Photo of the Week

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The view from the Théâtre de l"Odéon at dusk. Photo: Françoise Deberdt-Meunier

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Left Bank gallery crawl
> Open house at 50 galleries for Art Saint Germain des Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Gold in galleries

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“Passage” ((2017), by Aude Herlédan. At 1831 Art Gallery during Carré Rive Gauche.

> The Carré Rive Gauche, an association of Left Bank galleries, celebrates its 40th anniversary with an event called ExtrORdinaire, featuring gold in works of art. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Literary evening
> The Nuit de la Littérature in Belleville and Ménilmontant presents 20 foreign authors reading their work in French. Various venues, Paris, May 27.

 English-language theater festival
> Paris Fringe returns for its second year of English-language theater and comedy. Various venues, Paris, May 18-28.

Hollywood glam
> Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and more in classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age for the Glamour cycle. Forum des Images, Paris, May 3-31.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Etienne Comar’s Django, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, May 26.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

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Restaurants - Contemporary

 

Fulgurances, Chef 4

Rotating Chefs
Keep the Fire Burning

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Céline Pham at work in the open kitchen at Fulgurances.

I have already written about Fulgurances, a restaurant that changes chefs regularly, not because they storm out in a fit of pique as chefs are sometimes wont to do, but because its mission is to act as a springboard for up-and-coming young chefs, giving them a chance to run a kitchen, usually for six months, before going out into the world and perhaps opening their own place.

A side benefit for Fulgurances is that this formula gets customers to come back frequently, both to re-experience the cuisine of a chef they like and to try out a new one. That's no hardship, since this is an extremely congenial place to eat.

My first and most brilliant meal there so far was made by Tamir Nahmias, an alumnus of Frenchie, who blew us away with his Middle Eastern-influenced cooking. He will soon be opening his own place, Tamir, in Paris. I then sampled the excellent work of British chef Sam Miller, who had only a few days left of a short stint in the kitchen, and then went back to try the cooking of the latest arrival, Céline Pham, who had just started.

Pham has worked with some of Paris’s leading chefs: William Ledeuil at Ze Kitchen Gallery, Sven Chartier at Saturne and Bertrand Grébaut at Septime. We ate there just a few days after she took over, and I had the impression that she was still finding her feet. She looked a bit stressed in the open kitchen right in front of the restaurant, and of the four dishes we tried from the €24 lunch menu, two were amazingly good and two were just good.

First, the most amazingly good: the beef

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ravioli in a spiced bouillon with ngo gai (culantro, a relative of cilantro) was a virtual trip to Vietnam, far more subtle and fiery than the pho found in most Vietnamese eateries in Paris. I would have happily eaten another bowl

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of it. The other starter, daurade snacké” (flash-cooked sea bream) with carrot juice, was nicely cooked but a bit bland, enlivened only by the tasty baby endives served with it. The rice noodles in a fancy lattice shape didn’t add much.

The main courses followed the same pattern. The pork was heaven: two hunks of tender,

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slow-cooked pork belly accompanied by a big flavorful, fatty piece of crackling. It was served with a polenta-like helping of Basque cornmeal and prettily topped with baby corn cobs (fresh and delicious; nothing like those pickled ones that come in a jar), lightly cooked baby okra and radicchio.

The encornets (squid) with tamarind jus

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suffered the same fate as the sea bream: good but unexciting. The tiny potatoes, cooked to a melt-in-the-mouth consistency, were my favorite part of this dish.

The only dessert on offer for lunch that day was a hit. I loved the basil ice cream (billed as sorbet but awfully creamy) with broken

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cookies, bergamot curd and fresh citrus fruits. We were then treated to a little extra: rich,

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buttery matcha cookies studded with Morello cherries.

I hope to get back to Fulgurances during Pham’s reign. She is obviously capable of great things, and once she hits her stride, I expect that every dish will be amazing.

Heidi Ellison

Fulgurances: 10, rue Alexandre Dumas, 75011 Paris. Métro: Rue des Boulets. Tel.: 09 81 09 33 32. Open Tuesday for dinner only; Wednesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner. Fixed-price menus: €46 and €58 (dinner); €28 (Saturday lunch); €19 and €24 (weekday lunch). www.fulgurances.com

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