Passage 53 is a 2 Michelin star, Japanese-modern fusion restaurant located in a lovely Parisian passage. There’s only 7 tables if I’m not mistaken and it’s one of these places that you must reserve way ahead of time. I’ll start with the fact that this meal almost didn’t happen. I made reservations way ahead but when it came to confirming my reservation – ah! This is where I should never had neglected. Just remember – call the restaurant one or two days before the planned meal to confirm. I didn’t. And when we got there, all dressed up and smiling, just to find out our place was taken by another party, my heart skipped a bit! Yes, it was my fault but thankfully the maître d’hôtel found a place to squeeze us in the next day, but on lunch time. Thankfully #2 Ze Kitchen Gallery restaurant that had our reservation for the next day’s lunch was willing to switch our reservation with that same night. It was amazing how I managed to juggle the reservations last minute with some good restaurant luck (and all the restaurants’ info kept in a printed excel sheet). We came back the next day’s lunch and walked inside a clean white minimalist space, very lit and welcoming.
The waiters staff were extra nice and we felt like they tried to do the extra effort to make up for last night’s glitch. We were welcomed with two glasses of chilled Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut. It was a really nice gesture, I wouldn’t ordinarily order champagne but this one’s considered to be high quality. It was lunch time so a glass of champagne did the trick. Later on in the meal we ordered two different glasses of wine. As for the food – at lunch there are only two options: lunch menu for 60 euro or tasting menu (same as the dinner’s) for 130 euro. No details and description of the dishes – 100% surprise menu! We went for the tasting menu.
The food was amazing. I loved each and every dish. Impeccable, really. Due to the fact that there wasn’t any menu or any written material to count on, we did our best to write down all the elements of every dish, asking many questions and being kind of a nag, but paying 130 Euro per person, I think we’re entitled to understand what we’re eating exactly. The waiters were so nice to explain everything in French and English as well. Let’s start:
1. Amuse of Carrot Cream and Carrot Froth, served with a ceramic stick as a spoon. Smooth and creamy, light and fun start.
2. The Bread wasn’t the best I have ever had, it was a slice of good sourdough, room temperature. Two types of butter with the bread: Yellow Salted Butter and Red Peppers Butter. Both really nice.
3. Raw Smoked White Mackerel, Smoked Haddock Panna Cotta, Scallions, Wood Sorrel, Chives, Green Oil. A very delicate dish with a strong fish tendencies. I think I missed something there – what’s that white stripes on top? Not sure. Great dish with creaminess that balances the fishiness.
4. Cooked Green Asparagus, Raw Asparagus Salad, Anchovy Dressing, Salted Anchovy and Lemon Cream. A good matching of Asparagus, lemon and anchovy. We first thought it was raw zucchini salad on top but we were mistaken. Looks like a painting, isn’t it?
5. Cauliflower Cream, Squid, Raw Crispy Cauliflower. I loved this dish. Perfection and modesty.
6. Turbot Fish, Warm Oysters, Cabbage Cooked with Quinoa, Caviar Citron, Shallots, Shimaji, Dill, Chervil, Wood Sorrel, Oyster Sauce. This dish was just the opposite of the former one – tuns of things going on there, and I must have forgotten one or two elements. Everything together, for some reason, wasn’t overwhelming at all but rather quite suitable. The Oysters in the sauce and served warm were a brilliancy. I liked the complexity and also the out come.
7. Egg Mimosa, Parmesan, Egg Crumbles, White Asparagus Cooked and Raw, Parmesan Tuile. We were too amazed by the plate itself with this dish that it took a second to come back. Overall this was a very French version of eggs. Creamy, almost liquid with white asparagus and parmesan. Good take on a classic dish.
8. Milk Fed Lamb, Broad Beans, Small White Turnip, Yuzu Yogurt, Spinach. I loved this dish. Beautiful cut of lamb. So succulent. I can’t describe why but I loved it.
9. Filet of Beef, Morel, Potatoes and Cream of Beef Jus. A classic dish of meat with potatoes and jus. Needless to say it was very well made. For me this wasn’t the best dish of the meal, even though I though it was delicious, it didn’t have anything surprising about it. Maybe it’s good to have one of these in the end of the meal.
10. Lemon Tart Disassembled: Butter Shortbread, Lemon Cream, Lemon Ice-Cream, Yogurt Foam, Caviar Citron, Caramel-Lemon Tuile. Nice and light dessert, disassembled lemon tart.
11. Black Sesame Ice-Cream, Rice Pudding, Rhubarb Infused Crisp, Rhubarb, Wild Strawberry and Raspberry and Raspberry Gelee, Fruit Foam. This was the real fusion dessert. A bit weird but I’m always into stuff like that when it’s well thought.
12. All Strawberry: Ice-Cream, Sauce, Meringue, Foam and Vanilla Ice-Cream. At that point I felt there’s a bit for everyone in the dessert part of the meal – the lemon type, the fusion type, now the strawberry type and next the chocolaty type. It was a really beautiful dish though, and I felt that the waiter explained it with such pride.
13. Coffee Gelee, Mascrapone Mousse, Cocoa Cookies. Really nice take on Tiramisu. A light and surprising take.
14. House Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel. A small rich chocolate tart which is more like a chocolate ganache actually. Don’t mind if I do.
Many desserts but at the time, I felt like it’s the right amount.
I was so happy in this lunch. I just loved every aspect of it. The small dinning room, the service, the plating, the style of cooking, the flavors. It was all there. I wanted to buy the Chef’s book but he still doesn’t have one. Inspiring meal!