September 16, 2016
I was looking for a restaurant for my first evening on arrival in Paris. Terroir Parisien was right around the corner from my hotel, and seemed to tick all my boxes.
It’s a locavore’s dream. At chef Yannick Alleno’s bistrot, the produce of Isle de France is the star – lots of blackboards crediting its provenance. There is no hiding behind fussy technique – this is simple cooking, done really well.
It’s a light modern room with a central bar, and an open kitchen. (Most of the kitchen staff were women, with one dude sporting a white “Sicilian Coppola” cap).
My reservation had been confirmed, and offered the choice I sat at a table. Everything was helpfully explained by my waiter.
It had been a hot day, so I started with a cold soup of beetroot “from Mr Berrurier”. Chilled, smooth, velvety, no cream. The flavour earthy, with a refreshingly sharp hit of (sherry?) vinegar, and a slick of olive oil. Peas and tiny cubes of cucumber added texture.
With it a glass of Roussillon blanc, nectarine and mineral.
Four men of a certain age sat at the next table. (I was reminded of the play “Art” by Yasmin Reza….). One of them ordered a dish that looked good – a Paris mushroom filled with a soft egg, and girolles – a first taste of autumn.
I followed with a simple grilled veal chop, which came French trimmed, at least 1 1/2″ thick, well seared but pink and tender with a thyme jus, and roasted summer vegetables (again from Mr Berrurier) – courgette, carrot, turnip, radish, shallot quarters and waxy potato.
There was beautiful sourdough baguette on the side. When I was brought a second basket the bread was warm and still elastic from the local bakery.
A glass of red Marcillac “Le sang del pays” (blood of the land) 2014 Domaine de Cros was a good choice. Light and fruity with a slatey firmness.
Cheeses: Merle rouge? Light, sweet, St Nectairish, worked well with marmalade de coing (quince jam, loose set and chunky). Creamy Brillat Savarin, a Brie de Meaux (funky, ripe), Bleu de Chèvre d’Isle de France.
A glass of Vieille de Prune eau-de-vie to finish. Wow, forgotten how good it is, warm, fruity and rich.
A very satisfying start to my brief Parisian adventures….
REVISITED in NOVEMBER 2016
Butternut soup, cream flavoured with hazelnut oil
Scallops, slow-simmered leeks, saffron emulsion
“Caviar of the poor” (Beluga lentils, nutmeg cream, warm blinis)