One of the most emblematic « canaille » restaurants in eastern Paris recently underwent a facelift to better pursue its destiny: that of a real cook’s bistro.
Back to childhood!
This house, inaugurated in 1956 and taken over 50 years later by Frédéric Hubig – the successful author of the Jeanne Tide, the Jeanne A and Jeanne B dining rooms, and the Sassotondo Italian table – is living a second youth. Without altering the charm of the place (the panelling, the barrel chairs, the tables marked with the seal of the house…), Frédéric Hubig wanted to give this « bistro of family and friends » more conviviality and comfort. In the image of the breweries of another era, by articulating the space around a bar that is now accessible for the small hungers of the counter, by revising the lighting – warmer – with its Biot glass globes unearthed at the Flea Market, benches upholstered in velvet, walls that seem to have a patina of the years and a graphic tiling typical of the 50s. Everything else is just accessories, found here and there like the rooster that looks good on the zinc or the clock, straight out of a bourgeois dining room.
A cook’s table
When you push the door of Astier, you can feel the conviviality of a kind of city inn. A lively table, where the regulars and tourists settle down and are not deceived: the napkin rings and the Perceval knives that set the table do not hide the folklore of an assembly kitchen, no. Here, we cook », warns Frédéric Hubig, who wants to be a « passer-by » of stories and a dish that is free of its heavy-handedness. The duty of memory remains, but Madame Astier’s cooking has given way to a cuisine that is half-bistro and half-bourgeois, more precise, more incisive and more elegant, using the techniques of today’s gastronomy. Reduced juices have replaced sauces, vegetables have found their place next to the Iberian pork loin, the stuffed rabbit saddle and the Grenoble-style skate wing. Cooking ? They drop a tone and sing at low temperatures.
It’s in the old pots…
Chef Mathieu Le Tirrand
Coming from a family of cooks, this passionate person does not stifle his pleasure with this front line position. A disciple of Alain Dutournier and driven by his enthusiasm, he assumes his radicalism, his commitment to a generous cuisine, illustrating the hunger that is willingly carnivorous. By vowing to simplicity too, with a technique that fades behind the product. The plate gains in truth and loses nothing of its heritage.
Marinated herring, ratte potatoes in vinaigrette The platter of about fifteen mature cheeses… an institution! Traditional French veal chop for two people Baba au Rhum and a glass of Chantilly.
The baba with cold that we taste in a religious silence!
Insider’s Quarter Hour
It is now on the menu and well known by the regulars who watch for and reserve the few Grand-Marnier soufflés produced per service. The first to react are the first to be served. A delicacy presented at the table in its silver baking pan and ordered to measure (the only guarantee of a perfectly diffused heat). A signature of Astier.
The wine list, another pretext…
This is one of the great prides of the company and here again, Frédéric Hubig is very careful. By privileging, it is true, the terroirs of the Rhône and Burgundy. From Grammenon, one of the very first winemakers to work with natural wines, to the extraordinary Côte Rôtie de Gangloff that can be found on starred tables, the menu alternates between a beautiful confidentiality (the cuvée Hommage à Jacques Perrin de Beaucastel) and great classics of the Côtes de nuits, grands crus and Bordeaux châteaux.
44 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud
Reservations at 01 43 57 16 35 www.restaurant-astier.com
Canaille dishes at lunchtime at 15 euros Menu starter, main course and dessert at 35 euros per person for lunch and dinner Menu starter, main course, cheese plate and dessert at 45 euros for lunch and dinner