walk in the Forest with chef Julien Sebbag

The white marble slabs are hot. It is barely noon and already customers are crowding under Forest’s parasols. Placed on the esplanade of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris (MAM), this urban forest looks more like a beach brasserie, inhabited by men in Sebago, small polo shirts and sweater on the shoulders, and women with white dresses and tight-fitting. In the midst of this fauna happy to reconnect with the summer spirit, the bohemian silhouette of Julien Sebbag, chef of the place, creates the contrast. He sails between outdoor and indoor kitchens, between Excel spreadsheets and order forms with the nonchalance that is his talent.

The terrace quickly filled up. It must be said that this wonder of Mediterranean cuisine is long overdue. After the opening in September of Tortuga, devoted to seafood, on the roofs of Galeries Lafayette, Forest was to be the terrestrial version of a cuisine inspired above all by natural elements. The opening was scheduled for October 2020, and everything had to be fall. But the current season predominates on the menu, for the pleasure of eaters eager for freshness. Despite the imitation tree bark cards, the dense forest is far away: bottles of rosé are not long in coming, like mojitos and bellinis. It is 12:30 p.m. Alexandre, the waiter, introduces himself: “Call me Alex or Alexandre if there’s a problem. ”

Senseless marriage of ocean and undergrowth

The plates create a colorful hubbub on the quickly invaded table. There is no real order since all the dishes ordered are cold. Impossible to taste the kebab, however promising in such heat. Then the spoons plunge into the fleshy peas and al dente which roll like marbles around the pieces of green asparagus, also crunchy. Mint leaves add chlorophyll to this springtime dish.

Tamago egg, peas, asparagus and feta.

The yolk of the tamago egg (marinated in soy sauce) is a little overcooked, but its texture echoes feta marinated in coriander and cumin seeds. The latter remains discreet, masked by the predominant sesame. In another wooden bowl, oyster mushrooms flambéed with mezcal assume the autumnal character of the address. Helped by rhubarb pickles, they dodge melancholy and merge into the vegetable curls of chickweed. The sun burns faces: “Alexander? Could we change tables? “

In the shade, the sea bass carpaccio disappoints a little, but the Saint-Jean-de-Luz tuna tartare raises the bar. Announced punctuated with cherries, it is accompanied by small cubes of yellow kiwi fruit whose sweetness is matched only by the tenderness of fish. Finally the shallot and the zaatar supposed to season the tuna go unnoticed in the face of the power of the seafood. Only the roasted hazelnuts seem worthy of a fight. Eloquent, they distill a malty flavor, an insane marriage of ocean and undergrowth.

Later, the rhubarb ribs on the pie make you salivate. However, the dessert remains sweet, accompanied by raw and intense gariguette strawberries. Another glance at the Eiffel Tower so close and: “Alex? The bill please. “

The address Forest, 11, avenue du Président-Wilson, Paris 16e. Open 7/7 from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Phone. : 01-84-25-12-22.

The essential Fona: asparagus, peas, marinated feta, tamago egg.

The best location The 109, with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

L’addition Around 60 euros per person.