We didn’t ask Betrand Grébaut why his new restaurant bears the name Clamato. But by simply turning to the origin of the word, we fared pretty well on our own. Initially, the fruit juice made with tomatoes was called Tomatoto. And then, when the big bad clam juice was added, this concoction gained the status of ‘Clamato’, in England, but also in Canada and the United States. Clams are indeed on the menu.
The word “climate” also comes to mind, and god knows that Bertrand Grébaut is well versed in restaurant climates. After Septime and la Cave, he shows us once again that he does not wish to simply provide meals to clients in a super trendy star-studded restaurant, but rather to welcome his guests into his home. If we accept to expand upon the idea that a chef is not simply an artist who assembles loose parts, but that his entire being transpires through the meal that he serves, one must admit that the silverware, the wooden tables, the chair that you are sitting on, and, last but not least, the light within which your plate is basking, are also his choice, and emanate from the environment that he conceived in order to ensure that you appreciate his cuisine to the fullest.
At Clamato, it’s an extended affair; the chef is also the interior decorator, the picture framer, the head of operations; welcome to his place, welcome home. Théo Pourriat, Bertrand Grébaut’s associate, definitely had something to do with this irresistible cocoon. In their home, everything is simple and sophisticated (the lighting), comfortable and chill (the furniture), warm and cozy (the ambiance), the perfect spot to enjoy the dishes on the menu.
The menu, which changes daily, encourages you to share, emotions through dishes. Let’s just say it, right off the bat; it’s not made for those who do not like seafood. Oysters, sea urchin, herring, Banka trout, haddock, eel and scallops are at the heart of this cuisine, which tends to put the freshness of the ingredients forward without smoothing over the bumps. As per usual in Betrand Grébaut’s cuisine, rarely do we exceed three ingredients, and the sophistication of the dish lies in its balance, always impeccable. Whether it be the trio of line-caught shadefish / winter radish / coriander; marbled dorade / kohlrabi / hazelnut, or mussels / onions confit / Padoue lime, they all follow the same protocol: find meatiness in the velvety smooth, acidity to stand up to the suave, and basically bring out the contrasts while always making sure that the product is center stage.
But Clamato is not all protocol like its time tested sister restaurant Septime, it is also simple fritters with a wankaïna sauce (feta, cream, curry and cumin), scallops with a herb butter, and a maple syrup tart with an absolutely addictive whipped cream that your Canadian grand-mother could have made for you for an afternoon snack at home. Well that’s appropriate; that’s where you are.