• Pioneer in the 2000s of an accessible and uninhibited gastronomy, inventor of the unique menu, chef Pascal Barbot opens the doors of a new restaurant, still called Astrance, but different from the previous one.

  • It is a new address, located in the former Jamin de Joël Robuchon, that chef Pascal Barbot wanted to adapt to the requirements and demands of our time.

  • The former triple star evokes for "20 Minutes" the crisis that the restaurant is going through today, and its solutions which must take into account above all the evolution of customer tastes.

Former three-star chef of Astrance, Pascal Barbot returns, after three years of closure due to the Covid and a few passages as chef d'test at Top Chef.

He opens a new restaurant, still called l'Astrance, but which no longer has anything to do with it: it's a new address, located in Joël Robuchon's former Jamin, which he wanted to adapt to the requirements and requests From our era.

Pioneer in the 2000s of an accessible and uninhibited gastronomy, inventor of the single menu, the chef evokes for

20 Minutes

the crisis that the restaurant is going through today and its solutions which must take into account above all the evolution of the tastes of the customers. .

How do you take your marks, a month after the opening?

We have more staff, more equipment, three times more space… We can put more things in place.

That's why I wanted to move so much, even if we really liked the little bankrupt restaurant that we took over twenty years ago in a dead-end street, this "little home better than a big one". others" as the saying goes.

By chance, we ended up where Mr. Robuchon wrote part of his story… But for us, it's above all a place that ticked all the boxes.

In relation to the budget, in relation to the surface: I never would have thought it was so big.

If the area has increased, so have your prices.

How did you fix them?

Maintaining our rates would not have been possible.

The lunch menu has gone from €95 to €125.

In the evening it was €250 for the surprise menu and now it's €285.

But we have additional costs, raw materials have increased, energies, it's crazy… Not all gourmet restaurants offer a €125 lunch.

It's a big budget, we agree, but for anyone who wants to discover the Astrance universe, it's possible.

And we now offer à la carte dishes…

A menu is new for you who have launched the fashion for the single menu!

When we opened Astrance twenty years ago, the kitchen was very small, but we wanted to show the customer everything we could do.

Hence the idea of ​​a single menu made up of a multitude of dishes.

Many have copied us.

But with all the crises we've been through, customers no longer necessarily want to spend four hours at the table.

On the other hand, they might want to come more often, ordering only one dish, pasta with truffles, a mallard pie, a rack of lamb, scallops... We are keeping our "surprise" menu, because it is our identity.

The card is a plus.

Are you already serving new dishes?

Shellfish and crustaceans are brand new.

In the past, you couldn't: it was so hot in the kitchen.

Now you can cut shellfish or raw fish by the minute.

Serving a clam with a chilli-infused citrus juice or making langoustine with a peanut paste is fabulous… And for desserts, we finally have a real pastry chef.

We haven't had one for twenty years.

Finally, there were young people who found themselves pastry chefs, but they were 19 years old.

They were trainees...

In the beginning, L'Astrance stood out for its high-end cuisine made with inexpensive products...

I've always preferred a nice mackerel to a bad turbot, a nice smoked salmon to a bad caviar.

For me, all products are equal: bread, vegetable roots, an onion, caviar, a mackerel, an orange, a bunch of parsley.

I work on them all with the same rigor, it gives a parsley ice cream, a bread soup… A fish with three grains of caviar, is that really a good recipe?

Do you have a favorite product?

I love ginger, citrus fruits, everything that gives character and makes a product very pleasant.

With Italian, Chinese or even Auvergne cuisine, we enjoy simple products.

In Japan, a fish head can give a fabulous dish, a bowl of rice, it can be magic.

When moving, did the question arise to change the name of the restaurant?

After three seconds, we had the answer: we keep the Astrance.

Even if you moved into Joël Robuchon's former Jamin?

This mythical address is the icing on the cake, but we searched for a long time and it was chance that pushed us there.

