13  Dec
Brasserie Lipp

Here’s a nice thing to do on a rainy Paris day, such those that have been steadily accruing under the banner of low grey clouds that increasingly choke the cool blue late autumn skies. Take yourself off somewhere that possesses a sense of literary history worthy of the greatest libraries, a lauded decorative aesthetic reminiscent of a much-loved museum, and a warmth and vigour that transport’s one to the private parlours of modernity’s cultural heroes. In short, take yourself to Brasserie Lipp and partake in your own slice of Parisian history.

When ruminating about Brasserie Lipp, I can’t say that it is the kind of place that you might necessarily frequent for the food. Whilst the quality of the fare is very solid (with some of the finest mash potatoes that I have eaten on the Left Bank), it must be said that Lipp is both something to aspire to and something to be comforted by. Nourishment is guaranteed, even if it does come at a price. … read more »

Gabrielle, December 13, 2008 | Drink, Eat, Visit | 4 Comments »

20  Oct
Gocce di Caffè

As I know I’ve said before, good coffee in Paris is a rare thing. There is something about the way that the French make coffee that manages to significantly undermine the extraordinary efforts they make in other areas of the kitchen (you can have the most airy soufflé in the world, but if the coffee that accompanies it is watery and otherwise tasteless, the effect will be ruined).

This is a strange and sad fact, considering how close France is to Italy, at least in terms of its nationwide gastronomic fixation (to say nothing of its geographical proximity).

I think this problem goes beyond nationalistic rivalry when it comes to refusing to make coffee in the true Italian style. I fear that perhaps it’s something more thoroughly ingrained: for example, generally speaking, the French simply do not understand what they are doing.

Ok, so maybe I’m being a little harsh. Let’s try and be constructive about this and instead ask the question, where can you find acceptable coffee?

… read more »

Gabrielle, October 20, 2008 | Drink, Eat | 6 Comments »

16  Oct
L’Estaminet

It is a rare thing to feel you know a bar or bistro intimately, as though you have been going there for years, even though you just walked through the door for the first time thirty minutes ago. Happily, L’Estaminet is one of those places.

The first time I went there for dinner, midnight one drunken summer’s night two and a half years ago (an unforgettable meal that would change the course of my own personal history from that point onwards… but not just because of the food), I had an immediate affection for the place.

There is something about L’Estaminet that invokes a pleasant sensation of ‘organised chaos’. They don’t take bookings so the front section functions as bar, waiting area and number one destination for ‘drinking games’ (be it 3pm or 2 am, there is always a motley crowd ready with a glass and a smile).  The convivial informality continues as the cute, casual and colloquial staff and make you feel as though you’re just as welcome as the guy who has been propping up the bar every day for the last 5 years. … read more »

Gabrielle, October 16, 2008 | Drink, Eat | 1 Comment »

14  Oct
Racines

So here we find ourselves, down the Passage de Panoramas in the 2nd arrondissement, Paris’s oldest and one of its most prettily atmospheric covered arcades. We’re here to sniff around one of capital’s most talked about wine dives, Racines.

Something of a natural wine junkie (more about this later) our heavily tattooed and very charismatic host Pierre Jancou barely waits for us to be seated before he starts feeding streams of information about what he’s going to present us to drink this evening. A wine bar with food, Racines doesn’t bother with such oddities as wine lists (too methodical) and certainly doesn’t feel the need to provide an elaborate menu of 30 different food options to choose from (too democratic), when a perfectly executed handful of entrée’s, mains and desserts are clearly quite sufficient. Though not everyone appreciates Pierre’s style, those who are interested in good, simple food and in taking the vineyard less travelled certainly do. … read more »

Gabrielle, October 14, 2008 | Drink, Eat | No Comments »

03  Oct
Tokyo Eat

How do you like your art? Traditional? Chic? Classical? Or avant-garde? Well, the people behind Tokyo Eat at the Palais de Tokyo are assuming that you enjoy your art in much the same way that you enjoy your food: lots of it, maybe slightly erratically presented, a hint of multiculturalism and largely contemporary in style, whilst remaining at the end of the day largely palatable without anything too difficult to digest. Am I talking about the current exhibition in the cavernous halls of the museum space at the Palais de Tokyo, or am I talking about the dishes served in its yawning restaurant, Tokyo Eat? It’s difficult to be sure: either way, you’ll come away with a distinct sense of atmosphere, even if not everything is as distinguished at that of the genre’s current masters.

In what has become one of the trendiest places in Paris to chow down on contemporary food and culture, it is entirely possible that you may become overwhelmed by the constant sensory overload that is Tokyo Eat. Greeted by bucket seats and geometric tables (designed and decorated by notable artists) and acidulous lights that are half retro and half ‘deep space’ in their theme, Tokyo Eat is equal parts bar, restaurant and ‘place to be seen’, though not necessarily in that order. … read more »

Gabrielle, October 3, 2008 | Drink, Eat, Visit | No Comments »

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