Category Archives: Paris
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
On the last day of our trip we were going to try a restaurant that had been featured on many travelogues and also reviewed on Essex Eatings great blog. It was right by the station so we could spend our last hour enjoying great french bistro food before plodding back to St Pancras. In the end we decided that we would have to lug our luggage with us so decided to eat somewhere before heading back to the station.
Paris has a fantatic bike hire system which we think is soon to be adopted by Boris in London. You use your credit card to subscribe to the scheme, then I think it something like 1 euro per hour. There are 400 racks where you can pick up or drop off the bike and after initial confusion with how to release a bike, we found the system easy to use. We had a fantastic time whizzing down boulevards and generally getting lost in neighbourhoods we hadn’t visited already.
Outside of Le Bar a Huitres we were immediately attracted to the display of seafood perched on a mountain of ice outside of the restaurant. We chained the bikes up to a handy railing nearby and headed inside past a large tank of lobsters. Mmm my menu choice was deciding itself for me.
We sat in a covered verandah and ordered a half bottle of Sancerre. We both took advantage of the blue lobster deal which offered 9 oysters, a whole lobster and a dessert for 45 euros which we thought was a pretty good deal. The oysters can come on ice or natural which appeared to be on a bed of seaweed. They came on ice and were plump and tasty.
The lobster quickly followed and came with rice and some sauteed vegetables. They tied bibs on us before we ate. I took a look around to see if anyone was sniggering. My paranoia told me that they only do this to foreigners. No one else was eating lobster so will never know. The lobster was dismembered using an array of implements that made the table look like a scene from the movie ‘Dead Ringers’ (google it). I enjoyed extracting as much protein as I could from the plump crustacean, though as always was disappointed by the golfball sized pile of meat I managed to harvest from each half of lobster. Sadly my biggest mouthful had a piece of shell in it so I spent a few minutes trying to decided the etiquette for its removal. After trying to seperate it for a while with my tongue I ended up choosing the worst option and spitting the whole lot into the cloth napkin. I placed it on the side but was dismayed when the waitress tried to relay it on my lap showering me with half chewed bits of lobster.
There was a great choice of desserts. Mine looked like madness on a plate but tasted delicious. Sorry about the photo. This is all still new to me so I took a bite before remembering to take a snap. It was Pistachio Financiers Cake with mango sorbet, Brandy snap basket with creme patisserie. I thought it was delicious in a retro sort of way.
The meal left us satisfied without being full which was great as we were heading back to the hotel before heading to the Eurostar. I would definately recommend eating here if you get the chance. Just dispose of your lobster more discretely than me!
We decided to eat at La Fontaine de Mars following a very positive review from Kang on his excellent London Eater Blog. We booked in for our final night via the concierge and got a great table seat on a very narrow pavement. Squeezing in of elbows was required occasionally to let pedestrians past but it was charming all the same.
We started with a couple of glasses of champagne and took a look at the menu though to be honest, I had decided what to eat before I got there thanks to Kang’s mouthwatering descriptions and previewing the menu ahead of time on the internet.
We shared our starter of Oeufs au Madiran ” façon meurette ” which were softly fried eggs on a reduction of shallots and red wine avec huge chunks of bread. It was utterly delicious and they kindly split the dish into two seperate servings so we could devour them unhindered. Eggs in France are marvelous. They take me back to my childhood when eggs were full of flavour. The yolks were huge and deep orange. I imagine it must be something to do with their diet. I hope it wasn’t because of the addition of colouring. Made a mental note to myself to see if I could buy french imported eggs in London. I bet you can.
For mains I followed Kangs advice and had the duck confit which was deliciously crisp and flavourful. Often duck confit is so rich that it leaves you with a ‘carsick’ feeling after eating it but this contained moist flavourfull flesh and didn’t taste greasy at all even though it was served with fried potatoes as an accompaniment.
Rich had the fish which was the special that day. He kind of liked it, the fish was moist and well cooked but the choice of accompaniment clashed slightly with the fish and in the end his opinion was ‘It was ok.’
For desert my long term wish came true and I tried the Illes Flotante. I first saw this dish on Masterchef, it appeared to be small islands of meringue floating in a sea of custard. The one we were seved instead had a huge Krakatoa of an island surrounded by sauce anglais. It looked and tasted delicious and light. We followed this with a well put together plate of cheese with a basket of wonderfully fresh bread.
Service was precise and friendly. We were told a little about Obama and families visit earlier that year and learned how the road was closed and the street swarmed with security.
Overall I really enjoyed this restaurant which lacked any form of pretension, had honest well cooked food and cheery service.
No I didn’t stay there. Wish I could afford to though. I’m a great fan of the Four Seasons brand. I’ve been lucky enough to stay in their hotels a few times and found the stays to be pretty breathtaking. Service is impeccable, the facilities amazing and the prices bordering on astronomical.
We tested this when we recently visited Paris. The Four Seasons George V is not far from the Champs Elysees and the Avenue George V. The lobby area is just extraordinary combining 17th Century tapestries with contemporary tastefulness.
The bar area seemed quite busy so we headed for the courtyard which is overlooked by the hotel rooms in the center of the hotel. No sign of a menu. It always worries me being seated at a bar or restaurant without knowing what the prices will be. We agreed that we would pay up to 20 euros for a cocktail. Surely it couldn’t be more than that. They gauge it pretty well because after we were seated at a beautiful table overlooking the bizarre central floral display we opened the menu and found that cocktails were 24 euros each. We decided that the best value would be a bottle of wine, the cheapest being a Poilly Furmee for 65 euros.
Service was amazingly friendly and attentive. Nibbles of olives and nuts were replaced regularly and time was passed extremely pleasantly. We asked for some tap water and were bought a bottle of Evian. ‘This is our tap water’ the waitress remarked. Sensing our worries she said ‘There is no charge of course for water’.
We both remarked that this was probably the best value 65 euros that we spent in Paris, room rates are around the 500 euro mark which initially seem expensive but if the quality is as good as the bar area it will definately be worth researching next time we visit.