Friday, 28 June 2013

Paris (Part 3) : La Régalade, St. Honoré and Carette

The original La Régalade is situated way out of town which can be a bit of a trek. The sister restaurant, luckily, is located in a more easily accessible venue, on rue St. Honoré . Serving the same superb food as its original and only a stone throw away from the buzzing Les Halles and popular Louvre. The food here is excellent and well cooked. As is the complimentary big pot of delicious meat terrine. With crusty baguette and tangy cornichon, this is always a welcome treat while you wait for your entrée.  Eat as much as you want and stop when you have had enough.

For a mere €35 for the Prix Fixe menu, you get really generous portion of well conceived and beautifully cooked food. Some highlights include crabmeat and artichoke tower in a delicately spiced lemongrass curry foam that work superbly together. The hint of subtle heat brought out the juicy sweetness of the crab and the explosion of the aromatic spices tingle all taste bud in a rather exciting way.

Chair de tourteau fraîche liée aux artichauts, jus citronnelle-curry:

Seasonal white asparagus were topped with a perfectly poached egg. Soft, just set egg white, when cut open, revealed a sturdy, golden yolk that burst into runny lusciousness. Magret duck breast cooked tender and pink in a sweet candied roasted red pepper sauce so good that it called for more baguette to mop it all up. This plate was clean by the time it reached the kitchen.

Blanches d'asperges , sauce vinegrette aux herbs, 'Onsen' œuf:

Magret de canard au poivre noir, pommes de terre grenailles, coulis de poivrons rouges confits:

Pavé de cabillaud rôti aux épices douces, courgette and champignons à l'aneth, jus mousseux au haddock:

Even the puddings were of the highest calibre and equally generous. None more so that their giant soufflé chaud au Grand Marnier tower. It was light, it was boozy, it was comforting, it was everything you want in a soufflé and more. In simple words, it was super! The soup de fraises au vin rouge a.k.a. strawberries red wine soup was just as good, the sweet strawberries gently macerated in a boozy punch was a delight. Not forgetting the complimentary madeleine that finish off the meal nicely. C'est parfait!

Like most of the restaurants in Paris, walk-ins are almost impossible so make sure you make a reservation well in advance.

Soufflé chaud au Grand Marnier:

Soupe de fraises au vi rouge comme une sangria, crème glacée vanille:

The Chefs:

La Régalade, 123 Rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris
Tel: 01 42 21 92 40
Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Les Halles
Open: Mon-Fri (Lunch 12:00pm - 2:30pm; Dinner 7:00pm - 10:30pm) 

Patisserie Carrette Vorges

The best way to spent a beautiful Sunday morning if you are in no rush is to take a stroll through Place de Vosges and find yourself a terrace table in Carette, Salon de thé situated underneath the arches. It is a great venue for people watching and also a spot of brunch or light lunch. My favourite is their œufs brouillés aux fine herbs (scrambled eggs with chives) which I tend to order whenever I visit. What you get is a plateful of rich, buttery eggs with generous helpings of chives and two light flakey puff pastry batons. The sandwiches here are fresh and beautifully presented. They also have a wide arrays of patisserie to cater to your sweet tooth. To be honest with you, there might be places out there in Paris that probably serve better lunch but the atmosphere and view here is pretty unbeatable. This is where local parisian and the great and famous gathers to relax in the park. Come here on a Sunday morning to chill and you'll find yourself mesmerised by the French cafe culture. C'est la vie!

Carette, 25 place des Vosges 75003 Paris
Tel: 01 48 87 94 07
Métro: Chemin Vert, Saint-Paul, Bréguet - Sabin
Open: Mon-Sun (7:30am - 11:30pm)

See also:
Paris (Part 1) : Fish La Boissonnerie, Le 6 Paul Bert and Le Bistro Paul Bert
Paris (Part 2) : Chez Georges
Paris (Part 4) : Café in Paris - 10 Belles and La Caféothèque

Monday, 24 June 2013

Paris ( Part 2) : Chez Georges

I'm dedicating this entire post to this restaurant due to the fact that it remains my favourite restaurant in Paris of all time and after coming here time and time again, my affection for this charming establishment has never withered. This is the granddaddy of all traditional French bistro/brasserie/restaurant, one that has spawn many inferior imitation (hello Balthazar). Unlike all these pretentious modern doppelgänger, Chez Georges is the real Mccoy. I would even go as far as to say if you have never been here, you have never been to a real Bistro.

Hidden away quietly on rue du mail, the facade and decor might look dated to passerby, but that is precisely its alluring charm. As you walked through the weather-beaten doors and led into the long narrow dining room, you could almost be in an old French movie set, rubbing shoulders with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier. The table setting here is undoubtedly cosy, the matron'd and had to skilfully pull out the table to allow diners to comfortably slide into their seating before graceful replaced the table back to its former arrangement. No one batters an eyelid even during busy time as this is what they are accustomed to. The handwritten menu (printed English menu is available) here remain unchanged for years but you do get the plat du jour for those after something different. However, most diners returned for their reliable hearty menu options. Even the waitresses looks like they have been here since the bistro first open, clad in their austere black and white, marching thorough the dining room with military precision. Tables are properly set and changed in less than 2 minutes in between service and that's how efficient they are.

