post lunch at mon vieil ami, we embarked on a ‘short’ walk that turned into a route march and took us from the ille st louis along the seine to the musee d’orsay. Unfortunately about 30,000 others had a similar plan so my brief attempt at culture was cut short.
We instead went for a far more sensible option, especially given our track record in finding places, we went to find the destination for the evening’s dinner at Aux Lyonnais the bistro rescued by alain ducasse and the owner of l’ami louis.
On the way we wandered through the presedential gardens (?) and stumbled across ‘ le grand vefour’ although the menu looked interesting the prices were certainly not in line with my new austerity measures!
after a cursory glance at willis wine bar, and despite employing my powers of persuasion, sarah couldn’t be persuaded to stop for a quick drink, (glad to see marriage hasn’t dented my powers over the opposite sex) we continued the hike northwards to aux lyonnais. Eventually we found it down a very unprepossesing back street with a lovely view of axa insurance.
the restaurant was smaller than i imagined but looked authentic enough but i wasn’t blown away by the menu and givent the distance from our hotel in st germain i was having thoughts about cancelling, but decided to stick with it.
so later that night we headed (by metro yet again although i hadn’t realised that switching trains in chatelet involved a 10 minute hike!) and to willis wine bar for a swift livener. After a couple of supposedly large but decidedly skinny looking measures of riesling i was entertained by the english staff taking large glasses out of a customers bottle of lynch bages and wondering whether it needed decanting or not! i’ve only ever had drinks in willis and tend to find the staff highly irritating so we didn’t linger and headed to aux lyonnais.
we were a bit early for our 9.30 table and after much hand wringing by the staff who seemed completley flummoxed by our 15 minutes early arrival we were shown to the upstairs bar area which also houses the private dining room.
We were quite amused by the fact that there’s obviously a back staircase, staff kept disappearing in one direction and reappearing from another. Ok so you had to be there, a couple of coupes further sharpened the appetite.
we were eventually shown to our table in the second of the two rooms that make up the restaurant, there was a buzzy cosmopolitan atmosphere in the room and it felt very comfortable.
however making head or tail of the menu was another matter, i consider myself a bit of a veteran of french dining now but there were items on the short menu we couldn’t decipher, and weren’t much wiser even after explanation by the friendly staff.
I eventually came over wild and adventurous and settled on the oeuf cocotte aux morilles et ecrevisses and sarah the saladier et tartine a la facon ‘gones’. This was a salad with a long toasted ficelle of bread with we assume the tartine on it, what it was we are none the wiser, i suspected it may have been offal of some sort but was unremarkable, despite its unusual provenance looked good though. My cocotte though was a masterpiece. This is the sort of place that reinvents old classics not just recreates them. When the waiter brought a large glass jar filled with cocotte and a foamed veloute with the same bread (about 40cm long!) i was extremely glad we had stuck with the booking!
Mains were another minefield with again nothing obvious apart from the ‘entrecote non paree a la moelle, echalotte, vin rouge’ that sarah had and after explantion i had ‘quenelle et ecrevisses- un recette de lucien tendret 1892’ which although well hidden was in fact the old classic of pike/perch quenelles in nantua sauce, but ‘much lighter’ said the waiter. the quenelles looked like actual fillets of fish when they arrived but turned out, as they had suggested to be extremely light fishy quenelles, in a great sauce.
Deserts saw a riz au lait, mermelade de fuits for sarah, as it suggests a fine rice pudding and a tarte et ile flottante aux praline roses for me. Both were great looking deserts for a start and the little tart very morish that accompanied mine.
the usual coffee, calva and a rully 1er cur washed it all down, a very enjoyable evening. It was nice to have a few pleasant surprises for a change in a dinner and there was obvious thought in the details, some more successful than others eg i didn’t like the chequered tea towels as table cloths but liked the linen bags that they brought the (v good) bread in.
the mainly young staff were enthusiastic if a little forgetful, i may well still be sat there if i hadn’t kept reminding them to call me a taxi, though a lengthy stay in hindsight would be no bad thing!
so far the dining gods had been kind but saturday saw a stunner and a shocker....
pigging out in paris day two - dinner
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