The SEPTIME family, Paris: Nov 2023

A cluster of great places to eat and drink have sprung up around the one Michelin-starred Septime restaurant since it opened in 2011 in the backstreets of Paris’ 11th district, east of Bastille. 

I have yet to eat at Septime. It’s one of those places hard to find a table. But I have been to Clamato (next door, in the same rue de Charonne) and, a few doors down and on the other side of the road, to Tapisserie (for coffee & cake).

Together with Septime La Cave, just round the corner, they are all owned and run by Betrand Grébaut and Théo Pourriat

Further north in the 11th, near the place Maurice Gardette, are two restaurants owned and run by the wife of Bertrand, Tatiana Levha, and her sister Katia Levha: Double Dragon and Le Servan, where the twist is Asian, as a nod to the Filipina roots of their mother.  And yes, it is starting to get complicated, but then families always are.

That makes six establishments in one amazing eating destination, where a good time and good food and wine, and coffee, is assured. 

Coffee & cakes at Tapisserie 

With room only for a couple of stools by the door, the Tapisserie in the 11th arrondissement is tiny, especially compared with the punch packed by its cakes. 

It’s about seasonal ingredients (thyme & verbena in November), inventive combinations (espelette pepper & orange), only a sprinkle of sugar and a friendly vibe with good music. 

The coffee is from L’Arbre du Café in the rue du Nil, a foodie destination in the 2nd arrondissement. 

A second Tapisserie is in the starchy 7th arrondissement, near Les Invalides. Here there’s space to sit and some savoury dishes to order – my favourite being the mesclun salad with parmesan, pistachio and gourd seeds, doused with a lemony dressing and a small piece of focaccia on the side. 

(When I was there in November 2023, they told me they would soon be serving Plaq hot chocolate. Otherwise, before then, head to Plaq in the rue du Nil in the 2nd arrondissement.) 

Clamato for seafood 

In a city where so many places are closed on a Sunday or on public holidays, Clamato is a must-have address as it’s open every day for lunch and dinner.  

I was there last in 2019 and in 2022. Over my two visits, I ordered: 

  •  Mesclun, pear, haddock & hazelnuts 
  •  Strips of yellow plaice from Noirmoutier with pomegranate & fennel (main image) •  Squid from Oléron with pepper & pickled grapes 
  •  Roast ceps with fig-leaf sabayon
  •  Two glasses of white wine: a Burgundy by Julien Guillot and a Le Blanc de la Fosse Vineuse by Thierry Hesnault 

Le Servan for a touch of Asia 

In the same year, I also visited Le Servan, a 15-minute walk north from rue de Charonne. Here the food is more about pepper and spice.  Like at Clamato, I sat at the bar. Everyone from the neighbourhood seemed to be there. 

When I went there in November 2019, I had already eaten at Clamato, so I just had two dishes:

  • Mussels with pepper & Thai basil
  • Artichoke with Tandoori cream 

Once I’d peeled off and eaten the artichoke leaves, the heart was taken away to be re-served with red pepper and chives (as in the photos below)

Double Dragon for Philippine style

Round the corner from le Servan, in the rue Saint
Maur, is Double Dragon. The newest of the two restaurants run by the Levha sisters and offering a fusion cuisine with Philippine influence.  

When I was there in November 2023, I sat at the
tiny bar, intimately squeezed into the front space by the window and the open
kitchen where Tatiana was working. What I ate:

  • Smoked tartare of Normandy beef & jangajii sauce (more Korea than the Philippines)
  • BBQ-grilled octopus, potatoes & adobo sauce (a Philippine classic)
  • BBQ-grilled octopus with chipotle sauce (remember that the Philippines was a Spanish territory for over 300
    years and ruled first from Mexico City)

Septime La Cave for natural wine

Across the road from Clamato and Septime, and round the corner from Tapisserie is Septime La Cave. The space is minuscule but unbeatable for somewhere open from 4pm for a quick glass of natural wine.  

I ordered a deer & pigeon paté in a calvados jelly with bread, and then asked for a wine suggestion – it was poured first, and then I was told… a Cabernet Franc from the Loire. Perfect! 

I was at Septime La Cave in December 2023… I intended to stay 20 minutes and ended up being there for 90 minutes. In Paris, you’re never alone. People connect and chat. 

There’s still Septime to visit, but there’s no place to sit at the bar, which is my preferred place when alone. And then, also part of the Septime stable, is  d’une île, a 17th century maison de campagne, set in eight hectares of field and forest in the Perche natural park, two hours west of Paris. I’ve heard it is very good. 

Check out my tips of where to go along the Canal Saint-Martin, also in Paris’ 11th as well as the 10th arrondissement. And here’s the map of my favourite places in Paris.

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