More and more Parisian restaurants are opening up to the explorations of Japanese-French fusion.
Sweetbread fusion (jlastras)
PARIS - Japanese chefs have been streaming into the French capital for the past ten years. Some remain faithful to the traditional Japanese cuisine, and delight their customers with the immensely rich gastronomy of the land of the rising sun. Others fall in love with French cuisine, and learn to master it in France's most famous restaurants or modern bistros. And then, there are those who want to do both.
Many a young chef who once trained à la française now work in a traditional Japanese cuisine restaurant in search of modernity, where their technical skills and fresh ideas are a valuable asset. Kura, which opened only two months ago, is a good example of this kind of fusion. The combination between savory traditional dishes and gourmet modernism featured in their kaiseki menu is simply irresistible. The restaurant is headed by Kura Kazu, formerly of Nobu London, who is assisted by Yoshita Takayanagi, a long-time associate of William Ledeuil (Ze Kitchen Galerie).
In the kitchen, Kura is in charge of Japanese dishes and Yoshita has to come up with creative French meals. Foie gras and fruit puree, sweetbreads served with peanut sauce, tender macaroons and kumquats are all signed by Yoshita; buckwheat noodle maki rolls, duck dumplings in rich broth, sushi, sashimi and swordfish served with soy sauce, sweet or salty, and seafood pot are courtesy of Kura. The result is masterfully balanced and original flavors.
At Kei, formerly known as Gérard Besson, the new owner Kobayashi Kei (trained at the Plaza Athénée and Crillon by Jean-François Piège) prepares French dishes bearing the subtle influence of Japanese culture. Think magnificent corn soup and sable cookies strewn with truffle flakes; or the perfect mushroom stock served in a Japanese cast iron hot pot, and served with a "ochoko" (cup) of sake. The lobster is reminiscent of Alain Ducasse's genius. The lamb and its crisp skin is a testimony of Kei's training in Alsace. On the negative side, the decor is a little too austere, the waiters somewhat ill-at-ease, and the wine mediocre and too expensive. It all adds up to a pricey meal (there is currently only one menu set at 80 euros, but that is expected to change soon).
Le Bistrot à Saké Issé is the perfect place for drinking saké while devouring Asian-French-Japanese tapas. The mind-blowing selection of saké is not only the largest in France but also in Japan, which makes the restaurant more than worth a visit. Tapas may be followed by pork brought straight from the Pyrenees and vegetables, sashimi (tuna, salmon or plaice), fish spring rolls, deep fried tofu served with dashi sauce, and accompanied by a glass of Dassai EU 50 saké. The service is still cautious (the restaurant opened only a week ago), and questions about saké may sometimes go unanswered.
Le Salon de Fromage Hisada, recently opened by Madam Hisada, offers a wide selection of cheeses. On the ground floor, Madam Hisada sells a large variety of cheeses, and degustation takes place in the tiny room situated on the first floor (there are only ten seats, hence the difficulty in getting a table). Here, cheese lovers can either order a generous tray of chesses, the plat du jour (usually Japanese), oven baked Mont d'Or and raclette. The menu includes home-made wasabi tofu (quite strong), green tea, yuzu and soy sauce (Japanese-style) and raclette- plain, smoked or made of goat milk, served with small potatoes and a selection of ham, bacon and sausages. Clients can quench their thirst with Basque cider, Belgian or Lorraine beer, Burgundy or Alsatian wine. There's no standing in the way of fusion.
56, rue des Boulainvilliers, 75016 (01 45 20 18 32).
Bistrot à Saké Issé
45, rue de Richelieu, 75001 (01 42 96 26 60).
Salon de Fromage Hisada
47, rue de Richelieu, 75001 (01 42 60 78 48).
Read the original article in French
Welcome to Monday, where an apparent coup is underway in Sudan, Colombia's most-wanted drug lord gets caught, and Michael Jordan's rookie sneakers score an auction record. We also focus on a report that the Thai government is abusing the country's centuries-old law to protect the monarchy from criticism (lèse-majesté) to target pro-democracy activists and protesters.
[*Zdraveite - Bulgarian]
🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Developing: Sudan leaders arrested amid military coup reports: Soldiers have arrested several members of Sudan's transitional government as well as civilian leaders, and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has reportedly been put under house arrest, in what the information ministry called a military coup. Pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets of the capital city Khartoum where there are reports of gunfire and clashes.
