I was dismayed to hear recently that the outstanding Kitchen Galerie Bis (a.k.a. KGB, the younger sibling of the Michelin-starred Ze Kitchen Galerie) had gone out of business, but my mood brightened when I heard that its former co-chef, Martin Maumet, had taken it over and renamed it Oktobre (the K being a tribute to KGB).
The new chef/owner also put his stamp on the restaurant by having it redecorated by the design studio Bateaumagne, whose handsome decor features lots of mirrors, striped banquettes and cinnamon-colored ceramic tiles.
Even more stunning was the food served in this pleasing setting. We skipped the €75 tasting menu and ordered à la carte dishes at prices that are not cheap but not outrageous either, considering the quality of the food and the setting.
I was very glad to have ordered the “hors d’œuvres” starter, which gave me a chance to taste three of the chef’s creations, each one exquisite and entirely different from the others, a gourmet mini-dish in itself.
My friends had the only other starter on offer, the rich and delicious “blé ‘Engrain’ Cucugnan,” a tangy bisque with cuttlefish, einkorn wheat from Cucugnan and ‘nduja (spicy sausage), showing off the chef’s talent for felicitously introducing unlikely ingredients to each other.
The pièce de résistance of the meal was a sublime tourte of boar and foie gras, served with squash, leeks and a quince-gochujang condiment. The pastry crust was perfection, the filling not at all gamey (I wouldn’t have minded if it was) and the sauce delectable. The puréed squash was full of flavor, with a wonderfully smooth texture. (Note: among the main courses, there were three meat and two fish dishes, but no vegetarian offerings.)
The porcelet (piglet) came with the same accompaniments as the tourte, with the crackling adding just the right crunch to the tender, flavorful, fatty (in the best way) pork.
Pintade (guinea fowl) was the third, also excellent, main course. The succulent meat came with heliantis (a root vegetable similar to the Jerusalem artichoke), mushooms and a pear-miso condiment.
The feast ended with three luscious desserts full of seasonal flavors and more surprising combinations of ingredients: butternut ice cream with Tannea chocolate, pumpkin-seed praline, walnut-wine syrup, and chestnuts; pear with diplomat cream (custard mixed with whipped cream), lemon, citron and shiso, topped with meringue; and an apple/quince concoction with raw cream and marigold sorbet.
We had only one complaint about our experience at Oktobre, but it left a bad taste. The servers were very professional and superficially friendly throughout the meal, but when we had finished our desserts, they suddenly turned into bouncers, making it terribly obvious that they wanted us to leave quickly. Perhaps the table had been reserved for someone else, but, if so, we weren’t informed. And we were well under the usual two-hour time slot allotted when a restaurant has two seatings in the evening. After one of the servers unceremoniously threw the bill on the table, another one actually stood over us, watching and waiting while we gathered our things together to leave. It was an unpleasant way to end an otherwise extremely pleasant meal. A shame.
See our Favorite Restaurants by Arrondissement page to find a good restaurant in the neighborhood where you want to eat.Favorite