Category Archives: Paris, France

L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer (Paris)

Since the first time visiting this bar (in 2014), it has become one of the favourites.  We’ve been here every time we visit Paris as it’s an easy, casual bar with fantastic food.  The guys who work here are never shy about recommending a good wine to go with the food, and believe you me, the wines are brilliant.  Here’s a couple of pics of the yum yum dishes.

Fried soft shell crab…

Lobster in a cream sauce (it’s really good!)…

Octopus on tiny baked potatoes….

Prawns wrapped in potato strings

Cured salmon wrapped in nori...

Cured tuna... which taste like bacon.  Must be the same curing technique.

Prawn gyoza...  super delicious…

For more info, visit the restaurant site here.

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Old School French at Benoit, Paris

We were in Paris in September and really wanted to try an old school French bistro so we decided to dine at Benoit, owned by the delightfully charming Alain Ducasse.  Wood paneled walls, clean crisp white tablecloths and waiters that are nice but slightly stand offish was exactly the atmosphere I was after.  Also, as you can see from the pics below, even the plates had the name of the restaurant printed on them – so French!

Something I noticed in France, was when they give you an amuse bouche or complimentary food item to whet your appetite, it’s almost like an entree serve in itself!   We were presented with fluffy cheese puffs and rabbit rilette with toast.   The cheese puffs were light and hollow, but packed a punch and the rilette was delicious (perhaps the best I’d ever had).

Now, I chose the foie gras as my entree, which came with a toasted brioche.  Whilst it tasted good, I was overwhelmed by the two slices that I had.  Being from Australia, you rarely get to eat more than 3 mouthfuls of foie gras.  I managed to eat one slice, and I felt terrible wasting such a divine piece of food.

My boyfriend chose the crayfish soup with creamy chives and the mouthful that I sampled was divine!   Tasted spectacularly of crayfish (surprise!).

For my main course, I chose sole with wilted spinach.  I was watching Masterchef Professionals UK and Michel Roux Jr. stated that this was one of his favorite dishes.   Sole is not something you can commonly get in Australia, so I had to give it a go!  It was fantastic.  The fish was firm and had a light sweet taste to it.  The sauce on top was a lobster bisque and the spinach and cream at the bottom was delicious.  

The boyfriend chose the beef fillet with marrow bordelaise sauce served on the side with a macaroni gratin.  The steak was cooked perfectly as was the side dish, and the marrow sauce (the star of the show) pulled it all together.

Dessert was the classic vanilla millefeuille, and I have to say, it was the best millefeuille I’ve ever had.  The layers were cooked to the point where it was just caramalised and has that burnt butter flavor and the cream inside was thick, rich and creamy.

One memorable part of this dinner was that menu’s are not available in English, so listening to the patient waiters translate it over and over again to the non-French was quite amusing.  I kept expecting them to throw the towel in and start swearing, but they kept their cool and pushed through.

All up, it’s exactly the charming bistro you would expect, complete with great French food.   The restaurant was packed on a Wed night.    I would definitely recommend it, and I would go again.

Senderens…. Fabulous Lunch in Paris

So, I think we’ve all heard of the French chef who gave up his 3 Michelin stars to give good food at affordable prices to his customers.  That man is Alain Senderens and, I think handing back his stars was a great ploy to get infamous.   So we’d heard of this man… and when we were in Paris, we sought out his restaurant Senderens.   The food is spectacular.  The prices… hmm… I’ll let you be the judge.

There are two parts to his restaurant – the fine dining downstairs and the “Bar Le Passage” upstairs.   Given it’s lunch, we opted for the bar upstairs that has a 36 euro 3 course lunch.   We loved it so much, we returned for lunch again before flying out of Paris.

The 3 course lunch is fixed, so there’s no selecting of course.  First time were there, we were served a courgette cream soup as the amuse bouche which was light, cool and creamy.  Entree was a pork terrine, served with a rich hollandaise sauce, apples and lettuce heart topped with finely chopped eggs.  Any terrine served in France is fantastic, and this was no exception.   Main was a salted cod in mashed potato (it had a fancy French name!) and given I’m a big fan of both – it was delicious!  Buttery, salty, silky perfection with a toasty piece of garlic bread on the side.   Dessert was white chocolate mousse on a chocolate cake base with a strawberry sorbet atop.   It was a great way to finish the meal, although by then I was ready to roll out of there!

 


The second time round, we were presented with a capsicum cream soup as the amuse bouche.  Creamy and cool, served with a paper thin crouton.   Entree was a fish mousse with lobster bisque, which was so beautifully presented as quenelles with drops of bisque surround it and a thin crouton for texture.   The main was a roast chicken, served with  a parsley risotto on the side covered with parmesan foam.  This dish was impeccable,  perfectly tender chickeny chicken with complimentary sides to boost it’s taste – yum!  Dessert was a citrus mousse, with candied lime and oranges.  Again, a great finish to the meal.

I loved both our lunches here.  The first time we rocked up, I was a bit concerned as we’d been sightseeing the whole morning and I was disheveled and looking a bit worse for wear.  But we were greeted and welcomed like royalty, and whisked to the bar for our lunch.  Service was efficient and professional, and I never felt unattended.

The bar upstairs is a nice and casual environment.  And if you’re lucky to sit next to the window, you have a great view of the church in Madelaine.  The restaurant downstairs is a more formal, and elegantly decorated.  Next time I’m in Paris, definitely will try the restaurant!