I’m not really sure how to approach an article about Paris without it sounding terribly self gratifying and a bit “look at me” which are two of the things I hate most about writing. So, I’ll get this bit over with quickly and then cut straight to the important stuff. We went for a weekend, sans children, as a celebration of birthdays and anniversaries which would basically cover us for the year. Just two nights, staying in Montmartre where I booked the loveliest B&B. We enjoyed some of the most delicious food I’ve tasted in years, found yet more treasure to add to our rather overflowing collection of car boot / junk shop finds and generally had a really nice time.
I know Paris pretty well. After London, I’ve probably spent more time there than anywhere else and I love it. Every trip lends itself to new experiences and new adventures and it’s all just a couple of hours away by train….no airports, no flying, heaven!
So now to the important stuff – firstly, where we ate.
We were told on good authority that Frenchie is the restaurant of the moment. Tucked away on Rue De Nil in the 2nd, it’s small, unassuming, packed to the beams and completely delicious. After enjoying an aperitif in the tapas/wine bar opposite the main restaurant, we were treated to a 7 course taster menu cooked by head chef and owner Gregory Marchand and his perfectly formed team. It would be nothing short of boring to list the food so lets just say this, after some of the most incredible flavours I have ever experienced, the desert (number 2) was topped with white chocolate snow….a taste I shall be trying to recreate for a very very long time. That’s all you need to know. Go, if you can, it really is wonderful. And if you can’t get a table in the main restaurant, Frenchie’s Wine Bar serves some of the best tapas you’ll find in Paris. It gets crazy busy and queues quickly stretch all the way down the cobbles, so get there early – closed weekends.
Tucked away on Rue De Nil in the 2nd, it’s small, unassuming, packed to the beams and completely delicious.
Frenchie Restaurant, 5-6, rue du Nil – 75002 Paris – 01 40 39 96 19
And now for something completely different……
If we’re really honest, what we actually fancied after a full day of walking and looking and a little bit of buying, was red wine and frites, but we decided to be adventurous and found ourselves in the 11th in Le Dauphin. Resembling more of a shrine to marble and mirrors than your usual Parisian cool interior, Le Dauphin comes from reknowned chef Inaki Aizpitarte and is located just a few doors down from his better known Le Chateaubriand on Avenue Parmentier. They serve small plate food and nothing is quite what you expect. If you’re looking for traditional french then this isn’t the restaurant for you but if you’re keen to try something a bit different then it works on all levels. We shared 6 plates, my favourite being the escargots with celery risotto which sounds awful but was actually delicious and not like any risotto I’ve ever tasted before, mainly because there wasn’t a grain of rice present in the whole dish. Maybe this was the french version of Heston’s snail porridge… who knows. Jay Jay would have happily eaten platefuls of the ricotta with honey and almonds which really was a lovely way to end a meal.
Resembling more of a shrine to marble and mirrors than your usual Parisian cool interior, Le Dauphin comes from reknowned chef Inaki Aizpitarte.
If there was anything vaguely intimidating about Le Dauphin, it would be the clientele, who were all a little bit too cool for school and possibly came for the mirrors as much as the food. The place itself was perfectly charming, as was our waiter who seemed strangely aware of the image it was accidentally portraying…it was almost as if the food and service was apologising for the rather cold Rem Koolhaas interior. At the time I wasn’t sure how much I liked it but I’ve found myself thinking about it rather fondly ever since and would certainly recommend it. If you do go, sit in the far right corner. There’s a table for 2 surrounded by mirrors and it makes for very entertaining photographic interludes between courses.
Le Dauphin - interior
131, avenue Parmentier
01 55 28 78 88
It’s almost more exhausting writing about it all than it was eating it all. That’s as much as I can manage for now.
Next week: Where to Stay in Paris.
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