Hype. We’ve all fallen for it. Last weekend, having read a few blurbs in favor of William Ledeuil’s recently-opened “casual” venture, Kitchen Galerie Bis (see here in French, here and here in English, for example), I thought we’d give it a go, despite the fact that the earliest available table was at 10:15 pm. (On the flip side, I figured if the only table available was at 10:15 pm, then at least I knew for sure it was a much-in-demand place).
We arrived on time, and yes, the place was packed. And KGB really looked the part of an art gallery with its high-ceilinged, spare white room and walls hung with paintings.
The food is Asian-accented (unlike at Thoumieux, we knew this part going in). The first courses are named something hokey –instead of hors d’oeuvres, you get “zors d’oeuvres” in a nod to Ledeuil’s flagship “Ze Kitchen Galerie“– but they were the best part of our meal. Zors d’oeuvres can be ordered in sets of 3, 4 or 6, so Jon and I split six, and what arrived at our table was a kaiseki-looking treat of small dishes. See photo above. Clockwise from top left:
- Foie gras cubes in a duck consomme
- Prawn avocado with beets and citrus-zesty reduction
- Seared tuna with radish and a sugary-salty miso condiment
- Pork won ton with coconut milk and ginger Thai-style frothy-brothy deal
- Deep fried lamb kofte with sweet chilli dipping sauce
- Carrot-turmeric soup froth with grilled mushrooms
The prawn, tuna, lamb and carrot soup were stand-outs for the mix of textures and flavors. Great examples of French food with an Asian accent. From the zors d’oeuvres (it pains me to keep writing that), I can see why Ledeuil has die-hard fans.
The rest of the meal was fine, but not super exciting. Our two mains (scallops for me, sea bream for Jon) looked more interesting than they tasted. I figured if the dishes are going to be “just” well-prepared but unsurprising, then I’d rather be eating in a warm, comfortable old bistro than in a see-and-be seen contemporary art space.
Our server was professional but perfunctory. He must’ve been slammed that night because he was awful about getting us our carafe d’eau, which is usually never a problem in Paris.
Main courses mostly fell in the 20-25 euro range, so with a cheap and cheerful bottle of wine (from Gascony, I think), our total for starters and two mains was 95 euros.
I’d go back if I wanted to impress super-trendy friends or if I stopped in only for a few zors d’oeuvres.
KGB, 25 rue des Grand Augustins, 6th, +33 (0)1-46-33-00-85. Metro: Odeon.