The ones following me on Instagram might have noticed already that I have a new favourite in Paris. Since the first week they opened about a year ago I’ve been a regular at Cárbon, even though I still don’t live in this city. The wood fired food with its smoky flavors, the perfectly designed interior, the surprising (natural) wine list and of course the sweetest staff keep on drawing me back here. The chef changed since my first visits but the food is still utterly delicious. To be taking pictures for them kind of is the dream job.
Through Cárbon and its Instagram I’ve been found by Lucie, who’s not only my great assistant now but also a magnificent writer and foodie to the bone. And we share the mutual obsession with Cárbon. Read about her first experience there below my pictures.
Ah Carbon ! It took us some time to finally get acquainted. There were the days of avidly spying on every picture or article about you I could get my hands on. There were the times of carelessly walking by and peaking through the window. There were times and times again taking screenshots of your menu (sorry !).
But a week ago there I was, walking in through the front door, and I was glad I waited.
At first glance, the sun-filled room looks almost like an extension of the street with its stone walls, metal lamps, plants cascading down and large wooden mirrors. The dark marbled tabletops and red leather couches however, mark a clear transition between the Marais’ lively rue Charlot and the calm and precision of the kitchen.
Everything at Carbon looks effortless : the interior design, the small plates that crowd the tables, all the way to the warm smiles handed out by the staff. There is a feeling of ease there, everything seems to happen simply, naturally.
But of course, it was the food that got me obsessed with Carbon , and so it was the food that held me back long after the afternoon was over. And the drinks. Did I mention the drinks ? The Cynar al Fresco, a surprising but addictive cocktail made with mezcal grapefruit and basil washed down the numerous bites that were shared around the counter.
The smell of smoke that seems to have infiltrated the walls suddenly makes perfect sense when smoked eel and coal cooked asparagus make their way to the table.
Carbon’s « Ode to Nature » menu makes the best of simple raw ingredients from land and sea, ancestral cooking methods such a fire or salt, and homemade condiments.
The grilled green asparagus with bottarga, roe and dill is a bright light dish, but expect more robust flavors too, such as the fried leek nest with an egg parfait and smoked eel. If you’re not faint of heart, try the smoked sweetbreads – perfectly crisp on the outside but still moist inside – with burnt celeriac, a root puree and cress.
Carbon represents the best of what the up and coming Parisian food scene has to offer : great produce, humble but time proven techniques, and a refined but laid-back atmosphere.