Why couldn't you find the right place?

We dreamed of an old station, a small house with a garden or a patio, a somewhat nice place on the banks of the Seine… But we couldn't find it.

Neither in Paris nor outside.

We searched in Boulogne, in Neuilly.

We asked the Paris City Hall, which never answered us and neither did the others.

We know that a restaurant in a big city, these are constraints, it generates noise, deliveries, passage, that you have to think about the standards, the residents, that it has to fit into the neighborhood .

But we were ready to invest and do some work…

Was recruiting staff complicated?

Twenty years ago, it was already difficult to attract young talent.

We didn't have a lot of money to pay them well, so with the introduction of 35 hours, we tried to simplify the schedules.

We closed the restaurant on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, which was very new at the time.

Today, with the delay on the work, the economic difficulties, we cannot yet envisage it, but it will be the objective as soon as possible.

Our other asset is the training of young people.

Adeline Grattard, Manon Fleury, Chloé Charles, Tatiana Levha, Ayako Ota who is in Bordeaux, Guillaume Foucault, Magnus Nilsson, Sylvain Parisot… There are about forty of them who have left home and who are settled.

If I was 20, I would be happy to come and learn to work at Astrance because we are well structured,

Your participation in Top Chef, was it a parenthesis during the closing of the restaurant, something fun, interesting?

As we didn't have a restaurant, we had a bit of free time and the idea of ​​Top Chef was to meet young enthusiasts.

Transmission is part of the history of L'Astrance, but it goes both ways.

I too learn a lot from young people in the kitchen, every day.

And participating in Top Chef was a way to keep in touch with this youth.

During the Covid, we couldn't set up online sales because we didn't have social networks, not even a website.

We had never had the need.

And then we launched on Instagram and we set up a small online store that we will develop later.

Young people are our future customers, they are our future employees, they are our future producers.

It's the future.

That's why participating in Top Chef,

As you have just reopened your restaurant, what do you think of René Redzepi's decision to close his, Noma, considered one of the best in the world, to reinvent itself as a culinary laboratory?

This is not new, I take the example of Alain Senderens or Olivier Roellinger, others have already done so, but it is true that René Redzepi is a precursor, a true leader.

This is not the end for him, on the contrary!

Gastronomy is a set of skills, our role is to reinvent it and highlight the work of artisans.

Do you agree with him when he says that "high gastronomy is no longer viable and that we must completely rethink our way of working"?

We can no longer cook like in 1960 - it's a fact, cooking is something societal.

There is an element of truth in his decision, gastronomy has always been able to reinvent itself and must reinvent itself.

We must cook with our times, in a conscious and aware way of the world around us.

That's what René did, it's a brave choice.

Were you not tempted to make such a choice?

Does L'Astrance do haute cuisine?

What matters to me is to serve beautiful and good, but also to surround myself with incredible producers, know-how, pretty houses that make a table possible.

It's a question of time.

Michel Bras also felt the need to resize gastronomy.

The important thing is to offer a restoration consistent with its time and above all not to rest on its laurels.

One month before the launch of the Michelin Guide 2023, are you already thinking about the stars that will be awarded on March 6?

Quite honestly, no.

Twenty years ago, we never said we were going to break everything, that we were going to do something fabulous, no.

When the Michelin Guide awarded three stars in 2007 to a restaurant without a menu, without a valet, without a pastry chef, it was courageous on their part… And when they withdrew this third star, the comment that accompanied the decision was bizarre.

To say that we were less concentrated because we were looking to move, that was not true.

We were still there.

We visited restaurants either in the morning or in the afternoon, but during the service, we were always there.

Being judged is the game, otherwise we won't open a restaurant.

But deep down, we know we don't cheat.

If the guides follow us, it's great, and we are happy when we are rewarded.


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  • Gastronomy

  • Restaurant

  • food

  • Michelin Guide

  • Paris

  • Ile-de-France

  • Top chef

  • Joel Robuchon