When I first ate at Zébulon soon after it opened in 2015, I loved the food by Yannick Lahopgnou, the warm welcome from co-owner Thomas Chaput and the chic but comfortable decor, complete with baby grand piano.
When I went back with the same food-blogger friend last week, only one thing had changed, a very important one: a new chef, Takashi Aoki, is now in charge of the kitchen, and we were there to test-drive his cooking.
It was a good ride right from the start, with solicitous service from a young waiter and an interesting cool soup for a hot day from the €28 menu (three courses) for the first course. It was melon soup with cucumber celery and a dab of goat cheese on a floating slice of toast, topped with tiny flowers and slivered almonds. Just slightly sweet from the melon, it was a treat.
I confess that we had a few extras, probably because my friend was known to the owner, but it also gave us a peek at more of the chef’s talents. An entremet of melt-in-the-mouth langoustine with asparagus and grapefruit was positively exquisite.
My friend ordered the lamb à la carte. It came in two forms: gigot and confit shoulder. Both were extremely delicious in their different ways. It was served with crunchy cubes of lotus, something I had never tasted before and loved, especially as it was prepared here, and of Granny Smith apple. An excellent gravy brought it all together.
We were then treated to more goodies with our coffee: a pineapple pâte de fruit, a stunningly good chocolate ganache and a little chocolate cup with tonka-bean-flavored cream and Gariguette strawberries.
The new chef was a big hit with both of us, and I was happy to find out soon after what had become of the previous chef. More on that next week…