Agape, the starred restaurant at a low price

Laurent Lapierre, owner of this elegant 17th-century restaurant in the heart of Blaine Monceau, has always had a good nose. He’s seen dozens of chefs pass through his house, not least (Bertrand Grybot of Septim and David Toten of the restaurant of the same name), without ever losing a star. This time, he welcomed a woman, Rebecca Lockwood, the first in the specialty restaurant’s history.

The straight look, high cheekbones, curly brown hair and tied up, the ’40s has that accent that pushes you straight into the wonderful world of Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso.

sequel after the announcement

Chef Rebecca Lockwood

Rebecca was born in Rio to an English father and a Brazilian mother, an Indian from the Amazon region, specifically from Manaus, trained as a professional cook in her country, then at the Cordon Bleu School in Paris in 2002, before leaving to cook in the four. corners of the globe.

“We no longer go to the restaurant to eat! »

She also knows how to welcome surprise encounters, like this summer when working at a beach bar in Comporta, Portugal, seducing Madonna with her high-altitude vegetarian dishes. She will be the star’s private chef for a year and then she will be participating in Top Chef Brazil in 2019 as a nominee.

The aura of these “visiting cards” has arrived in France: a stay at Food for love at the Nouvelle République, a stay at the Reffettorio (preparing a meal for the poorest in the shadow of the Madeleine Chapel) by Italian chef Massimo Bottura.

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We listen to him open his resume, and we listen to him for hours. We think of “Girl from Ipanema,” but if the little girl of Brazilian bossa nova’s most famous song is fascinated by her swaying gait, then Carioca, now Parisian, is fascinated by the perfection of the “Kitchen of the Sun.”

But make no mistake, far from an odd facade, the young woman takes her climax when she mixes it with Japanese and French influences:

sequel after the announcement

Flavor occupies a special place in my work and I’m always on the lookout for new associations, for quirkiness. I love the land and sea conventions too, which I find subtle and powerful. Then I came from a country where this marriage takes place spontaneously and daily in the kitchen.” Chef highlights.

pao de queju
pao de queju

As an appetizer, we sample the delicious pao de queijo, a type of gougère prepared here with cassava flour, followed, as an appetizer, by delicate scallops, accompanied by chayote (also called Christophene) and pear, marinated with trout, Brazil nuts and seasoned with coriander oil.

Scallops, trout eggs, chayote, brazil nuts
Scallops, trout eggs, chayote, brazil nuts

On the main course, turbot is served, still majestic, but here glazed with passion fruit choy, garnished with bok choy cabbage, salicornia, a purple turnip in tempura and coated in white butter.

Trout fish glazed with passion fruit
glazed turbot with passion fruit

As a dessert a priori (we’re in a starred restaurant), the wonderful asparagus ice cream, flavored with tonka beans (from the Amazon) accompanied by chocolate guanara crumbs, is particularly delicious…and addictive.

Strawberry gargit, white miso with Tahitian vanilla, chia seeds
Strawberry gargit, white miso with Tahitian vanilla, chia seeds

For dessert, we chose Gariguette’s light strawberry, and white miso (this is Japan) with Tahitian vanilla and chia seeds. A dish full of freshness and original and relevant associations. Like all of Rebecca Lockwood’s kitchen, it’s flavorful and full of umami, that famous fifth flavor, the “taste of what’s good” described by Japanese author Chihiro Masui.

sequel after the announcement

Yes, all is well with Agapé, strong, but light, like the Brazilian melody of Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim: ” She walks like seaweed, carried on a wave wing to the shore.

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L’Agape . Restaurant51 rue Jouffroy d’Abans, Paris XVII. www.agape-paris.fr

Spring lunch in four stages 54 €

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