Three hot restaurants to visit in Paris in spring 2015
Deciding where to eat in Paris is just as stressful as where to eat in London. There’s just too much choice
Fortunately my husband is an assiduous researcher and came up with these three - all within (energetic) walking distance of the flat where we’re staying in the Marais.
They’re from a new breed of Parisian restaurants that offer short menus of light contemporary food - and natural wines which may be a deal-breaker for some of you (though They Are Not All Cidery as I never tire of saying. Try to keep an open mind!)
We had lunch at all three this week. Evenings would be more expensive, obviously.
Le Servan was the only one of the three we’d been to before back in November where we were charmed by the simple seasonal food that chef Tatiana Levha, who runs it with her sister Katia, produces. It’s an unspectacular spot off the rue Roquette, occupying a corner site that looks as if it might have been a tearoom or a rather genteel lady’s boutique in a former life. The only touch of luxury is the very beautiful Japanese knives they provide to eat your food.
Levha, who has an impeccable pedigree having worked at Arpège and L’Astrance, manages to give all her dishes an unexpected twist - tete de cochon, served crisply rather than pressed into a terrine, is worked into in an Asian-style warm salad with lightly cooked celery, cockles and pinenuts. Other entrées included a very pretty dish of leeks topped with flocons of foie gras fluttering like bonito flakes and a gravlax of trout with endive and just the right amount of orange to make you realise most places use too much. A deep sticky braise of beef and cooked and steamed carrots - still with their leaf stalks - showed she can handle the bistro repertoire too though fish (lieu jaune) on this occasion was slightly bland, less well handled than the previous time we went. Desserts might also not satisfy the sweet-toothed although I’d have been more than happy with the tatin-like caramelised apple on a slice of warm crumbly cake with salted caramel sauce if I hadn’t opted for cheese. (A simple slice of blue served with a mâche salad.) Oh, and you don’t need to take my word for it It’s one of former Figaro critic Francois Simon’s favourite spots.
Le Servan is at 32, rue St.-Maur, Paris 75011. Tel: 01 55 28 51 82 Nearest Metro Voltaire.
We drank: A bottle of Alice and Olivier de Moor’s Le Vendangeur Masqué 2013, a Chablis-like chardonnay made just outside the region, a glass of Muxagat Tinta Barrocca and an Arbois Chardonnay-Savagnin from Patrice Hugues Beguet. Servan offers the most mainstream wines of the three.
We paid: 157€ (£113.67) for 4 of which food came to 25€ a head
Yard is about 7-8 minutes up the road from Servan in an equally unglamourous area off rue de la Folie-Regnault near the Cimetière Père Lachaise. It’s even smaller than Servan with the kitchen at the back of the dining room and has more of a bistro feel about it. Tables of two, largely occupied by locals, are grouped in a block down the middle of the room.
The lunchtime formula is similar - a short, seasonally inspired menu of small - but not too small - plates: fresh radishes with fromage frais, super fresh mussels with celery, cabbage and bergamot (lovely), a great piece of seared cod cooked to perfection with broccoli rabe and anchoiade on the side and a more robust dish of crisply fried boudin noir with eggs which even my eggophile husband couldn’t finish. That would have been just 15€ but we paid an extra 3€ each for an impeccable warm tarte au citron and a blood orange salad - an eminently copiable fresh tasting dessert of sliced oranges, walnuts, dates and shredded mint.
Yard is at 6 rue de Mont-Louis, 75011 Paris. Tel: 01 40 09 70 30. Nearest Metro Philippe-Auguste. Note you can't book at lunchtime.
We drank: A couple of glasses of La Peur du Rouge, a funky chardonnay/viognier blend from Axel Prufer’s Le Temps des Cerises (23€), taking the rest back home with us. Wines by the glass start at 3€.
We paid: 59€ (£42.65) for two. The best bargain of the three.
This recent opening from natural wine bar pioneer Pierre Jancou is In the upmarket 1st rather than the hipster 11th and is quite different in style from his previous venues, Racine and Vivant., The big stone-walled rooms and 80s-style bentwood chairs make it sparse almost to the point of being clinical though I suspect it would be more cosy in the evening. The lunch menu offers just 6 dishes including dessert and is quite fierce given what turns out to be quite a conventional-looking all-female clientele: two of the six were bulots (which we’d had the night before) and tripe. Fortunately there turned out to be a satisfyingly savoury special of veal tongue on which my husband leapt.
The other starter was a beautifully elegant plate of chinchard (horse mackerel) tartare with shaved radishes and coriander sprouts. We both opted for the non-tripey main, a spicy seafood linguine dusted with what looked like soot but turned out to be burnt sage. Weird but rather good - much nicer than it sounds. The natural wine list is hugely impressive as you’d expect from Jancou and well explained by our waitress.
Heimat is at 37 rue de Montpensier just by the Palais Royal (don’t miss the gorgeous garden). Tel 01 40 26 78 25 Nearest metros Palais Royal or Bourse
We drank: Camerlengo's Accamilla, an 'orange' malvasia from Basilicata, Les Cailloux de Paradis Quartz from the Sologne and Vuillaud's Sang Neuf 2013 a dark, robust Beaujolais. All quite hard core but the helpful waitress spoke good English and could almost certainly steer you to a less exacting choice.
We paid: 89€ (£64) for 2 courses, 3 glasses of wine and 2 coffees. Evenings are quite a bit more.
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