Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location
    wales, united kingdom
  1. Firstly, I'm not an expert on Chinese food and certainly not on American Chinese food (In Europe at least I've found that Asian dishes are usually in some way adapted to national preferences, even if they are qualified as authentic.) I lunched at Shan Gout last week and very much enjoyed the pure, fragrant flavors of my beef with ginger dish which had just the right spicyness (don't recall the name of the dish). I agree that the portion was quite, but for me not too, small. As far as I'm concerned Shan Gout is definitely worth going back to.
  2. When coming to Paris I always look forward to finding one or more new (to me) nice little bistrots, usually on the basis of John's recommendations. This time, however, I had nothing prepared, so I tried only two new places and revisited four old favorites. At all of them I had their lunch formule with wine and a coffee. Le Gaigne is a small inviting place with an pleasant and well-organized hostess. The formule had two choices each for starter, main and dessert. I chose the smoked salmon, thinly cut with a little scoop of crème fraiche, coriander, little pieces of (smoked?) paprika and one or two other herbs, with a side of mixed salad. nice. My main was a thick cut piece of lieu (pollack), perfectly cooked with a crusty skin in an absolutely wonderful jus and with a large "navet" on the side (I checked the dictionary and apparently a navet is a turnip, but this was different from any turnip I've ever tasted, and it was very, very good). I could not manage a dessert, although the litchy/gingembre combination was tempting and intriguing. I had been to and had liked Le Gaigne before and my high expectations were more than met. Starter, main, glass of wine and a coffee added up to €23 Le Gaigne, 12 rue Pecquay, 4th. The lunch at La Fidélité was disappointing. It has been written up quite a bit lately but on the basis of my experience this week, I would qualify it as “much ado about little”. The interior is nice but there were hardly any customers. The starter of pumpkin soup with a splash of pesto and toasted sunflower pits had a nice taste, but was served too cold. The thinly breaded Pangasius (an Asian catfish), on a nice bed of haricots verts, was cooked too short and lacked zing. Maybe the cook had an off day and I was just unlucky, but I will not return to find out. Starter, main, glass of wine and coffee added up to €22. La Fidelite, 12 Rue de la Fidelite, 10th l'Ardoise Gourmande has a nice atmosphere and customers always seem happy there. The service is friendly and attentive and the food is very good. I chose the starter and main of the day. Starter was 3 thick slices of great tasting melt-on-the-tongue graved lax with a creamy scoop of lemony something. The main of the day was a beautiful, very tender steak in a pepper jus. Perfectly cooked saignant, just as I had asked, with a crispy rind and on the side three scoops of nicely spiced potato puree. Wonderful! My bill for starter, main, a quarter pichet of wine and a coffee was € 22. I really love that place. l'Ardoise Gourmande, 12 rue de Belzunce, 10th (walking distance from Gare du Nord) Next day I went to La Gazzetta, which had been on my list for a long, long time. I should have gone before, as this is a terrific place. I loved the interior and the waiters, but especially the food. Wow! The formule starter consisted of three little dishes: 1. a very tasty cup of bean/leek soup, 2. a salad of squid with a large, thin slice of celeriac (cooked “au foin” = hay?) and then folded up and tiny pieces of sugared orange and 3. a little pizza bianca, with a puree of Jerusalem artichoke and terrific tasting slices of tender deer meat, surrounded by little pieces of crunchy purple chicory. This latter dish totally blew me away. For the main there was a choice of 4 or 5 dishes. I chose the grilled bar sauvage (bass) with a wonderful jus corsé, served with spinach and 4 different kinds of carrots, one of which pureed with ricotta. Mmm!. These dishes were beautifully presented and I was sorry I had not brought my camera. The bill for starter, main (€2 supplement), a glass of wine and a coffee amounted to €24.30. La Gazzetta, 29 rue de Cotte (12th). At another favorite lunch spot of mine, I had a rather disappointing meal which was not up to their usual standards. The starter of poached egg, lightly drizzled with a nice vinegary liquid, two fried polenta fingers and some salad did not exactly dazzle me. Main was a filet of scorpion fish, which wasn’t special, with on the side celery tempuras -which were too fatty for my taste - and a soy/sesame dip. Too bad, maybe the cook had an off day, maybe I had an off day, maybe Gazzetta spoiled me. However, to me this restaurant has a good track record and I will have lunch there again next month and report on it then. On my last day I went to Monjul in the Marais. What a place. The waiters make you feel especially welcome and the cook is an artist. He creates dishes that are a feast for the eyes as well as for the taste buds; little works of art. The formule was, again, a poached egg, but this time swimming in a goat cheese soup. With it came a sweetish, soft, little (bread)stick and an herb salad. I am not a great fan of goat's cheese, but I really enjoyed this dish. The main was chunk of salmon, cooked in goose fat, topped with a meli melo of little tomato and zucchini cubes, spiced with a.o. cumin. Next to the salmon was placed a cylinder made of baked cheese paste, filled with a brandade of salt cod and topped with – this is difficult to explain - a thin crust of, I guess salmon skin, in the form of spread out wings. The thing somehow reminded me of the Colonne de Juillet on Place de la Bastille. Also there was a scoop of white raisins combined with something I could not define, as well as the line of pimento sauce. The dish tasted great. It was a pleasure just watching the waiters pass by with all these beautifully made up dishes. This last lunch was, again, a big hit. Starter, main, glass of wine and coffee for €21. Monjul, 28 Rue des Blancs Manteaux, 4th It's been a good week!
