Septime is a medium sized one star Michelin with lots of 2-top tables and an open kitchen. The tables are a bit larger and better spaced which makes it easier to move around than some other restaurants. One side of the space is filled with windows looking out to the street. On the opposite wall a lovely garden fills the space not occupied by the kitchen. It is basically 2 rooms with more windows between the two rooms and a large bar/coffee area taking up a lot of the entry room. No music and no art anywhere. There are lots of staff and most seem easily conversant in English, but for the most part are rather impersonal. We were there at lunch when they offer a 6 course surprise menu with an optional cheese course for additional charge. They have a menu of courses but we observed that all guests did not receive the same courses and indeed we did not get what was printed on the suggested menu. We were there at the beginning of service and the room did fill as did the noise level. It was a pretty casual crowd and the pacing was fairly brisk.
The menu started with a raw scallop, lemon, yogurt, lavage and celery root dish that was nice to the taste but very mildly flavored. It was not bad but not great either and it was best when you could get a bit of each ingredient in the bite.
The soup was a combination of potato, leek, chervil, haddock and fish velouté. The haddock was cut into small chunks and mixed with some other ingredients that were crunchy. It was a good combination of tastes and textures.
Brill was the next course. It was served with chard and roasted hazelnuts with a perfect sauce. The fish was wonderful and the nuts added a needed textural contrast as well as a great toasty flavor. The chard was blended with turnip which added a slight bitter component, but mild. Personally I would have left out the turnip as the chard blended so well with the fish and sauce. This course was in place of the menu’s octopus.
The next course also differed from the printed menu in that it was venison instead of duck. It was served with a grilled radicchio and a beet root purée. The meat was cooked nicely rare and on top a very savory meat juice. The radicchio was not at all stringy and covered with a toasted herb that it didn’t really need but did look nice and blended well with the meat.
The pre-dessert was a pear and lovage sorbet with mushroom cream. The cream really did have a mushroom essence but the pear was too mild. The two flavors were good apart as well as combined. In a very un-Michelin way you kept your spoon for the next course.
The dessert was a goat cheese semifreddo on the bottom topped with a lemon marmalade sabayon and adorned with sweet, crispy walnuts. The nuts added mainly textural contrast to the creamy concoction that had good amount of sweetness.