Pierre Sang in Oberkampf: The chef is king

There has been much buzz around Pierre Sang Boyer, Top Chef finalist in 2011, the French equivalent of Chopped. No wonder. The TV chefs are the new national heroes and everybody wants to see them in real, to touch and to admire them – or do they really come to taste the food?

When Pierre Sang opened his small restaurant on rue Oberkampf, a couple of months ago, it was an immediate success. As you can’t do any reservations, the small space around the open kitchen fills up very quickly for lunch and dinner. At lunchtime you have the choice between three options with two (20€), three (25€) or four dishes (30€).

The chef is the king

You’ll better close your eyes and trust your server, who will just ask you if there are any products you can’t eat. Then he’ll bring you whatever the Chef has in mind, giving some vague explanations about what’s on your dish, but not necessarily. In other words: In places like this you just let it go. It’s not the customer who’s King here, it’s the chef himself. And if you decided to go there, than it’s a bit like going to church. You just follow the crowd of the believers.

Will you therefore adore him? This is another question. I for my part would say: no, he didn’t totally convince me. His cooking is, of course, tempting: all products are seasonal, his approach is in the pure neo-bistro-tradition, pulling out all the stops between French tradition and all sort of culinary twists. But what do I remember after a couple of days? Not much. And this isn’t a good sign. There was a mushroom pie, which was not bad at all, right. There was smoked salmon, well, a very nice beef stew. But there was no revelation, not the feeling that I’ll have to come back.

A mix of cultures

Pierre Sang Boyer has Korean origins and if you might feel in your plate, you definitely feel when watching him cooking in his tiny galley always keeping, as the French would say, sang-froid, which literally means his “cold blood”. His cooking, he says, has enabled him “to weave links between the two cultures and seeks to be the expression of a certain humanism. In this way it is the reflection of a world that is a mix of flavours, traditions, cultures and colours”.

Pierre Sang in Oberkampf

55 rue Oberkampf

75011 Paris

No telephone

Oberkampf or Parmentier