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Afternoon tea in Paris

Next month I'm to take an older family member out for what the English call high tea, along the lines of finger sandwiches, scones and a selection of cakes/patisseries. It's an occasion and I want it to be a full production number so one of the big hotels would be a better location than a salon de thé.
There are various options among the big names, does anyone have any personal recs?

Nov 17, 2014
Arago in France

Getting Into Paris Late, Will Be at Champs Elysee

Is 9pm the time the flight's due in? Do you have to wait for luggage? Are you flying into CDG or Orly?
If the answers are: yes, yes & CDG, you're not likely to actually get to your hotel until around 11 and there's not much chance of a unique dining experience then, especially if you want to turn in before midnight.
Which hotel? You may have to resign yourself to eating something there.

Oct 15, 2014
Arago in France
1

PARIS IN OCTOBER -- MUST EATS

Clotten cream, and also lemon curd which for some reason seems to be available in large quantity.

Oct 11, 2014
Arago in France

PARIS IN OCTOBER -- MUST EATS

Souphie: I have considered trying their spelt bread but everytime the chief gorgon has been on duty. Flan & quiche I'd never buy. We tend to go for the Alesienne at Saibrun, which we like, and the occasional patisserie for a treat. Their croissants aren't quite flakey enough for me.
As you live round there, do please try the new place when it opens in November and post a review. We can compare notes in person when I get back in Dec.

Oct 11, 2014
Arago in France

PARIS IN OCTOBER -- MUST EATS

Sorry souphie but neither I nor anyone in my building would agree with you re Pain et Gourmandises. It's our closest bakery and was tried by almost everyone when it opened. The croissants are inedible, the pâtisseries are unappealing and although rumour has it that the bread's not bad, I have no wish to brave the accueil glacial more than once.
On the other hand, a M.O.F. whose name I forget is planning to open a bakery on the corner of rue d'Alesia/rue Montbrun next month and we have high hopes.
In the meantime for my money Dominique Saibron at 77 ave du Gal Leclerc is the best bakery in the area.

Oct 10, 2014
Arago in France

Paris in August?

For the past several years we've specifically chosen to spend July & August in Paris. It's noticeable that every year there's more and more going on and fewer businesses of all kinds closing for the entire month. The one week when the city still feels deserted is around 15th which won't affect you.
As mentioned, all the museums & tourist sights are open but this year they certainly didn't have shorter lines, the queues were tremendous so you should take any option of pre-bought tickets which allow entry at a specific time. Even then with security measures you won't be walking straight in.
There is indeed less traffic, although more than in the past when I could often cross the local boulevard regardless of the lights. It's certainly possible and much more pleasant to get about by bus rather than metro. In any case, avoid Line 1 at all costs, packed to the doors with tourists the entire summer this year.
The smaller markets, like ours in Place Jacques Demy in 14th has noticeably fewer stalls in August. Where are you staying? users of the one closest to you will know the score.
We don't have problems with restaurant closures that early in the month, although that may depend on the type of place you have in mind and as John Talbott said, it's far too early to know.

Sep 29, 2014
Arago in France

Must get Right, Paris 3 days/nights in Nov.

Personally I'd finish the evening at La Closerie des Lilas and I second the rec for Au Bon Coin. An alternative which is even closer, approx 5 minute walk, would be Sur le Fil, rue Léopold Robert. Both are locals' haunts and unlikely to feature in the NY Times or the FT.

Sep 29, 2014
Arago in France

La Cabaña

Yes, went there for lunch this summer and it was fantastic. Can't recommend it highly enough.
The location is an unprepossessing suburb south of Murcia city but don't be put off. The tone is set once you turn into the large manicured grounds. The name cabaña, or hut, is probably ironic. It is hut-shaped although on a grand and sophisticated scale, with Richard Rogers-type stainless steel tubes in the roof presumably for the aircon. All the tables for two were next to the big glass windows, ours looked over a patio with metal sculptures and a waterfall. The staff were multi-lingual of course but professional enough to reply in Spanish to our accented version.
We had a tasting menu, normally the chef's surprise although my wife hadn't realised this and blurted out our choice of main courses: turbot & pigeon which they then kindly served us. It was a multi-course affair and there was a bit of flim flam in the presentation, I don’t think anything came on an ordinary round plate and one dish was served on what looked like a glass ashtray. The food was incredibly creative with continuously surprising textures and tastes. I'm sorry not to be able to report in detail on any of the dishes, it would have involved very lengthy note-taking and we were just lost in the whole experience. It was an absolutely fantastic meal. We spent 3 hours over it and the bill including service for 2 tasting menus, a bottle of red & a glass of white, water plus one coffee served with more chocolates than we could possibly eat, came to a grand total of 200 euros. Astonishing value for money in my opinion.

