There comes a time when you’ve been living in Paris for a while, eating out frequently and loading up on escargots, coq au vin and steak tartare. Your palate is now a little tired from the cream sauces and rich foie gras. You’ve started looking for something different, lighter. At a time where French chefs are experimenting with ethnic flavors and cooking techniques, it is now easier than ever to find alternatives to the traditional French bistro, and Kitchen Galerie Bis (KGB) is one such place.
KGB is a less pricey offshoot of Ze Kitchen Galerie, a Michelin 1 star restaurant known for their Asian inspired menu. While originally a little put off by its pretentious name and fusion cuisine designation, the restaurant itself was easy to like, clean and modern, with paintings and wall installations adding bright dashes of color to the all white walls. The seating was tight but in our little corner, YJ and I had enough space to relax and hear each other talk across the table. Service from the stylish servers in black was also courteous and prompt.
The food was also better than I had expected, skeptical that I was for anything branded fusion. For appetizers, we shared a set of 4 small plates named “zors d’oeurve”. Good thing they did not taste as funny as they were called, but were in fact quite tasty. Ginger was the common theme across most of the 4 plates, adding a spicy undertone to the immensely sweet shooter of cold pea soup, and acting as a counterpoint to the sweetness of the seafood ravioli. The salmon sashimi was fat and unctuous, and the rabbit croquet meaty and juicy.
It is springtime and lamb is out in full force on all Parisian menus. YJ’s agneau de lait with Thai jus was substantial and comforting. Surprisingly for Paris, someone in the kitchen knows how to cook vegetables properly, such that each retained the crunch and softness characteristic of each vegetable.
My pasta also had a Thai bent to it, tasting like a sweetened tom yam, with the lemongrass and herb notes coming through without the requisite spiciness. A good dish, with tender calamari and lobster, though a little too subtle for my liking.
After all the Asian influenced savory dishes, YJ’s dessert was more mundane than the rest of the menu, a buttery citrus cake paired with caramel ice cream. Tasty though not as inspired as the rest of the menu, it was a dish both of us thought we could imitate at home.
Overall, the evening was a success, with KGB exceeded my expectations in terms of food and service, and lovely company from YJ. However, it seems that I still prefer my Asian flavors unadulterated so I’m not in love. Perhaps it’ll take a few more fusion inspired dinners to make me a convert!
Kitchen Galerie Bis
25, rue des Grands Augustins, 75006 Paris