After walking all the way from Opera to Pigalle (a good hour given I had to negotiate the wave of Saturday afternoon shoppers lapping at the shores of Galerie Lafayette department store) and then trailing in and out of the boutiques that line Rue de Martyrs, I was in need of a chair and liquid refreshment. I had initially thought of stopping in for a bit of love at Hotel Amour but it seemed that everyone else in SoPi (yes the hipsters have moved in and created an enclave starting from the sex shops next to la Moulin Rouge and the stairs leading to Montmartre. South Pigalle is where its at or not depending on your point of view) had decamped there!
Anyway I needed to sit down – no walking and drinking for me. I carried on walking and turned on to rue Henri Monnier, where it was quieter and saner and stumbled across La Buvette – gastrothèque. Fun French fact – buvette means drinking place and well this is just what I was after! Not just any old buvette but a gastrotheque to boot although I am not sure what image that is suppose to conjure up. La Buvette comprises of; a zinc polished bar, cake platters, a whipped mountain of mousse, full service bar and mellow funky 70 tunes straining out. A waitress greeted me with a smile and I told her I am here for a Saturday Afternoon Sweet Treat – ok I didn’t say that- but I did say tea and cake. You can take your pick of tables she replied.
I went to the back of the restaurant from where I had a full vantage point of the bar and all the comings and goings. It would seem there is a little irony in the La Buvette opening in Paris. As the sister bar/restaurant opened in New York recreating a Paris bar/brasserie etc and now the owners have imported the New York take on what a Parisian bar should look like back to Paris. Have they got it right…well it’s great and hip but not really dirty or shabby enough to be authentic.
Les Plats/ The dishes
All that aside I ordered the carrot cake and a pot of mint tea, I needed the sugar and dairy as later that evening I would be dining vegan. So I guess you could call this the secret sugar intake of the vegan damned! In the afternoons La Buvette offer brunch as well as cake and tea. How delightful as that is just what I wanted.
Usually I don’t order carrot cake as I find there is far too much icing, frosting or whatever you want to call it and it’s usually cloying and the cake dry and devoid of any taste of carrot. The generous portion of carrot cake I was presented with here was sublime and banished all those horrible food memories. The cake was moist, light and contained nibbles of carrots whilst the topping was sweet enough without overpowering the cream cheese after taste. It was the perfect marriage of cake and topping!
L’ambiance/ Good Vibes
Defnitely hip but very relaxed with no awkward stares and I was left to infuse like my pot of mint tea. There is no rushing here just come in, sit down, talk, read or partake in the nation’s favourite past time: le people watching!
I will definitely come back here when I am in SoPi. I spent a couple of hours listening to the neighbouring table’s first world problems of whether to do a phd or get a job. I wanted to scream get a job and stop belly aching about whether to go to Senegal or Barcelona to study and just get on with the business of living!
Where? 28 rue Henri Monnier 75009 Paris
How? Metro line 2 and 12 (Pigalle)
Open when? Tuesday to Sunday – all day (10 am to midnight)
Pricey? My rather large serving of carrot cake and tea came to a very respectable €9!