Au Passage – a lucky find

I had tried to leave a message to book a table at Le Clown Bar, but the answering machine was full, and when I arrived, so was the restaurant.

I struck lucky on Googlemaps – there was a highly rated place 200 meters away, tucked down an unpromising alley. Au Passage.

It was also fully booked, but I could sit at the bar, where the barman poured me a glass of champagne and humoured my desire to speak French. He explained the menu and advised ordering three of the small plates.

I chose Stracciatella with fresh tomato and knackebrod, a cool and refreshing cheese like a “tomato gelato” and a glass of “Mac a bu 100%”. Creamy, mineral Macabeo, fresh and hazy.

Then monkfish liver, which tasted like saline foie gras, cooked medium rare, with leeks, mini cucumbers, and raspberries. Pinot Noir from St Pourcain worked well, light and earthy.

Raw cucumber “chips” marinated in gin. Miso, nasturtium leaf, with mayonnaise underneath. It arrived late, so a glass of Loosen Riesling, light and floral, seemed like the thing to do. All the wines were served in 125cl so I could try something different with each dish.

I finished with wild dill (Aneth) ice cream, and a shot of Noilly Prat on the side. “Pour it over “au colonel”, drink it, or “tous les deux” (or both). Creamy aniseed, lightly sweet, seasoned by the savoury note of the vermouth, a kind of affogato.

I declined the Assiette des fromages Anglaises – which was Durrus, Lincolnshire Poacher and Stilton, cut from large wedges on the bar.  

A poster on the wall caught my eye – a cartoon of a guillotine, caption “Le client est Roi!”

Two sittings, evenings only, no reservations for the second one.

From their website http://www.restaurant-aupassage.fr/en/

“Service tattooed, back squat – atmosphere harbor district, washed down with Organic wine”

(I have no idea….)

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