Category Archives: France
Quick weekend in Paris on an unseasonably warm weekend in October. Early Eurostar mean breakfast in the first class lounge (Thank you American Express!) and lunch near the hotel while they were preparing the room. We were at the Best Western L’Etoile on Blvd Haussman near the Arc de Triomphe.
We went to a pretty modern restaurant on the Blvd called Restaurant Eugene. Full of chandeliers and flock wallpaper it offers French bistro cuisine with a modern edge. We had a selection of tartares of fish to start with which were zingy and bouncingly fresh. They were served with a light remoulade which complimented it beautifully. For mains we had a steak tartare which is my default position in a french restaurant. The tartare was delicious, came with perfectly cooked fries and interestingly was slightly grilled on either side. Like the best of both worlds, burger and tartare.
For dessert we had the largest profiteroles I have ever eaten. Light, crisp and delicious.
166, bd Haussmann, Paris, France. Tel: 01 42 89 00 13.
Next day we headed out to the Grande Arch at La Defense, the sort of Canary Wharf of Paris. It was another beautiful day but sadly the Arch seemed to be permanently closed so we sought consolation at a nearby bistro.
I started with Foie Fras which came with a caramelised nut bread with the texture of cake and was absolutely delicious, the best thing I have eaten in Paris by far.
Main was steak frites which was superb and for dessert Tarte Feulletee with Pomme and Poire. Absolutely excellent. All served with a perfectly chilled Sancerre.
Restaurant Le Paname, Le Parvis de La Défense 92800 Puteaux France
This easter I had the great fortune to stay with my good friends Francis and Adam in their hamlet in the south of France not far from Montpellier. Both Francis and Adam are great cooks and we enjoyed several superb meals with them making the most of the superb produce available in the region. On Easter Saturday we went out for a delightful meal in a neighbouring village Saint Rome-de-Tarn. Like many villages they take have many fetes during the year and tonight was no exception. Spirits were high despite the damp weather and as always I felt humbled by how welcoming the event was. It was especially good to see young and old people interacting and having fun.
Back to the meal, Hotel des Raspes is a very pretty hotel with a somewhat alpine feel to it. We were made to feel welcome immediately by our beautiful host and shown to our table. Wonderfully, in France other tables greet you as you make your way to your table and again as they leave. I’m not sure that this would happen in Paris however.
The set menu seemed to be the way to go. There were three menus, slightly rising in price. We all went for the Menu des Raspes which was the middle priced one at 30 Euros. The mise en bouch was an amazingly meaty mussel stuffed with sausage meat and served with a saffron sauce. Following that I had the foie gras salad and the others had the Coquille st Jacques. Both dishes came amazingly presented. My salad was in a basket made from a very thin galette and had a very generous portion of foie gras nestled in there. Sadly I didn’t take any photos as I just felt it would have been rude as it was so convivial.
For main course we all went for the lamb. This was excitingly prepared by a very dilligent chef in front of the fireplace which dominates the room. Coals were raked forward and the lamb was cooked on a rack above it. It came with wonderfully fresh seasonal vegetables including asparagus which was partially cooked in what seemed to be an omelette which was delicious.
Cheese course came next which offered wonderful local cheeses from the area which seem to be mostly sheep. Roquefort is only a couple of miles away which is pronounced ‘Rock-a-for’ by the way.
For dessert I had a marquis of chocolate which was again wonderfully rich and intense and an amazing way to finish the meal. For wine we just had a glass of house white with the starter and then a pichet of red which generally in France is always ‘ok’. This was pretty good.
Hotel Les Raspes
Avenue Denis Affre
12490 Saint Rome De Tarn – France