Ahhh…Paris…I do love you so! I miss you – but with our time of being together being a long distant memory…I now just get to enjoy you as a visitor.
Fortunately, it’s still very easy for me to get there for a regular fix. Although not often enough having just realised that it has been a year since we last visited. I wrote this post – but then failed to post it! I know that the restaurant reviewed is still amazing…so what the heck, I’m going to post it anyway.
When visiting for a weekend, with only 2 lunches and 2 dinners, I have to be very strategic on where we eat – and what we eat. Nothing worse than stuffing yourself on the first day so that the next day all you want is a bowl of virtuous broth…so easy to do in Paris!
So I set off to research what was new in the City of Gastronomy. Trawling through my usual Paris restaurant review sites, I eventually ended up with the perfect balance – or at least I hoped so.
Approx 1 hour after arriving in Paris we were sitting at L’Agape in the 17th. This is a Michelin starred restaurant, and one I found from an article, ‘Best Value Michelin Starred Restaurants in Paris’. Of course, best value is only going to be attainable by booking a mid-week lunch and going with the set lunch menu. I actually dined in their second restaurant which opened in the 6th back in 2009 – L’Agape Substance (review here; since closed)…and I loved it. So when I saw that they had a lunch menu of €39 for 3 courses with an amuse bouche, how could I not resist.
We walked from our hotel in the 8th, and as we were getting nearer I had to stop and change out of my trainers into something a bit more fitting for a Michelin starred restaurant. (As an aside, my BIGGEST observation this trip was just how many chic French women were wearing trainers. This was not the case when I lived there in 2010-2012. For sure you would attract a lot of stares when you walked around in trainers…and I’m talking fashionable trainers here, not a trainer that you would wear to the gym. I even saw one 60+ woman – wearing what looked to be like a Hermes grey wool, drapey coat – together with bright orange trainers. WOW!) Anyway, I digress…while I was hopping about on the street I noticed a Japanese girl walking with intent down the street and wondered whether perhaps she was going to L’Agape. When we walked into the restaurant, there were only 3 other tables – one of which was her!
Not sure why I needed to mention this…ahhh yes, this restaurant was not stuffy. Admittedly, the older gentleman who welcomed and sat us at our table did go a half degree colder when we said we would do the set lunch menu…perhaps I was just being super-sensitive to the fact that €39 wouldn’t have covered any of the sauces served on the mains from the a la carte menu! However after a swift glass of champagne (made with 90% Pinot Meuniere and 10% Chardonnay with no added sugar or sulphites – in my book, that should be classified as a health drink), I got over my guilt. The best bit of his (perceived) disdain was that he then passed us off to Leah, a young waitress who was also the sommelier. She was amazing – so friendly, knowledgeable and with a taste in wines that matched ours (first time I’ve heard someone talk about salinity of wine – and she’s right, that is a key element of a good wine, together with acidity). The bottle of Macon Chardonnay (again biodynamic) that she recommended was killer. I wanted to be her best friend by the end of lunch.
So onto the food…OMG yum! The first course was quite possibly the best flavoured egg dish ever. A perfectly cooked egg was perched under a pile of fresh spinach, finished with parmesan and some sort of foam that I now forget…and the best part? Served with a petite jambon de Paris toastie on the side. I could eat that once a week, every week for the rest of my life…yes, that good.
My main was chicken (one of those fab French chickens)…delish (somehow my photo skills slipped and I have no proof of that dish).
Leah then asked if we wanted to supplement with the cheese course – which she told us was a Comte, rare as hens teeth (‘only 20 rounds produced per year’ is what I have in my notes…but I could have sworn she said there were only 2 big rolls produced annually. 2 or 20, either way, that’s not many). Of course, didn’t ask the price…being Comte, my most favourite French cheese, how could one resist? Two plates please! And what a plate of cheese it was…literally…a plate of slivers of Comte. (I note my notes as saying ‘almost better than chocolate’!) Discovered at the end of the meal that each plate was €22 each. Gulp.
Cheese was followed by blueberry with a cloud of almond milk and orange blossom with amaretti biscuit. That was just to prepare the palate. Need I say more…
Dessert comprised chocolate, orange, passion fruit, tonka and pineapple. I was dubious about that combo – but shouldn’t have worried, as it was pretty incredible. The passion fruit’s acidity sorted it all out perfectly.
Finishing with coffee and mini madelines…life was pretty damned amazing. A Friday lunch in Paris, in springtime…nothing can beat it.
51 rue Jouffroy-d’Abbans
Tel. 01 42 27 20 18
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