24 May2010

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On our last night in Paris, we dined at Les Papilles, which came highly recommended by Mikel, a commenter and resident of Paris. We had reserved a table in advance, were shown to the best table in the house, at the back of the dining room, with some windows that let the waning summer light in… This small wine store, deli and restaurant served set menus, with just a couple of choices for the main course, and you could select wines from their shelves without an additional corkage fee. It was extremely charming… and very much caught up with the recent trend towards less ostentatious restaurants… this one probably had one of the owners at the helm or even in the kitchen. The menu was as the chef desired and guests were happy to have someone else determine what they were going to eat for dinner (I think there was also a brief a la carte menu, but we went with the Chef’s recommendations)…

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There were five of us for dinner that evening, my sister and niece, as well as Mrs. MM, The Teen and myself. Service was “family style” and we decided to go with the waiter’s recommendations as far as food and wine were concerned. The narrow store/restaurant could probably sit just 20, and you would be so close to your neighbor that private conversation would be impossible. Cozy (tight) is perhaps the best way to describe it.

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A generous soup bowl filled with fleur de sel…

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A nice wine from the South of France, if I recall correctly…

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… and after a glass or two, this large soup tureen arrived at our table. Announced as Cream of Celeriac Soup, one might be forgiven if they were at first underwhelmed…

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…then large soup bowls were laid in front of us next, filled with curried celeriac, a chutney of celeric, croutons, fried celeriac leaves and a foamy cheese and some chives. The soup was then ladled onto the “bottomings” and you kind of mixed it up and took your first spoonfull. This was SPECTACULAR. Simple food, but taken a couple of levels up by the addition of celeriac in several guises, with attention to flavor, texture and visual appeal. Really good. And we couldn’t finish the contents of the tureen…

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An appropriate interval between courses, long enough to spot this wire form for a summer ivy topiary and a view to the courtyard/parking lot out back, and the next course was served…

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… an 8-10 hour stew of wonderfully tender beef with vegetables and a gorgeous wine sauce so jampacked with flavor it made your eyes roll. The color of this dish was also stunning, not the dull “death warmed over” look of my stews at home with lots of wine. This was not fancy food. Instead comfort food done superbly well.

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Served in a large oval copper pan, the stew was topped with perfectly cooked veggies (snow peas, carrots, semi-dried tomatoes, onions, garlic, etc.) that were vibrant and a nice contrast to the dark stew. This was obviously assembled just before serving, and I liked the result… The meat was very tender and tasty, the sauce had serious depth of flavor. A bit on the salty side, but anything cooked this long is at risk of that…

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A plate with a generous wedge of blue cheese and a stewed prune followed.

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And dessert was a panna cotta style dessert with berry topping. All struck the right note. A wonderful meal professionally served. At roughly Euro40 per person, excluding wine, I thought this was a great deal. More and more tourists seem to be finding Les Papilles, but if you can manage to get a table, I highly recommend it. MANY, MANY thanks to Mikel for suggesting this and lots of other things to do in Paris.

P.S. My wonderful experience with the celeriac soup at this dinner led to my surprise/joy at finding locally grown celeriac here, and which I made into a prawn and celeriac salad, here.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. alicia says:

    That is a perfect Parisian meal in my book!

    May 24, 2010 | 6:56 pm

     
  2. Tonito says:

    Merci beaucoup! (The only French I know).

    Now, back to my bowl of french fries.

    May 24, 2010 | 7:58 pm

     
  3. Lee says:

    bottomings… like the beans in halo-halo :) perfect!

    May 24, 2010 | 10:59 pm

     
  4. charlie says:

    Thanks you MR MM my wife and I will visit this bistro next week while we are in Paris

    May 25, 2010 | 2:26 am

     
  5. tna says:

    Kudos to Mikel for the recommendation..everything looked perfect – Paris in a plate =)

    May 25, 2010 | 6:51 am

     
  6. faith says:

    That stew just made me sad and unsatisfied with the lunch I just had. Hahaha.

    May 25, 2010 | 2:43 pm

     
  7. Footloose says:

    Stewed prunes is for breakfast. I love bottomings too. In fact my friends admiringly call me bottomings feeder.

    May 26, 2010 | 10:16 pm

     
  8. mikel says:

    ahh you finally made it MM…sarap no?

    May 27, 2010 | 4:35 am

     
  9. mikel says:

    i get it now, these are delayed posts from last year’s trip. glad you had a good dinner, sayang you didn’t get either the poitrine de porc braisée (pork belly) or magret de canard as a main course. looks like you got their version of beef bourguignon(only one pre fixe menu at dinner). the lunch menu has an outstanding seared tuna salad. bertrand, the owner, used to be a pastry chef at bristol hotel and didn’t speak a word of english when i first started coming here nearly 7 years ago. anyways, got a new list of restos for your next trip over.

    May 27, 2010 | 8:17 pm

     
  10. KUMAGCOW says:

    That beef dish looks superb…

    oh which reminds me I have lots of blue cheese in the fridge… do you have any suggestions what to do with it? I dunno what to do with it other than salads and pizza heheh…

    May 28, 2010 | 5:04 am

     
  11. ian says:

    I agree MM, very good restaurant, have eaten there myself. The chefs there use to work for the restaurant I currently work for now in paris. Sadly when i ate there… the soup was not in the menu.

    May 30, 2010 | 2:20 am

     
  12. cess says:

    I hope, you could post something about how to make a delicious cheesecake the easy way. :) –> Your own version would be great! :)

    Jan 16, 2011 | 11:17 am

     
  13. Dondoinks says:

    Thanks for the recommendation Mm,I also found this resto highly favored by lonely planet
    In their list of bistros in the Latin quarter area and tried it out last month.it turned out to be our best meal in Paris despite the rather slow service.the owner also acts as the bartender,host and manager all rolled into one.great wine selection amidst cozy interiors..will surely return there on our next trip.

    Jun 1, 2011 | 10:33 pm

     
 

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