  3. Your post whether or not it is considered rude to make photographs of food in restaurants prompted me to share the following. I too always feel uncomfortable when taking the photo’s (because it’s so touristy), but I have the impression that in general it’s appreciated by the restaurants. It certainly seemed to be by Monjul and Urbane. On my last visit to Paris I decided to opt for two-course lunches and to have the dessert with a cup of tea later in the afternoon. These were my favorites. The lunch “formule” at Monjul at 28 Rue des Blancs Manteaux, 4th, tel. 01 42 74 40 15 was a pleasant surprise. The restaurant’s interior is simple and attractive, the service was attentive and friendly. The starter of spicy – cold - mussel soup, accompanied by a small cone of whipped cream with a.o. tiny lardons, was surprising and very good. The main course was well seasoned mackerel, served with an herb salad with a dash of a very tasty dressing and little knobs of wasabi. Imaginative dishes. I spent 20 euros for 2 courses a glass of wine and a coffee. I am particularly enthusiastic about Urbane, 12 Rue Arthus Groussier, 10th, tel. 01 42 40 74 75. It’s situated in the neighbourhood of the hospital St-Louis, where many little eating places have opened up in the last couple of years. There I enjoyed a great lunch in a simple and pleasant interior. To start off the charming (Irish) hostess brought a carafe of water and three kinds of fresh, warm bread to my table. The starter of tartare de dorade, cucumber, various herbs and roquette was a delightful combination of subtle flavours. The main course of salmon on a bed of crunchy pak soi and topped with a.o. grapefruit parts was equally good. (I tried to copy it at home, but didn’t come close). The 2 course option of their lunch “formule”, a glass of wine and a coffee added up to 21 euros. On the terrace of the Mini Palais, Perron Alexandre III, Avenue Winston Churchill, 8th, tel. 01 43 56 42 42 (across from the Petit Palais, which is definitely worth a visit) I was served tea with a delicious tarte citron a l’envers. On the roof terrace of Les Ombres, above the Musee Quai de Branly in the 7th I drank tea whilst enjoying the view of the nearby Eiffel Tower and this beautiful strawberry tiramisu, the best I ever had.
  4. I have now, even ordered some. Thanks to you my day just started off sunny, despite the local overcast. (By the way, perhaps you would like to try the sweet wood tea with a hint of fennel, quite nice)
  5. The twigs you are referring to we, the Dutch, call zoethout (sweet wood) and they certainly bring back memories; of those wonderful candy stores where you could buy these and other goodies for a nickel. We chewed them in abundance in my youth, although after a while the strands of soggy wood would become a bit distasteful. Later in life they were quite helpful in kicking the smoking habit. Never heard of anyone washing them. Now, having emigrated to the UK, "real" liquorice is what I miss most (that and real Dutch farmer's cheese and Indonesian food). When visiting, friends always bring along bags of liquorice and those never last more than a few days. Unfortunately French liquorice is just not the real thing. On the other hand, the thought of the Dutch Jamin shops with 20 or so different kinds, is mouthwatering. Ah, liquorice!
  6. I'm sure these rules are not just French: in Holland also (as, I would assume, in many other countries), it is considered bad manners to say the equivalent of bon appetit, because it should go without saying that the food you are offered is good. Furthermore you do not leave the table to go to the loo (as that might be interpreted as a sign that you do not appreciate the food). It might be stuffy, but it is considerate.
  7. Remember, we can all learn from your worst as well as your best experiences. ← John, the thing is, I've learned to have an enormous respect for your judgement, so the majority of the restaurants I go to are ones you have recommended. In general I fully agree with you, but sometimes I can't. I guess Tueday was just not my lucky day. I'm no expert, so my word should not be taken too seriously anyway.