• Colombia's most wanted drug lord to be sent to U.S.: Colombia's most dangerous drug trafficker, known as Otoniel, was caught after a joint army, air force and police operation and faces extradition to the U.S. He led the country's largest criminal gang, and was on the U.S. most wanted list for years.
• Xi speech marks China's UN anniversary: China's President Xi Jinping marked the 50th anniversary of Beijing's entry into the United Nations with a speech calling for greater global cooperation, adding that issues like climate change, terrorism and cyber security needed multilateral solutions. Taiwan was not mentioned.
• German ISIS bride jailed for crimes against humanity: A German court has sentenced a German woman and former member of the Islamic State to 10 years in prison for letting a 5-year-old Yazidi enslaved girl die of thirst in Iraq. The case is one of the world's first trials to prosecute a war crime against the Yazidis.
• COVID update: The Beijing marathon scheduled next weekend has been postponed until further notice as China seeks to stamp out Delta variant outbreak and return to zero cases ahead of the Winter Olympics next February. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in Eastern Europe have surpassed the 20 million mark as the region fights against its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and vaccination efforts lag.
• Goodbye, Gunther: U.S. actor James Michael Tyler, best known for his role as the barista Gunther on the TV show Friends, has died at 59 of prostate cancer.
• Sneakers record: A pair of Michael Jordan's white-and-red Nike shoes, which he wore during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls in 1984, sold for $1.47 million — a new record price for sneakers at auction.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
"The end of a boss," titles Colombian daily El Espectador, reporting on the arrest of drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel, who had led Colombia's largest criminal gang and had been on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's most wanted list for years. He was captured in a raid and will be extradited to the U.S.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
A Georgia man is being prosecuted for wire fraud after spending most of his business's COVID relief loan to buy one Pokémon trading card for $57,789.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
How Thailand's "Lèse-Majesté" law is used to stifle all protest
Once meant to protect the royal family, the century-old law has become a tool for the military-led government in Bangkok to stamp out all dissent. A new report outlines the abuses.
👑 Thailand's Criminal Code "Lèse-Majesté" Article 112 imposes jail terms for defaming, insulting, or threatening the monarchy, with sentences of three to 15 years. This law has been present in Thai politics since 1908, though applied sparingly, only when direct verbal or written attacks against members of the royal family. But after the May 2014 military coup d'état, Thailand experienced the first wave of lèse-majesté arrests, prosecutions, and detentions of at least 127 individuals arrested in a much wider interpretation of the law.
🚨 The recent report "Second Wave: The Return of Lèse-Majesté in Thailand," documents how the Thai government has "used and abused Article 112 of the Criminal Code to target pro-democracy activists and protesters in relation to their online political expression and participation in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations." The investigation shows 124 individuals, including at least eight minors, have been charged with lèse-majesté between November 2020 and August 2021. The new wave of charges is cited as a response to the rising pro-democracy protests across Thailand over the past year.
💻 The more than a century-old law is now largely playing out online, where much of today's protest takes place in Thailand. Thai student activist Juthatip Sirikan says people are willing to go further on social media to expose information such as how the king intervenes in politics and the monarchy's accumulation of wealth, information the mainstream media rarely reports on them. Not surprisingly, however, social media is heavily monitored and the military is involved in Intelligence operations and cyber attacks against human rights defenders and critics of any kind.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"Children are going to die. People are going to starve."
— The United Nations warns that Afghanistan verges on a "total breakdown" as millions of Afghans, including children, could die of starvation unless urgent action is taken by the international community. The agency calls for the release of frozen assets to avoid economic and social collapse, despite concerns over the Taliban government. A recent report said that about 97% of Afghanistan's population may sink below the poverty line, and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley warned that more than half of Afghanistan's population of 39 million were facing acute food insecurity and "marching to starvation" in comparison to 14 million two months ago.
🕌 🔍 IN OTHER NEWS
Dutch cities have been secretly probing mosques since 2013
At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.
The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.
The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.
Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talked to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.
All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.
It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.
"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.
Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
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- Reading Rumi In Kabul: A Persian Poet's Lesson For Radical Islam ... ›
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