Just before I joined the exodus of Parisians leaving to head to the countryside for Easter, I decided I needed a last meal in a place that had a buzzing atmosphere. If I’m honest Le BAT was not my first choice for a solo dining adventure that Wednesday night in actual fact I wanted to eat at the no-reservations Le Richer but it was rammed. Le Richer is the only Parisian restaurant I know that has stuck a list in the window of neighbourhood restaurants it recommends if you don’t feel like waiting 45 mins for a table.
Le Lieu/ Location
It’s located on the Grands Boulevard itself and just down from the Hard Rock Cafe and other touristy places. This is another place with discreet signage that you could easily walk past. I should just add that the French aren’t big on signs, in my experience, and when they do bother to create a sign it is such an epic fail that you would rather they hadn’t bothered – anyone landed at Charles De Gaulle airport recently and tried to figure out how to leave it? If so, you know that signs aren’t really a French thing. Inside there are numerous tables with the open plan with bar seating dominating the room.
L’ambiance / Good Vibes
I wanted buzz and that is certainly what I got – everyone it seemed was at Le BAT sipping wine and eating tapas. I was greeted warmly and offered a place at the bar. The wine menu is on a blackboard on the wall and whilst I am all for saving paper etc – blackboards are difficult to read even if one doesn’t wear glasses and there are a lot of wines listed. I chose an old favourite that I knew was easy to drink the Chilean Cono Sur wine at a reasonable €6 a glass and I wasn’t disappointed.
Les Plats/ Food
The reason for coming here is that I wanted to eat a light solo dinner as I knew my 6 days in South West France was going to include rich food and lots of it- foie gras, goose fat roasted potatoes etc. I was also enticed by the tapas, albeit reinvented using high quality ingredients with a very French fusion touch. A number of dishes had already been crossed through on the menu given I had come here late (9pm) and the ingredients used up. Once someone finally came to take my order, there seemed to be only one person who actually knew what they were doing the remaining 3 members of waiting staff appeared to be decoration:
[Me] Could I have some more bread please?
[Staff member] Oh I’m not here to serve sorry.
Aside from that little distraction ,where the food was concerned I chose a pickled mackerel dish, as well as lamb cheek and sea bass so expertly prepared with an incredibly crispy skin yet succulent flesh that I finished it before I remembered to take a picture. The marriage of flavours in the dishes was sublime – the mackerel served with grapefruit, beetroot and an orange water cream – a must try!
Sitting at the bar gives you your very own chef’s table and a chance watch the chefs creating these mini divine plates and as an added bonus they bring the plates to your table – now that is what I call service.
This place will only get busier and more popular than it already is and I would recommend you get here early if you want your pick of what is on the menu and just remember: you are not here for the service but the incredible tapas dishes. This place is a real foodie hidden gem.
Where? 16 Boulevard Montmartre, 75009 Paris
How? Line 8 and 9 (Grands Boulevards)
Open when? Monday to Friday 12h – 14h30 and 19h to 23h
Pricey? It’s high end tapas so expect to pay aroun €7 to 8 a dish (tapas/small dishes)