Septime, Paris

Its taken me a few days to think about this meal, and to actually make up mind as to whether I enjoyed it or not, unfortunately I have come to conclusion, that it just didn’t work for me……although I love what the Septime team have done for sustainable practice throughout the Paris restaurant scene.

SO before I go on – here are the 14 reasons why Septime was awarded the San Pelligrino worlds top 50 restaurant, most sustainable restaurant award……pictures of my meal after!

  1. Sourcing 

Of the produce used at Septime, 99% is grown in France – the exceptions being coffee, sugar, vanilla and certain citrus fruits. The restaurant recently invested in a farm near Paris and also sources from a number of urban farmers within the city.

  1. Seed saving

Like former winner Azurmendi, Septime is into seed preservation – the restaurant works with farmer Christophe Collini and 10 other chefs to save 1,400 seed varieties in a project called Conservatoire du Gout.

  1. Vegetable focus

Veg accounts for 80% of the menu at Septime, with dishes such as roasted cauliflower, pickled pears, bottarga and seaweed butter

  1. Whole animal

When using meat in the restaurant, chef Grébaut buys the entire animal and uses it seasonally, enhancing the more unconventional cuts in terrines and broths or in staff meals.

  1. No beef

Because of the negative environmental impact of beef and the difficulty of finding meat that meets Septime’s high standards (France is more geared towards dairy than beef cow production), the restaurant doesn’t serve beef.

  1. Meat sourcing

Septime uses free-range chicken slaughtered after 150 days – that’s nearly three times the UK minimum of 56 days. Pork is sourced from three natural farms raising native and local breeds: the Basque Kintoa pig, the black Bigorre and the White Western pig – the three breeds are endangered because they’re unsuitable for the intensive farming industry. Lamb, rarely served in the restaurant, comes from Mont Saint-Michel.

  1. Sustainable seafood

Septime only deals with fishermen using 12m or smaller boats focusing on sustainable methods – angling, bottom gillnets, traps and trammels, coastal and dive fishing – which limits the impact on the marine environment. The previous day’s catch determines what goes on the menu. Grébaut also favours a number of less ‘fashionable’ fish, such as sardines, hake, horse mackerel and pouting.

  1. Fair treatment of farmers

The restaurant sources seafood from a supplier who deals directly with small-scale French fishermen and pays 20% more than the market price. In some cases, Septime asks farmers to plant special vegetables and then guarantees to buy all of the produce at the best price.

  1. Natural wine

Septime has its own 2.5-acre vineyard in Saint Emilion, which is being converted to biodynamic production. All the wine served at the restaurant is natural and much of it delivered by barge from the Rhone to Paris. The producers refuse all forms of pesticides, herbicides and other synthetic chemicals often used in winemaking. The restaurant also supports vineyards hit by recurrent poor weather through a scheme called Vendanges Solidaires.

  1. Filtered water

Refusing plastic containers, the restaurant only serves filtered water served in old wine bottles.

  1. Spreading the word

Team Septime actively participates in Mangeons Local, a movement to support local agriculture and the local economy. They are also members of Bon Pour Climat, reducing the carbon footprint of the hospitality sector. In serving their dishes at the restaurant, front-of-house staff make special efforts to detail the contents of each dish and the origins of all ingredients.

  1. Supporting the community

Grébaut and Pourriat are involved in a number of ways to support the local society, including involvement with Farm Africa and an organisation called Ernest, which links restaurants with charities feeding those in need. They offer internships and apprenticeships to locals, and tips are divided equally between all employees, from the maitre d’ and the sous chef to the dish washer.

  1. Gender parity

Septime is fairly unusual in the male-dominated restaurant industry in that it employs 51% women. All staff are paid at least 1.3 times the French minimum wage and with tips, this can rise to twice the minimum wage.

 

  1. Environmental impact

The team at Septime wasn’t satisfied with the recycling and waste management offered by their local authority in Paris so they started working with a private contractor who helps them measure and monitor waste. Ingredients and cut-offs that would usually be thrown away are instead reused in sauces and dishes, and any surplus is used for staff meals. The restaurant is also working on a to-the-gram correct portioning concept.

The menu

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the menu in French, my descriptions may vary for those who can read this one, but my descriptions are of what we ate, there was some variation from this menu to what we were served…..
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comte with grissini
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Tuna, sea greens, pork sauce
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Cucumber soup, cockles, raspberries, tofu and young almonds – for me this dish didn’t work, the raspberries with their high acdidity clashed, without the raspberries it was fantastic, the freshness of the raw cockles was outstanding
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miso grilled eggplant, yoghurt, pine needles (which were quite sharp and not really pleasant to eat as they got stuck in your teeth and throat)
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Courgette, trout roe, butter – nice dish, but a little boring……..
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lobster, fresh peas and mint – another butter rich sauce, once again, dish dish, but……
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dessert of apricot, St Georges mushroom and cream – just plain didn’t like this, I have eaten and served desserts containing mushroom before, this one just was way off the mark in my opinion…..
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served with two wines, one of which was really mushroomy sake which was just not nice.
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fresh berry and gin sorbet, cucumber in tonic, sorbet was nicely flavoured, but let down by the flavour of the tonic in the cucumber.

Would I go back? – yes, I think that the presence of Celebrity Action Bronson, filming and cooking in the restaurant may have cause a hiccup in our dinner and caused the team to lose concentration. Interested to see where this restaurant heads over the next couple of years, one to watch closely.

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