Sven Chartier and Ewen Lemoigne have taken the concept of cave à manger to a new level with Saturne, a beautiful, spacious wine bar and restaurant located steps from the Bourse in Paris’s 2nd arrondissement. Both were most recently at Racines, a wine bar in the Passage de Panorama known for its almost militant adherence to natural wines and impeccable products. Saturne offers much of the same, but in a much grander setting.
There’s a soon-to-be wine shop/bar when you first enter, with wine bottles lining the walls, a handful of tables and a shiny meat slicer ready for action. Walk a few steps more down the narrow corridor and you’ll reach the handsome open dining room, with sparse Scandinavian blond wood furnishings, a stunning glass atrium and semi-open kitchen.
Chartier’s terroir-driven cuisine is focused on bringing out the best in exceptional products, so sauces and spices are minimal. This Swedish national may only be 23 but he has an impressive CV and has worked in the kitchens of Alain Passard at Arpège and Arnaud Daguin’s one-star table d’hote Hegia in Basque country.
For dinner we choose the 59 € prix-fix menu which included 6 dishes (there is also a 4 course 37 € menu with a choice of either dessert or cheese)
We were first served beautiful marinated raw shrimp and mackerel with herbs and Savagnin vinegar, made from Jura wine.
The next course offered the only choice of the evening—either Blue Lobster with green beans, Solliès figues and honeyed vinegar or sweet breads with oysters and champignon de Paris (I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they get their vegetables from Terroir d’Avenir who sources the last of the authentic champignons de Paris). I choose the sweetbreads as its not something I have very often and loved they way t he crisp sweetbreads paired with the earthy mushrooms and oyster scented sauce.
Then came a bar de ligne (line-caught sea bass) served with smoked mussels and what was probably the best spinach I’ve eaten.
The fourth course was a perfectly roasted Canard de Challans (Challans duck) with heavenly crisp skin, sweet onion, Alexandrie Muscat and more spinach. My only complaint of the evening would be that as much as I loved the spinach, the same vegetable with two dishes was overkill and it would have been nice to try something else.
For the cheese course we were brought thin shavings of Comté and a Saint Nectaire—both excellent.
The meal ended with a delicious brioche perdu with buttermilk ice cream (lait ribot) and fresh raspberries.
Wines are not surprisingly 100% vin naturel and for now there is no list, but you’ll be in expert hands with Lemoigne. I recognized another waiter from La Muse Vin on rue Charonne and remembered him as being very knowledgeable back then, so this is a very experienced and passionate team.
It may have only been their third night open but aside from a bit of a lull between courses, everything was pretty flawless, so a good omen of things to come. The small details from the quality of the bread, to the delicious madelines served with coffee, all point to a team who are passionate about what they do, which is my favourite kind of place. And if Chartier cooks this well at 23, he can only get better and is definitely someone to follow.
17 rue Notre Dame des Victoires,
Paris, 2nd Métro Bourse
01 42 60 31 90
Lunch menu: 35 €
Dinner, 37 € for 4 course, 59 for 6
Open: Monday through Friday lunch and dinner, wine bar with small plates opening soon
More about Saturne
Connaissez Vous Saturne, on Bruno Verjus’s Food Intelligence: A behind the scene look at Saturne before opening day (in French)