Monday, August 3, 2015

At a Closing Restaurant

I caught the opportunity to eat at Bones before the restaurant closes for good in August because I heard good things about the restaurant and Chef James Henry's food. Plus I thought it would be the kind of casual place it won't feel awkward dining alone.

From the outside the place didn't look anything like a proper restaurant - there's no name or sign at the front - only a simple number and a small menu stuck by the window. Half the room on the ground floor was the spacious bar area with a handful of seats and tables, then a few more tables at the back as the dine-in area, then there's the kitchen at the far end and a little spiral staircase that seemed to lead to nowhere.

I made a mistake of showing up one whole hour earlier than my reservation time (7:30pm instead of 8:30pm) - don't ask me why - but they were able to seat me nonetheless. The restaurant only opens for dinner and serves only a prix-fixe, 5-course menu daily (with an option to add in a cheese course). Another option would be to sit at the bar and order from the bar menu with small dishes, but I thought I would rather sit down for a proper meal after a long gruesome day under the heat.

My first course was actually a trio of small bite dishes, starting with a simple house-made rabbit rillettes with halved radishes. I kind of grew tired of raw radishes after having my fair share of them in the last couple of days but the rillettes were more than decent with tender texture and good, cured flavors. The second dish of white tuna in thick slices, served with a tomato water jelly and horseradish powder, was tasty except perhaps a dash sesame oil too many and overwhelmed the dish. But I love the balancing between the rich tuna taste and the tart jelly with a slight kick from the mild horseradish. The last appetizer course turned up a big notch in richness with a small piece of duck meat completely covered in a dark sauce made with squid ink and black pepper.

The appetizer trio was quickly followed by a bowl of cold soup - a white gazpacho-like soup with mussels and fennel. Perfect under the hot weather and I love the umami flavor brought by the mussels. There's a choice of main course - guinea fowl or veal sweetbread tourte; both sounded adventurous and I picked the latter. The tourte was well-cooked with the strong gamey filling taking in some jus flavor encapsulated in the tart shell perfectly baked with crispy crust. And the creamy artichoke puree worked well with all these with a few greens on the side.

I ended with 2 desserts. The thin slice of cherry tart had a nice dark buttery crust, and the apricot sorbet was accented by a airy whipped cream and crushed black sesame on top which I thought was an interesting touch. Overall the meal was okay I thought. There were definitely some high points - love the well-baked tourte and the desserts were nice too. The other dishes were decent but just nothing too out of ordinary.

I wouldn't go too much out of the way for this, but I wouldn't complain having given this a try either. Don't know what Chef James' next gig is going to be, or even where (he's originally from Australia), but I definitely see some potential, whatever he comes up with. 

More photos on my Flickr page:

When? July 1 2015
Where? Bones, 43 Rue Godefroy Cavaignac, Paris
Menu Highlights? Tourte aux ris de veau et puree d'artichaut
Drink? Domaine Christian Venier Cheverny les Haut de Madon 2013

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