It seems fitting that Porte 12 opened within a former atelier. Found on an unprepossessing street in the 10th arrondissement, Vincent Crépel’s modern French restaurant is creating dishes that can only be described as art. Ingredients here are seasonal, making the menus wonderfully unpredictable, and no touch of sauce, or hint of flavour is out of place. Crépel is a chef who knows how to craft a damn fine dish.
As well he should. Crépel has worked with such talented chefs as Philippe Rochat, Benoît Violier and André Chiang in the past, with the latter so confident in his protégé’s success that he backed the restaurant. And it seems a measured, completely justified choice; Porte 12 is thriving. The split-level space is hung with copper lights (faintly reminiscent of the boning of a corset), furnished with deep blue banquettes and light wooden tables, and – more often than not – filled to capacity.
The menus are set, with different options for dinner and lunch, but they are remarkably generous in terms of cost, considering the high quality of the food. Diners might encounter cod with Spanish olives and a carrot-ginger emulsion or fresh mackerel snacké (lightly seared) served with a hit of cucumber sorbet. Maybe duck hearts with caramelised onion jus and whipped potatoes. Or a dessert of rich, light chocolate mousse. It’s a surprise, and therein lies the appeal. Vincent Crépel leads diners on a culinary journey through terroir and season that Parisians and visitors alike can’t seem to get enough of; reservations are, therefore, a necessity if you want to try it for yourself.