Great things start from small beginnings but Detour Paris started great and I can only see the best to come. Never have I experienced gastronorgasm like this before, and I can’t tell you enough how buzzed I am to write about what possibly is my Best Meal of the Year. So far.
This unassuming 18-seater pocket bistro is tucked in the 9th arrondissement. If you like a walkabout, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the Eglise de la Saint-Trinité and the Moulin Rouge. It’s a love project between young Chef Adrien Cachot and his partner Emie, who handles the service. The space is small and minimalistic with a semi open kitchen. There’s still a new-kid-on-the-block charm, and it’s almost like a nod to the couple’s humility.
Brave enough to rare the Parisienne dining scene sans investors and a menu that changes every Tuesday, Detour has poured heart and soul from kitchen to plate. With a reasonably priced offer and glowing reviews all over, it has become the hottest tables in town since opening this Spring.
We arrived at 8pm, a little “early” for dinner service as we were only the second table to arrive. But after checking the short but pretty good wine menu and settling for a Provençal rosé, we’ve noticed a handful of hopefuls have come and gone asking for tables. Unfortunately, all 18 seats were taken for the night.
We opted for the degustation menu which, at 50€, is quite impressive. I remembered last year’s experience at Septime and couldn’t help but wonder whether this was the new winning formula. Open a cool neo-bistro with a surprise menu and don’t charge as much.
Emie, whose eyes twinkled the deeper her dimples went, asked if we had wanted an explanation or if we wanted to guess. We obviously wanted a challenge. It’s like that test-your-palate-blindfolded game on Hell’s Kitchen (which I’ve always wanted to play).
Delicious amuse bouche came and I started with the squid ink rice cracker which was so tasty they should sell it by the bag.
Spinach chips (I legit thought they were kale) were so savoury and I confirmed they needed to sell these by the bag, too.
This piece of bread totally flipped our minds. It was stuffed with what I thought was a filling made with plums and anchovy. It was actually berries and dried ginger. But wow, what a combination it was.
I thought I had the black cheesy bonbons down to a tee as well. But when Emie said the filling was made of foie gras and not some soft cheese, I was very shocked. The sweet casing made of black sesame was phenomenal and I can’t help but be wowed at the technique I’ve sen so far.
And that was just the amuse bouche.
A little light snack was a leafy taco with pork cheek meatball with a nice sriracha sauce and fried shallots. This was delicious, and a good testament of how French restaurants don’t leave anything to waste.
A plate comes, undoubtedly with little slivers of mackerel and sliced turnip. Slowly, Emie pours a yellow silken liquid and the smell was to die for.
I had a spoonful, and this was where the gastronorgasm began. I don’t think I’ve ever moaned out load in such delicious pleasure at a restaurant. But with the space so small and my, er, sound so loud, I think I may have made a few punters turn around in amusement.
I couldn’t place what it was until we were told it was carrot soup. It was the BEST I’ve had. Creamy, silky, and light, it married well with the fish. And it had a good zing, thanks to the citron caviar it was topped with.
SERIOUSLY, folks. One of my Top 5 dishes. EVER.
Next up was an octopus tentacle served with pickled red cabbage, powdered black sesame and Hollandaise. It was all so Franco-Japanese, which reflects the chef’s homage to Japan where he has spent quite some time. Inventive and exciting, I’m an octopus lover and the dish just came together in my mouth.
Another fish dish came. This time, it was a big chunk of cod, served with a quenelle of mushroom tapenade, turnip purée and mushroom sauce.
For those who like gindara in miso, this will be up your alley. The fish was cooked so beautifully, I could cry. And the sweet mushroom sauce was heightened with the earthy tapenade.
I wanted to find fault as I ate this, but I couldn’t. It felt like it was too good to be true. But it was. It really was.
Finally, a quasi-classic dish of pork and leek arrived. The cut is from the pork jowl and it’s cooked ever so beautifully – a nice pink with some fat seared enough to give flavour.
It was definitely a sight to behold, and I can’t help but think that Detour is almost like a supper club. There’s so much care in how they plate, present, and provide.
Garnish included a sliced leek, barley with ‘shroom sauce, a quenelle of leek and potatoes plus a green foam made with something I can’t actually remember. But delicious and well delivered.
I was relatively full at this point, and a part of me was dreading the cheese course because my tastebuds were hoping for something slightly light. So when a pot of foamy cream was placed in front of me, I was like… “Oh is this a palate cleanser?” But no. It was the cheese course.
And how clever was that. Foamy and flavoursome blue cheese with crunched biscuits, grapes and crackers. It was light but rich in flavour, soft but full of texture. SO. SO. SO. GOOD.
Finally, the last of our
Verdict for Detour
It will be no surprise if Detour gains a place on the Michelin Guide next year. In fact, I’d be shell-shocked if it doesn’t. Septime, who’s now 35th World’s Best Restaurant, was a place I recommended last year for food like this. But I can’t compare the excitement, the quality, the engagement I’ve had with my experience at Detour. I can only say the latter was better… and is probably my food highlight of the year.
I know it’s a bold statement to make, but it will be so hard to top this.
That, and the fact that I am now sure to pipe down before I have a Meg Ryan moment in public again.
The place itself is, small but cosy, is perfect the way it is. And it all boils down to Chef Cachot and Emie. Their work ethic is commendable and as it is their labour of love, I would like to see it remain as charming and as honest as it is. It’s gaining so much well-deserved recognition now and I can’t recommend it enough.
The food we had was fantastic, I almost wish they didn’t change the menu because it was THAT good. But as exciting as each Tuesday falls for Detour, I’m excited to see how this establishment flourishes.
Definitely one to watch, definitely my new favourite in Paris.
15 Rue de la Tour des Dames, 75009 Paris, France
Ave spend pp: 60€
What’s your favourite restaurant in Paris?
Pin For Later