Dinners in Paris, and a long day for the fishmongers
June 27, 2019
First night nerves
We like to mark our evening of arrival in Paris with dinner at La Fontaine de Mars. You know you’re in Paris from the moment you step through the door.
This time I’d left it too late to make a reservation, so we gave Le Bistrot d’Eléonore et Maxence a call.
Le Maitre d’ greeted us when we arrived, and explained apologetically that our table wasn’t quite ready – ‘may I offer you une coupe de champagne while you’re waiting?’
It was a busy Saturday evening, the heavens had opened outside, and the diners were clearly in no hurry to vacate our table.
Le Maitre d’ apologised again, ‘I will pour you champagne, champagne, champagne until your table is ready’.
As it turned out, he was as good as his word, so we were quite mellow when we went to our table about 40 minutes later, after browsing the menu
Highlights from our meal included a starter of a poached egg on green summer vegetables, dressed with pesto; tuna tataki as a main (it would have fed three people!) and a tartare of hand cut Charolais veal.
It’s a small, lively restaurant in a residential area. The staff are friendly and attentive, even on a busy Saturday evening, and the food coming out of the tiny open kitchen was très bon.
Le Bistrot d’Eléonore et Maxence www.le-bem.com
It was a real find, I wish it had an equivalent where I live.
(Actually, it does. If you live in west London you could save the price of the Eurostar ticket by booking a table at Le Petit Citron in Shepherds Bush).
La Fontaine de Mars
We were able to revisit La Fontaine later in the week. It’s one of those reassuring places that never changes; even the waiters seem to sign up for life.
The menus are laminated, and there’s a classic every day. ‘It’s Sunday, so it must be poulet roti, pommes de terre puree’. Evidemment.
They bring a blackboard to your table with daily specials (there’s always cassoulet) and my starter of asparagus and poached egg with foie gras sauce didn’t disappoint.
The FT’s restaurant critic recently wrote something like ‘it couldn’t be more French than Piaf singing La Marseillaise with a string of onions round her neck’. He wasn’t wrong.
Read more about La Fontaine de Mars in “Paris is always a good idea” https://wp.me/p7AW4i-iV
129, Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris 75007 0033 (0)1 47 05 46 44
On the day of departure it made sense to have lunch locally. “Our” apartment in the 7th is in a residential neighbourhood, and there aren’t many restaurants on the doorstep.
We booked d’chez eux, which very roughly translates as ‘from their home’.
It was Mothers’ day, so there were several tables of three….
The menu is on the pricey side, and we weren’t looking for the full ‘Français’ before taking the train home, so we went for the prix fixe, choosing oeufs russes followed by the seabass, which was beautifully cooked, and a glass of Aligoté.
We’re not big on puddings, but this was our main meal of the day, so a crème caramel seemed appropriate, as did something that looked like Irish coffee on the menu, and turned out to be a plate with dark chocolate mousse, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a profiterole, and an espresso on the side.
Market shopping on avenue de Saxe
We shopped at Avenue de Saxe midweek,
where the best produce attracts the longest queue….
I’ve always been amused by the expression ‘French breakfast radish’
It’s more than a food market, and everything is in season.
The Ladies of the 7th go out in force with their trolleys
Food shopping recommendations on rue Cler & avenue de Saxe – https://wp.me/p7AW4i-k5
Lunch on rue Cler, where it had been a long day for the fishmongers
Le Petit Cler is a café owned by La Fontaine de Mars. We pitched up for a late lunch, and it was filling up fast; we didn’t have a reservation, but the manager was charming, and promised to seat us – he had a booking who hadn’t turned up yet; he would give them another five minutes, then he would give us their table.
On the dot of the fifth minute they arrived, but shortly afterwards we had secured a table outside, and felt very smug as a queue formed on the street.
As we tucked into our croque monsieur and tartine de chevre, it became obvious that the fishmongers opposite at La Sablaise had had a long and busy day; closing the shop was a laborious process. Quantities of ice were being shovelled into the gutter outside to be flushed into the drain.
They too were in need of refreshment.
A waiter from nearby Café Roussillon delivered a big bowl of frites, and a tray laden with beers, a glass of wine and an Aperol spritz.
Outside a couple of passing children invented a new street game; ‘Breaking the Ice’.
Shortly afterwards one of the mongers took the tray back to the café, and returned with another round of drinks.
And more frites. Naturellement, comme d’habitude….