Atelier Gambey – Pierre Sang, Paris

When out of towners who like to eat well come a-visiting, the pressure is always on to recommend good restaurants. I have a list of standard favourites where I have taken many guests, safe in the knowledge that consistency is a rule for these establishments.

But sometimes I just want to try something new! So on my latest round of “who’s coming to Paris”, off we trotted to Atelier Gambey – Pierre Sang. I had a reasonable idea that I wasn’t going to be disappointed given my previously good experience at Pierre’s other restaurant/namesake just down the road. Luckily the food gods were smiling on me, and my reputation remained intact.

The concept of Pierre’s restaurants is simple. A set menu that only the chefs know is modified for each guest based on any allergies/dislikes they may have and “hey presto!”. The food arrives and you are left to guess what it is you are eating. It’s fun, participative, and a great way to spend an evening with friends.

The Folles:

Ambiance – 4.5 – the place has a clean, cosy feel that’s very welcoming. Not too noisy, we managed to comfortably carry on our conversation. As much as it is a lovely painting, I found the massive portrait of Pierre Sang hanging in pride of place a little off-putting.

Food – 5.5 – wonderfully inventive food with interesting combinations of flavours mixing in the odd Korean influence every now and then. And guessing what you have been served is a highly entertaining game!

Drinks – 5 – we put away a charming bottle of Vouvray and followed the sommelier’s recommendation for a glass of Languedoc that was a lovely mix of jammy and spicy to go with the main.

Service – 3.5 – compared to the rest of experience, the service was a real let-down. The servers seemed inexperienced and were the opposite of present, even though there were a large number of them. I’m not a big fan of the no allotted tables method of service, and in this case it just didn’t work. I asked to have each dish revealed to us whilst we were still eating it so we could taste the flavours, but had to flag down someone systematically for every course to request the information.

Overall – 4.75 – the food and drinks at this establishment are fabulous and, at 49€ for the six course menu, the price tag is very reasonable for the high quality products on offer. But unfortunately the service prevents Pierre Sang’s new offering from achieving the prestigious 5 Folles rating. If they rectify this slight hiccup over time, this restaurant is set to become an all-time favourite.


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