup. The latter was slightly too sweet for my taste, but all the ingredients were of uncontested freshness and high quality.
Jean-Michel’s main course was once again the winner: a fat, sausage-like roll of chicken stuffed with ail des ours (wild garlic) and served with lovely spring vegetables, including fresh green peas, with a satiny potato mousse on the side.
My lieu jaune (pollack) was perfectly cooked, with nicely salty and crispy skin. and served with navy beans and baby onions. Without the help of the two shiso leaves balanced on top, however, this dish would have been too bland.
J-M ended up scoring three for three: his dessert was refreshing perfection, built of passion fruit, passion-fruit jelly, mango cream and an almond-coconut cookie.
My dessert, a caramel, walnut and pecan tart, was almost too good, so rich that I had to force myself to finish it – but somehow I managed. The spectacular Madagascar-vanilla ice cream that came with it provided relief from all that decadent sweetness.
Verdict: definitely worth a try, perhaps for the evening tasting menu for those who can afford it and want to see what other inventions the Utopic trio is capable of.
See our Favorite Restaurants by Arrondissement page to find a good restaurant in the neighborhood where you want to eat.Favorite