earlier this week we spent a few days in paris, taking advantage of cheap eurostar tickets. despite doing lots of research about where to stay, and eat, nothing went to plan. our hotel was overbooked and we were relocated to a very underwhelming place nearby. then all the restaurants i wanted to eat at were full. luckily we had better luck with rearranging our food plans and still managed to eat some fabulous meals.
la locanda , 8 rue du dragon, 6th (01 45 44 12 53)
this friendly restaurant has provided me with one of only a handful of stand-out italian meals that i’ve ever had (too often i think, “i could do that”). my starter of fried courgettes, the flower stuffed with provolone cheese, were light and fresh tasting. this was a lovely balance to the richness of the spaghetti with lobster that followed. the lobster was perfectly cooked and the pasta coated in a tomato sauce that had a deep sweetness (tomatoes roasted with balsamic vinegar?). the tiramisu was good but really didn’t need the berries that sat on top and which were quickly pushed aside. the other dishes we had were provola marinara (fried provolone cheese, too heavy a starter for me but david was happy enough), sea bass with lemon and a beautiful apple tart. the wine we had was also superb – principessa gavia gavi – with crisp and fruity flavours.
chez jean , 8 rue st lazare, 9th (01 48 78 62 73)
we took advantage of chez jean’s 39 euro lunch menu and left for the eurostar feeling very satisfied. the menu is french but the spicing more international. my vichyssoise was flavoured with lemongrass and david’s mackerel was served with curried girolles. i then had rascasse (scorpion fish) served on a bed of saffron cauliflower with crunchy walnuts for textural variety, a great combination. in between mouthfuls i sneaked tastes of david’s rich pork mignon which was served with white beans, a sorrel sauce and a praline crisp (this addition to the dish did nothing for me). puddings were equally imaginative – my chocolate and lemon pudding was cooked like a crème brulee and served with blackberry sorbet (it was also topped with toasted buckwheat which i didn’t like much). david had a lighter pudding of amandine biscuits and grapes with a cinnamon sauce, topped with a mascarpone sorbet. coffee came with a bitter chocolate and aniseed mousse.
i’d happily go back to both and recommend them to you, next time you are in the area.