The food here is generous and and the portion sizing are huge. Potted goose (Rilettes d'Oie) comes in a large ceramic bowl plonked before you with a jug of pickled conichorns and limitless bread basket. The idea is to have as much as your heart desires and stop when you are contend. A word of caution as this velvety meat terrine is highly addictive and filling so remember to save yourself for the rest of your meal. It will be a shame to skip the puddings here. Their poached eggs in red wine (Œuf Meurette) is superb, perfectly poached eggs that oozes into the rich, punchy sauce that is both earthy and comforting, best mop up with some of the crusty bread. Their Frisée salad with crispy lardons and poached eggs are not to missed. Even simple faire like the Lentils salad was dressed in the most beautiful dressing - salty, sweet and tangy in equal measures, truly refreshing and moreish. The Escargots served here (options of 6,9 or 12) are the best you are going to get in Paris. I have had some dodgy, gritty ones but these are soft and tender, drenched in warm, buttery garlicky sauce. It's best to share a starter here if you want to be able to last till the pudding. Trust me!

Rilette d'Oie (Potted Goose) :

Œuf Meurette (Poached eggs in wine sauce):

Salade de Lentilles (Lentils salad):

Gros Escargots de Borgogne (Burgundy snail, garlic butter):

The quality of cooking is just as impressive with their mains. Salmon cooked just enough to flakes off without being dry, served in a creamy sorrel sauce. Too rich for me but superb nonetheless. Great hunk of Turbot was perfectly grilled and served with a jug of freshly made decadent Béarnaise sauce on the side. But for the few times that I've been, their steak is unbeatable. Fillet and entrecôte were cooked rare (ask for medium if you wish but the very mention of 'well-done', you will be treading on dangerous ground here), served with excellent crispy fries. The entrecôte comes with a bowl of generous and indulgent huge bone marrow (a heart-attack waiting to happen). Who need sauce when you can simply spread these over the charred steak.

Coer de Filet de Boeuf (Beef fillet steak, Béarnaise sauce, French fries) :

Entrecôte Grillée à la Moelle (Grilled entrecôte, French fries):

Bone marrows for the entrecôte:

Escalope de Saumon à l'Oseille (Salmon in cream sauce sprinkled with sorrel):

Pavé de Turbot Grillé Béarnaise (Grilled Turbot, Béarnaise Sauce):

And if you think that's it, did you nor remember my warning about their pudding. If you managed to pace yourself and come this far, their puddings are just as generous and spectacular. My favourite is their profiteroles - two humongous light sioux pastry balls, filled with ice cold vanilla ice cream and laden with hot, oozy bitter chocolate sauce. The contrasting temperature elevate this to another level. Another great include their Mille Feuille. The pastry were deceitfully dense yet flakes delicately when bite into it. Perfect rendition of how a 'thousand layers' should be. Tarte Tartin, with is own large bowl of cream too, were sweet and deletable.

If you only have time for one meal in Paris, this is the one that should be on the top on your list. Ring ahead and make reservation. Lunchtime seems to be an easier time to get a table.

Profiteroles Glacés au Chocolat Chaud (Glacée Profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce):

Tarte Tartin (upside down apple pie):

Mille Feuille à la Vanille Bourbon (Vanilla Napoleon):

Chez Georges, 1 rue du mail, 75002 Paris
Tel: 01 42 60 07 11
Métro: Bourse
Open: Mon-Fri (Lunch & Dinner, €120-130 for 3 course with a bottle of wine)

See also:
Paris (Part 1) : Fish La Boissonnerie, Le 6 Paul Bert and Le Bistro Paul Bert
Paris (Part 3) : La Régalade, St. Honoré and Carette
Paris (Part 4) : Café in Paris - 10 Belles and La Caféothèque

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Paris (Part 1) : Fish La Boissonnerie, Le 6 Paul Bert and Le Bistro Paul Bert

Paris is one of my favourite city. Over the years I have been here many times and have had so many wonderful meals here but I have never written about them. I recently returned to this amazing city once again for a birthday trip and I thought I will take this opportunity to dedicate my next few posts to the food of this beautiful city of culinary delights, kind of like my little black book if you like. There are just too many places to write about in one go but I will try to squeeze in as much as I can. Bon Appetit!

Fish la Boissonnerie

Fish La Boissonnerie is a true hidden gem nestled amidst St Germain. Do not let the name fools you into thinking this is just a seafood restaurant. The name is merely a witty play on the expression - to drink like a fish. The venue used to be an old fish market - Poissonerrie and the owners decided to change the word to Boissonerie. Boisson means to drink' and Poisson mean 'Fish' and hence, the unique name is born.

