We’ve long had our eye firmly fixed on swish Parisian neighbourhood Le Marais, just recently effusing about openings from mod-minimal menswear retailer Wooyoungmi to chic eatelier Les Chouettes, and yet another reason to take a totter through this historic enclave (not that you needed one) is new izakaya-style diner SoMa. A far cry from your average Japanese drinking den, a perch at this dim-lit, blond wood bar is highly coveted, and why? Because the man at the pass is Laotian chef Sourasack Phongphet, formerly of the acclaimed and much-missed Franco-Nippon concept Ploum.
First things first, you’ll need to book well in advance as there are only ten hotly contested seats encircling the manga-lined counter, behind which the chef dons his signature straw hat and preps an omakase menu. The theatrics of open-counter cooking should distract any rumbling tums, until presented with deftly grilled beef filet glazed with ponzu, mirin and chives; creamy wasabi-battered shrimp tempura; and a caramel pain perdu with green tea-flavoured ice-cream and red berries. For the full Nippon experience, pair with a bottle of their expertly curated sakes, including a Nada-sourced Shirakabegura Daiginjo or an umeshu plum liqueur. Ganbei!
13 rue de Saintonge, 3rd / +33 9 81 82 58 51 / closed Mon / facebook.com/SOMA-Japanese-Bistro