We had booked Easter Lunch at a Bistro, ‘Au Bon Coin’, following excellent reviews on Trip Advisor by people who said they ate there Easter Sunday 2014, and it was so good that they went back again the next day.
However, we had no preconceptions: so we dragged ourselves away from the music and socialising outside St. Medard and walked down only a couple of blocks, to a small side street, where we found the Bistro on a quiet residential corner. It did not look much, but there you go, never judge by appearances:)
They greeted us warmly, sat us at a tiny table and almost immediately the whole place filled up, entire families of three or four generations, down to the tiniest in a pushchair, and two elderly ladies dining a deux.
We ordered a starter of chicken livers with a shallot confit and fresh raspberries all on a circlet of puff pastry. The main dish was roast lamb with spring vegetables, and for dessert I ordered red fruits with cream cheese and nougatine and L ordered a sponge doused in Limoncello and topped with fresh whipped cream.
They brought L the wine she ordered and a carafe of water as per my usual: they also brought small glasses filled with a mushroom sauce topped with olive oil, for us to nibble on with the bread.
I am not very fond of mushrooms but this was absolutely lovely! Neither of us ate any bread, we decided it was going to be hard enough to eat three courses, but hey, it is Easter.
Then the starters arrived. I scraped mine off the pastry, (not eating gluten), and found lots of the lovely raspberry sauce.
It was cooked to perfection, and I am not guilty of hyperbole here, and tasted wonderful. We just sat for a minute staring at each other, not used to eating food like this.
“WOW”, said L.
After a slow, relaxed beginning, the lamb was served.
Sitting on fresh young turnip, yellow and orange carrots, green beans, freshly hulled peas, a new potato, garlic roasted in its skin and a rosemary gravy.
As she cut into the meat, L stopped, raised her knife and fork, and said, “You try it”.
I did. Well, what to say. Enough that L who is a gourmand of some experience said it was the best lamb she had eaten in 60 years. And it was.
A small, simple, unpretentious corner Bistro, was giving us the meal of a lifetime: this was what one imagined French cooking to be about, and what is getting harder and harder to find.
We spent a couple of hours over our meal, absorbing the atmosphere, talking to the waiters (both of them), and finally the chef to thank him, as well as some of the children and parents at other tables because inevitably the kids moved around and came and talked to us, so the parents followed suit. It was a real family Easter Sunday meal, and we were made to feel so welcome.
I told them that we would remember the meal for a long time. We felt as if all our senses had been satisfied.
(In fact it was so good, that we have cancelled our Reservation at Le Train Bleu for our last day in Paris, and made another one at this Bistro instead).
The Bistro emptied gradually, we being the last to leave (!) and we decided to walk over to the Jardin des Plantes: this houses the Natural History Museum as well as greenhouses and all kinds of planting. Unfortunately not a lot was in flower or even full growth yet and when the sun went in it became very chilly.
But we met most of Paris out for a walk to exercise after Easter Lunch and we did meet one plant which was feeling Springlike:)
The far exit opens on to the Pont d’Austerlitz, which always make me think of War and Peace, which we crossed, suddenly meeting crowds of tourists: it is interesting where you find the groups, perhaps following some tour plan. At the other side we saw a canal branching off the Seine and heading towards the Bastille, so we followed it and walked alongside until it vanished underground. (It then reappears up in the area of St. Martin.)
This was near the Seine, you can just see the bridge in the distance. We found lots of barges and yachts moored up at each end of the water in wider basins.
Here, where it was below street level, it was warm and sheltered and the plants were further ahead than other places we saw.
People were taking advantage of the sheltered sunny spots too. In places families were sitting on the grass with picnics and the children with their Easter eggs.
The Bastille coming into view.
The end of the water, with the metro station up ahead, and the final stop for the boats for a while.
We finally arrived back at the apartment at about five o’clock after a memorable Easter Sunday and flopped down on the sofa with a large pot of tea.
We never ate again except for a tiny snack just before we went to bed to fend off night starvation;) Shows just how filling a really good, nutritious meal can be.
Read Full Post »