Paris It’s a woodsy dish, a delicately assembled amuse-bouche. We’d just about come to terms with the idea of nibbling on insects, but now we’re expected to eat branches? Starred chef David Toutain, who spent three years with Alain Passard coaxing the best out of vegetables, loves playing with moss, droplets and leaf veins. He has created a branch from salsifyyes, salsifycovered in a grooved bark. Served on a river stone, it has a lingering flavor of chestnut and is dipped in a cream made from white chocolate and parsnip.
Porto Rui Paula, star of a Portuguese TV cooking show, is a leading light of the local movida and enfant terrible of cuisine, famous for his whimsical, illusionistic creations. A meal at DOP, his playful yet chic starred restaurant, is as pleasing to the eye as to the taste buds: a “mock truffle” (photo) that’s actually an alheira sausage with roasted black olives; and a reconstructed neo-orange featuring an outer layer of orange paste around a fondant core of basil that gives this bizarre fruit a herbal freshness free from any acidity. Who said you aren’t supposed to play with your food?
Largo de São Domingos, 18. Tél. +351 22 201 4313.www.doprestaurante.pt
Tokyo Level -1: an immersion in stone. In the basement of a modern ryokan, Noriyuki Hamada explores the asceticism of a retreat dug out of the entrails of the earth. A mise-en-bouche sets the stage for a geological rite of passage: a black, gold-veined fossil wafer. This shard of stone as light as the wind is made from bamboo charcoal, cheese and fishbones. In this magmatic cracker, Hamada conjures up the underground history of this ryokan, built on the foundations of the powerful homes that surrounded the shogun’s castle during the Edo period.