Sep 28, 2014
Arago in Spain/Portugal

Must get Right, Paris 3 days/nights in Nov.

I wouldn't disagree that Kigawa is good, but not amazing in my book.
For some reason we haven't eaten there for quite a while although it's near our place. We recently returned for lunch inspired by inter alia John Talbott's enthusiastic review.
We noticed straightaway they've upped their game front of house. Decor seems to have been spruced up and there was an expensively large vase of flowers on show. Instead of being served by a lady we'd taken to be the chef's wife, service was by a youngish, professional, multi-lingual male/female couple.
We ate some of the dishes John had, tartare of dorade & sweetbreads. The other main course of pigeon was excellent. The food is undoubtedly good, tasty, perfectly cooked and very, very well presented. Although the two of us really enjoyed the lunch, there is a 'but':
as it was Sunday, choice is a la carte only with starters & desserts around 11 euros and mains well over 30. Our bill with 1 glass of Macon, a bottle of St Joseph and one coffee came to 175.20 euros which for us was a tad too much. For that price I'd really like a bit more to the experience of eating out in addition to the actual food and Kigawa is small and slightly crowded and gives you the impression of being in a modest bistro.
Flying Friar - it looks as if you intend to go for lunch. To keep within your E40/pp inclusive of wine/coffee budget, you'll need to stick to the weekday lunch menu at 22/28 euros which is what we'll be doing in future.

Sep 28, 2014
Arago in France

Please Help in Providing the "Just-Right" Combination in Paris

"Already decided are dinners at La Maison Courtine and La Grande Cascade.....

La Grande Cascade for a birthday dinner, yes, but I have to ask: why La Maison Courtine??
I looked it up in case there's another one somewhere but could only find the place I know on the Ave du Maine. We ate there, admittedly a while ago and it was so poor I wouldn't dream of going back.
There are also several good options nearby:
Kigawa (although I'm not quite as enthusiastic as John Talbott and will report back on a recent lunch soonest)
La Grande Ourse - much more original cooking IMO than LMC
Nina which also gets a good review from Mr Talbott.

Do please explain.

Sep 13, 2014
Arago in France

Nina, rue du Chateau, 14eme

Many thanks for that. They obviously have a good PR and I wasn't sure if the hype was justified. I'll give it a go on my next visit.

Sep 11, 2014
Arago in France

Nina, rue du Chateau, 14eme

Would be interested in a report from anyone who's tried this place. It opened this summer I believe with a chef who worked at the oft-mentioned ZKG.

Sep 10, 2014
Arago in France

Le Louis XV-Lunch or Dinner

"If you are comfortable you enjoy the meal..."
Quite agree, that was our approach.

Aug 12, 2014
Arago in France

Le Louis XV-Lunch or Dinner

When my wife and I went she wore a dress, chic but not especially formal. I wore an open-necked shirt and a summer linen jacket, not a suit and no tie. I would think any kind of jacket for your husband would be fine.

Aug 11, 2014
Arago in France

Le Louis XV-Lunch or Dinner

Like mr gimlet we had a great lunch out on the terrace, it's a wonderful spot in the summer.
I hadn't thought many diners travelled there and back by bus but we have that in common with him too!

Aug 08, 2014
Arago in France

Paris lunch in August

Prior to a meeting next Wednesday near Alma Marceau a pal and I need to get together and have a light, reasonably priced (20 euro) lunch. No chance in that part of the 16th I fear, so the best option is probably for us to be a direct metro ride away on line 9. I'm an habitué of the south rive gauche at lunchtime so this is unknown territory for me and to cap it all, it's August.
I'm hoping some CH stalwarts will have one or two suggestions.