This is a small establishment and table seatings are set on the cosy side. However, the counter by the bar is great for solo dining. For a spot of quick lunch, go for the daily 'Flying Fish' lunch special. Great value where you get a salad and an entrée for €14.50. The food on their regularly updated menu is consistently good quality and always imaginative. Superbly fresh produce are treated with the utmost respect. One of my favourite dishes from here was the roast pork belly - soft tender porky flesh with stonkily good crackling; perfectly seasoned lentils with just enough 'bite' and in-season huge white asparagus which was tender and sweet. No emulsion and no foam. Just simple good food. Dishes like the salmon tartare with tandoori spice showcased inventive flavours combination that actually works. The restaurant also offer an extensive wine list. Ask for recommendation from the knowledgeable bar staff if you are at lost on what to order.

 Interestingly, all the staff here speak English and most are from English -speaking country so if you re tired of struggling with the wonderful language of French, this premises provide a great refuge. Another plus point for this restaurant is that it is one of the rare few that opens on Sunday. Make sure you make a reservation as this place is always bustling.

Salade de Betteravves, Champignons de Paris, Sumac:

Tartare de Saumon,condinent Tandori et Corriandre:

Lieu Jaune avec, Choux de Pontoise, Ogre et Jus de Poulet:

Ventreche de Cochon, Lentilles, Asperges Blanches, Sucrine:

Carrot Cake, Nougatine de Noisette Fumèe, Glace Lait Reduit:

Fromages - Bleu des Causes, Tomme de Crayeuse, Coulommiers:

Fish la Boissonnerie, 69 rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
Tel: 0143543469 
Metro: Mabillon or Odéon
Opens: Mon-Sun
Lunch: 12:30pm-3:00pm (A la carte, €14.50, €26.50)
Dinner: 7:00pm-12am (€31.50, €35) 

Le 6 Paul Bert

This modern bistro in the 11th arrondissement is just a stone throw away from it's brother restaurant, Bistro Paul Bert (see below) but food wise, they couldn't be more further apart. The food here is imaginative and vibrant. Like Fish La Boissonnerie, the focus is on good produce that is perfectly cooked using uncomplicated techniques. Another reliable establishment that have been consistently churning out good food the few times I was there. Some outstanding dishes include juicy and flavoursome roast chicken served with creamy, buttery parsnip mash; Succulent pork onglet with rich bean stew and charred Brussels sprouts. Their wine list too, is rather impressive and includes some excellent natural wine.

It is definitely advisable to make reservation as the bistro is always busy. However, if you were to be turned away due to no reservation, you can always console yourself with some freshly made sandwiches, charcuterie and cheeses from their epicerie located at the front of the bistro on your way out.

Bresse rôtie, persils tubéreux, héliantis:

Onglet de porc,haricots œil noir, immortal:

Tarte au chocolat armer, huile d'olive:

Le 6 Paul Bert 6, rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris
Tel: 01 43 79 14 32
Métro: Faidherbe-Chaligny
Opens: Mon-Fri (Monday dinner only)
Lunch: 12:00pm-2:30pm (A la carte, €15 for 2 courses, €18 for 3 courses)
Dinner: 7:30pm-11.30pm (€38 for 4 courses) 

Le Bistro Paul Bert

Bistro Paul Bert is just down the road from it's sister restaurant, Le 6 Paul Bert. This is a classic french bistro and the decor reflect this with it's many flea market procurement. The menu is written on a blackboard that changes daily according to season.

This is considered as an institution in Parisian Bistro circle. I have never been until this recent trip. In some ways, I'm beginning to wonder if that is a blessing in disguised.

I have heard many good things about this Bistro and some hailed it as a carnivores' heaven and in some way, it is. On the night I patron, my pork chop was incredibly generous. It occupied the entirety of my large plate and stood at about a couple of inches tall. And I did managed to sneak a peek at my neighbour's steak which was of equally impressively size. But beyond that, the meal were a tad ordinary. The crispy anchovies were decent enough and the fresh mayonnaise was good but the poached eggs in red wine sauce (Œufs en meurette) were a tad sharp and the sauce was way too smokey and thin, I have had some fantastic version of this in another famous Bistro, Chez Georges (I will talk more bout this in the next post) so this came as a disappointment. My pork chop was flavoursome but I did mourned at the missing crackling. Without which, that thick layer of fat was slightly insipid and uninviting. However, saving grace came in the form of their outstanding raw cheese board. Quite possibly the best I have ever had!

It might just be one of their off nights but I think I will stick to their better half down the road for now and come back just for the cheese board.

Friture d'anchois Prais, sauce tartare:

Œufs en meurette:

Sole du guilrinec au beurre citronné:

Côte de cochon permier et ses conchiglioni:

Bistro Paul Bert, 18 rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris
Tel: 01 43 79 14 32
Métro: Faidherbe-Chaligny
Opens: Tue-Sat 
Lunch: 12:00pm-2:00pm (A la carte, €18 for 2 courses,€36 for 3 courses)
Dinner: 7:30pm-11.30pm (A la carte, €36 for 3 courses) 

See also:
Paris (Part 2) : Chez Georges
Paris (Part 3) : La Régalade, St. Honoré and Carette
Paris (Part 4) : Café in Paris - 10 Belles and La Caféothèque


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