May is the month of faire le pont – yipee! What is faire le pont well simply put if a public holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday most people take the preceding or following day off and so bridge the gap to make a long weekend. May is the month with a lot of public holidays, three to be precise. For a so called secular country there are a lot of religious public holidays during the year although in May there is just Ascension Day, but lets not rock the boat the French are very sensitive about rights and holidays in whatever form are sacrosant! The other two May holidays’ are Workers’ Day and V.E. Day. The public holidays are great if they fall on a week day. If they fall on a weekend tant pis / too bad you lose them. This year all of these beautiful days fall during the week hoorah! To celebrate Victory in Europe Day I wondered where would be a fitting place to eat solo in Paris and thought Terroir Parisien which is located on Rue St Victor – how perfect is that – celebrating a victorious Europe!
The latest offering from Yannick Alléno, 3 starred Michelin chef of Hotel Le Meurice, is this wonderful bistro housed in a the gorgeous Art-Deco building of Maison de la Mutalité with its’ wonderfully high ceilings. As you push past the heavy black curtains blocking the breeze from the outside you step into a large room divided into two by a central bar and at the back a glass fronted kitchen. Whilst the building may be art deco the bistro certainly is modern without making you feel uncomfortable.
I received an exceptionally warm greeting and explained that I didn’t have a reservation. There was no problem and was offered a seat at the bar as I was a solo diner. Given it was early, I arrived at 12.15pm and all but one of the tables was taken I asked for a table. Five minutes later my request was granted and I must have started a trend as a two other solo diners arrived later and asked for a table rather than at the bar and they too had their requests granted.
What is truly wonderful about this bistro is that it is well thought out acoustically. Someone who has suffered hours of post Parisian bistro dining tinnitus designed this place as there is a false ceiling which also acts as a sound buffer. I can attest to its effectiveness as by the time I was ready to order dessert the bistro was full and the noise levels were quite pleasant.
I try to eat local and in France – le terroir – quite simply the ground or earth is everything and don’t you forget it! Here Yannick Alléno has taken the current trend for eating local to a whole new level – everything is sourced locally it either comes from Paris or the Parisian region. Well all but the wine of course as helpfully pointed about by the Burnt Cream Blog when I tweeted about how everything was local! The wine is not and I started off my V.E. Day lunch with an excellent kir although if your budget allows for it you could choose a bottle of wine from la cave privée of Yannick Alléno. Having scanned through the menu I decided to opt for le plat du jour – entrecote- which were being cut to order – it’s not just local here but moo-ing fresh!
Usually when I order any type of cut of beef even when it is served with gravy I ask for mustard etc but this time there was no need it was packed with flavour. The meat was cooked to perfection and the chunky chips with gros sel were just divine: thick yet fluffy with a bite.
Given it was a public holiday and the whole country was remembering this momentous event I thought it would be rude not to order dessert. I wasn’t sure what to go for and then I spied Paris-Brest and thought choux pastry filled with hazelnut cream and the whole thing sprinkled with toasted almonds – yes please. Fun foodie fact – the Paris Brest dessert was created for the cyclists of the now defunct Paris-Brest -Paris cycle ride (12ookm).
When the dessert came I wished I was cycling that 1200km instead I could hear the Paris Brest dessert saying:
“Hello hips see you soon love Paris Brest x”
Where? 20 rue Saint Victor (there is a second at Bourse)
How? Line 10 (stop Maubert-Mutalité) or you could take a leisurely 15 mins stroll from Notre Dame
Pricey? The dish of the day is €15 and my kir was €6,50 together with coffee and dessert came to around €32 which for the standard of cooking and portion size very good value for money.
Open when? Open everyday for lunch and dinner