Aug 02, 2014
Arago in France

La Cabaña

Anyone tried La Cabaña, just outside Murcia? Got 1 Michelin star in 2009.

May 13, 2014
Arago in Spain/Portugal

Jules Verne Eiffel Tower dress code?

I'm not looking to push any boundaries but I haven't worn a tie for over 10 years. During that time I've eaten at various starred restaurants including Le Cinq & Le Louis XV, albeit for lunch. I get the impression that 'smart casual' is acceptable just about everywhere, that would normally include a jacket for dinner, except on a really hot summer evening, although not necessarily a suit.
Quite a few years ago I had tea at the Ritz in London in a polo necked sweater and an extremely smart Kenzo jacket. My wife and I stuck around after we'd finished and decided to stay on, without moving from our seats, and have an early evening drink I was pretty surprised to be told I couldn't be served as I wasn't wearing a tie, although they did recognise the situation was slightly absurd and subsequently relented.
An acquaintance went to Lasserre some time ago and was handed a tie to put on. Do they still do that?

Mar 13, 2014
Arago in France

Jules Verne Eiffel Tower dress code?

A tie? do you really think that's necessary?

Mar 12, 2014
Arago in France

Cooking class in Paris

There have been a number of posts about cooking classes in Paris but I’ve only seen the Atelier Guy Martin mentioned once, by parisjo who took her 8 yr old grandson to one of the kids classes. I decided to try a 4-hour Grand Véfour class. They take place from 09.30-13.30 on Saturdays and involve cooking and then eating a 3-course meal.
It was held in one of two well laid out purpose-built kitchens in a building some way from Guy Martin's Grand Véfour restaurant, close to Miromesnil metro. The class was given by a chef who clearly knew his stuff as well as how to educate and entertain. He passed on lots of useful tips on various techniques while moving us briskly through the preparation, cooking and presentation stages of the three courses we prepared. In summary: lobster salad with spinach wrapped nems, low temperature baked chicken breast stuffed with trompette de la mort mushrooms & foie gras, and baked mango with caramel sauce and an exotic fruit salad. This description doesn't quite do justice to the intricacy of the dishes.
The class was conducted entirely in French and all the participants were natives except me. I can't say whether they can accommodate non-French speakers. You'd need a fairly good level of French and a reasonable vocabulary of cooking terms to get the best out of the class.
I may have been lucky but the group I was part of, four men and six women, was very convivial. There was a lot of laughing and joking and, much to my surprise, everyone used tu more or less from the start. We began with a lot of chopping of fruit and vegetables, brunoise of carrot, artichoke and mushroom, julienne of white radish, another brunoise of pineapple, papaya and strawberry. The next phase was the preparation and cooking of the lobster, chicken and mango. After this we embarked on the sauces and garnishes and when everything was ready, the chef showed us how to present it all professionally on the plate. This last stage was intricate and quite a bit of time was spent on it, taking us to the end of the four hours the class was scheduled to last. We all then sat down to eat and ‘analyse’ our lunch, accompanied by very good wines, finishing with champagne to go with the dessert. The chef was with us throughout and we carried on discussing what we had done and picking up more tips and suggestions from him.

At first sight, this class might seem pricey at €200, but all ten of us really enjoyed ourselves and learned a lot over more than six hours in total. We came away after a very good lunch with copies of the recipes and a Guy Martin apron.

Jan 20, 2014
Arago in France

The awesome bread saga continues with a place in Alesia

This new Pain & Gourmandises is the nearest boulangerie to me and I was hoping it would give D Saibron a run for its money. The bread may be good but there's a problem with the older woman behind the counter who really doesn't know the meaning of the word accueil. Didn't like their croissants, not flaky at all. Will give the flan a try when someone else is serving.

Dec 24, 2013
Arago in France

Pierre Gagnaire reservation

I got a form sent as an email attachment from Guy Savoy to guarantee a reservation.
I'm planning to print it, fill it in & scan and send back but it's a pain, especially as theirs doesn't need signing and it should be possible for them to send a form that can be filled in online.