  8. After having sent in my Spring report I thought the other restaurants I visited last week might also be of interest. So, here is a translation of the relevant parts of a report I wrote for my Dutch friends. Thursday 17 May, the first night of a glorious week in Paris. For a while I had been wanting to try out the restaurant Et dans mon cœur il y a, just around the corner. Well, I should have gone before. When I now think back, the image of the interior is that of the “Charleston-dresses-and-long-pearl-necklaces” type. A nice atmosphere, a friendly and attentive service, lots of bobos. The food was delicious. As an entrée I had a dish from the ardoise; crème celeris au foie gras pôelé. It was, as you say, to die for, so good. I’ll certainly be having that again if I get the chance. My main, a steak de thon mi cuit écrasé (look that word up in your dictionary) de broccolis et vinaigrette aux noisettes torréfiées, was perfect. I skipped dessert, had only coffee. Et dans mon Coeur il y a, 56, Rue Lancry, 10th, 01 42 38 07 37 Friday we went to Spring, see separate report. Saterday was a disaster of our own making, I’ll skip that part. Sunday I had homemade tender asparagus with egg, ham, cleared butter, chives. All ingredients bought on the Sunday Bastille market, scrumptious. Monday I went to the Maison du Jardin. Pleasant interior in pastel salmon. I think I was the only non-French person there. Service was friendly and attentive. My starter was a buisson (which translates as scrubs, bushes) of haricots verts with foie gras. Nothing special, quite nice; several kinds of salad, chervil, tomato, choux, in a subtle dressing and very thin slices of foie gras. As a main I chose salmon with penne and a sauce crustacés (crab I think). Again, a solidly prepared dish, but no sparks. I contemplated a dessert of tuiles caramelisées which sounded very appealing, but decided to be strong this time. With the meal I had a half bottle (they did not seem to serve wine by the glass) of Pouilly Fumé which I did not finish. Still, I sort of rolled out of the restaurant. On my way home I passed the Musee de Luxembourg; the René Lalique exposition was on (art nouveau jewellery) and on impulse I decided to have a look. I’m not much of a jewellery person, but I very much enjoyed it. Maison du Jardin, 27 Rue Vaurigard, 6th , 01 45 48 22 31 No dinner that evening; I went to see and hear jazz coryphée Mark Murphy in New Morning. Wow! Tuesday Paris a Nous had a listing of the best new restaurants this year and, again, Rich was mentioned, so I decided to try it out. The impressive marbled entrance of the building looks rather private-club-like. The restaurant itself - pleasantly quiet and with pluche seating in autumn colour schemes- screams “business-lunch”. Service was friendly and attentive. As entrée I chose the nems de poulet menthe et sucrine. It was beautifully presented (see photo by Laidback in the topic “two more samples”) but……. although I liked the combination with the salad/mint leaves and although the sucrine was quite good, I found the nems themselves rather tasteless. Then, being in an oriental mood, I had the surprême poulet sauce satay as a main. It wasn’t bad, but nothing special. The chicken I even found quite dry. I do not really have a recollection of the dessert of tarte fine aux pommes maison. I guess I just chose the wrong dishes here. Rich, 14 Rue Cadet 9th, 01 48 01 87 87 That night I dined at Les Jumeaux . A modern spacious interior and – that night – only English speaking guests. Nice service and an attractive looking menu with starter, main and dessert plus a glass of wine for euros 34. As a starter I opted for the foie gras pôelé on an artichoke heart, with sel de mer and a roquette sorbet. I accompanied this with a glass Monbrazillac. It was good, although I thought the artichoke heart, big and hard, lacked flavour. The foie gras, was delicious and I really liked the roquette sorbet too. The plat du jour was a filet mignon de porc moutarde with choux fleurettes. The porc was ok, but the cauliflower......, well I did not like it. The dessert of tatin d’abricot rôti et romain was good and so was the coffee. Les Jumeaux, 73 Rue Amelot, 11th, 01 43 14 27 00. Wednesday Felice mentioned somewhere on this site that lunch at Le Chateaubriand might be a bit risky. But, I really wanted to go there and since there would be no time in the evening it would have to be lunch. Boy, am I glad I went! I was there quite early, at 12.15 o’clock and the place was almost deserted. One of the entrées, soupe idiazabal with cherry tomatoes caught my eye. I had never heard of idiazabal (which I now know is a Bask cheese) and decided to give it a try. A frothy lukewarm broth with a wonderful, not overpowering, cheese flavour, baked cherry- and sundried tomatoes and little chive flowers shattered over it. It looked good and tasted divine! After that I had the plat du jour, a confit de canard on a bed on mashed potatoes, perhaps a bit oversalted for my taste, but very, very good anyway. This lunch with a glass of Cheverny and a cup of coffee came to euros 19! By the time I left, people were in line waiting to be seated. I’ll be back, next time for dinner. Le Chateaubriand, 129 Avenue Parmentier, 11th ,01 43 57 45 95 It being my last night, I had to spend the evening doing household chores and did not have time for a lengthy dinner. So I paid a short visit to the pizza place Maria-Luisa. In a buzzing atmosphere, they indeed do serve very, very good pizza’s, with a friendly smile. Maria-Luisa, 2 Rue Maria Louisa, 10th, 01 44 84 04 01 Note: looking back I now realise I’ve had foie gras far too often this week. But, I love it so.
  9. As promised, hereby my report on Spring. On a Thursday night, through the pouring rain, we ran-walked into Spring. When it’s really raining there never is a taxi to be had on the streets. But after all the talk about inconsiderate guests, we certainly did not want to come in late (although there was a couple ……). It’s a pleasant very small restaurant, with a sliding door to create more space for its max 16 guests. It’s open kitchen enables you to watch Daniel Rose working his magic while you’re waiting for the next course. The charming hostess gave us the choice of a French or English resume of things to come, and since we chose English, Daniel himself introduced the menu to us. My friends, who had been a bit anxious about a set menu, were put thoroughly at ease. I have been trying to add photo’s but that's quite a challenge. Anyway they don't do the food justice, in reality it looked much better. The first course was a cauliflower soup with a topping of small raisins baked in butter and almond flakes. Delicious! I assume I should have stirred the topping through the soup, but it was so good I wanted to enjoy it on its own. What a start! Second course was duck slices marinated in sherry, white wine- and pickle vinegar (I asked) with al dente green asparagus, shredded lemon peel, herbs, radish, raspberries and grilled sesame seed bread. This too was absolutely wonderful. The main course of perfectly cooked tender veal with minted pureed peas, crispy onion shreds and baked artichoke in a divine gravy was fabulous. Dessert was also very good, large raspberries with pieces of sweet crispy tuile in a vanilla sauce with truffle chocolate topped with coconut slivers and pistachio crumbs. All in all we had a great meal in a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere, with the courses perfectly timed and charmingly served. On top of that, the price for four courses plus wine and coffee (they did not serve tea) was Euros 220 for the four of us, a steal. Spring is now my favourite restaurant in Paris and I will definitely return, more than once at that.
  10. I am so glad I already made a reservation for 18th May. With all the enthusiastic reviews piling in at the moment, that's bound to become more and more difficult. Thanks John, you already mentioned Spring last November in your monthly review, and it's been on my list since then. We'll report our findings.
  11. Depends what view you want – Tokyo Eat for the Eiffel Tower (once it's open on the terrace), Saut du Loup (just reviewed by me and others) for the Tuileries and Louvre, Georges for the view from the Pompidou, Terrasse Mirabeau for the 16th street scene, Drouant for the downtown street scene, Viaduc Cafe for the arty street scene, Cigale Recamier for that end of the alley scene, Restaurant du Palais-Royal for the “you know what,” Pavillion Montsouris, Pre Catalan + Grande Cascade ditto, Le Pavillion des Princes for that and a view of the lake, Maison de Amérique Latine as well as all the grand hotels’ interior courtyard terraces for the absence of a street scene. ← Spot on John, just what I was hoping for. In the mean time I found another one: Le Cafe Very in the Jardin des Tuileries. The food should improve now that Gilles Choukroun is advising them on their spring menu (see here).
  12. Thank you Forest, I should have found that thread myself.
  13. Dreaming of Paris ..........Would any of you have suggestions for terrasses (preferably with a view) on which one can pleasantly laze away an hour or two in the early evening whilst enjoying a glass of wine and a plate of charcuterie or other tapas-like morsels?
  14. You might also like to try "San" on the Boulevard du Temple. We had some delicious pizza's there.
  15. Foodwise: I would recommend the harbourmaster in Aberaeron for good food. If the weather is nice you should also try a cone of the honey ice cream at the harbour. Good fishing a bit further south in New Quay as well as a good Thai restaurant and some of the best fish and chips around. I would not go to Lampeter for those. However, if in Lampeter, do visit Conti, an old fashioned coffee shop, where you will find - again- very nice homemade ice cream and an amazingly friendly service. (During the one day of heavy snowfall in February Mr. and Mrs. Conti opened up their coffee shop, especially for my 15 year old son and his friend who were freezing in the street, waiting for me to pick them up. They provided them with free hot drinks and food to get warm again). Further land inwards Ty Mawr in the Brechfa forest is very good as well the Angel Inn in Llandeilo (associated with an absolutely wonderful chocolate/ice cream shop next door). Aberaeron, New Quay and Llandeilo are all quite pleasant Welsh towns as well. You will find great cheese (tastewise a mix of Dutch/Welsh with a hint of French) in Bwlch-y-Croes, the cheese farm is signposted on the 486. I think they also sell their cheese at the Farmers' market in Aberystwyth. Enjoy!
  • Create New...