Oct 24, 2013
Arago in France

Groupon for Guy Savoy

They've come back to me and offered to amend the menu automnal to accommodate Mrs A so we're going ahead with that.

Oct 15, 2013
Arago in France

Groupon for Guy Savoy

Update on this offer:

Bookings via the website aren't limited to Tues, Wed, Thurs, I was given one for Friday lunch in December. Credit card details are required to confirm the resa which must also be re-confirmed the day before, failing which it will be cancelled. In the case of a no-show, or cancellation after 10h00 on the day, 200 euros per person will be charged to the credit card.

Menu automnal:
Amuse-bouches
Tourteau et toutes les couleurs de betteraves
Tete de bar rotie, concasse d'huitres au chou
Foie gras, pommes de terre et chataignes dans un bouillon d'automne
Tourte de gibiers et champignons
Chariot des desserts

Served with the following wines:
Coupe de Champagne Guy Savoy
Vin de la Vallee de la Bekaa 2009, Domaine de Baal, Lebanon
Riesling "Selection de Vieilles Vignes" 2009, Dom Trimbach
Montlouis sur Loire "Les Choisilles" 2010, Dom Francois Chidaine
Madiran "Argile Rouge" 2004, Chateau Bouscasse
Gaillac Doux 2011, Dom du Moulin

Would be really interested in feedback if anyone gives it a try as unfortunately Mrs A can't eat shellfish, so we won't be going.

Oct 10, 2013
Arago in France

Groupon for Guy Savoy

PS Pse forgive typo

If you go and try it, please do report back

Oct 04, 2013
Arago in France

Groupon for Guy Savoy

The website doesn't mention the offer being limited to Tues, Weds & Thurs. I wonder if that's only for the Groupon folks?

DeppityDawg: we get to Paris just before the deal ends on 21 December. If you try go, please do report back.

Oct 04, 2013
Arago in France

Sur le fil, 14eme

Another August bistro discovery which might also interest t19103 who seems to be eating in our neighbourhood too.
Run by a husband (chef) & wife (front of house) and just round the corner from the bright lights of Montparnasse. I believe it opened earlier this year.
The dining room is semi-divided into three because of the long narrow premises but it's nicely decorated and not at all gloomy.
The menu offers 4 choices for each course with a weekday lunchtime prix fixe of 22 euros.
We started with one salad of razor clams & mussels with basil cream and one grilled vegetables. The latter sounds uninteresting but was more than the sum of its parts: lightly cooked vegetables with great seasoning and herbs, a really good summer starter. Mains were lamb gigot with polenta & parmesan and cod with spinach & pureed celeriac. Both had tasty sauces. Desserts: mirabelles with vanilla ice-cream and figs with confit lemon cream, almond ice-cream & pieces of meringue.
It's one of those places where the dishes are far more inventive than you might expect from the description on the menu.
A word of warning, the wine list is pricey. We settled for a bottle of the house red from Languedoc Roussillion which was unexpectedly served chilled.
With the current LaFourchette offer, two meals & wine came to 72.20 euros. Highly recommended.

Aug 24, 2013
Arago in France

Au Bon Coin

It was the highlight of the meal.

Aug 21, 2013
Arago in France

Au Bon Coin

I also discovered Au Bon Coin in the dog days of August and second the recommendation. It sounds as if the same server was on duty, she was kept busy but remained charming and friendly and everyone received good service. My main course was their unusual thick cut of calf's liver which was perfectly cooked. I didn't think the millefeuille was a complete success, the pistachio cream was a bit cloying.

Two points I would add: portions are generous and this is definitely a family-friendly bistro. There were two or three families with young children or babies all of whom seemed very happy. There are often questions about where to go with young kids, this would be a good option.
It was also a dog-friendly restaurant, but that's another story.

I'd just say that of the two, I preferred Le Buisson Ardent which I reviewed mid-August. For a price only a couple of euros more expensive than Au Bon Coin (with a LaFourchette deal), the cooking is definitely more creative.

Aug 21, 2013
Arago in France

Le Buisson Ardent/August/LaFourchette

We needed a place for lunch on Sat 10 Aug, when all our usual haunts had their "fermeture annuelle" signs up, and decided to try this bistro.
On arrival we got a great welcome, chaleureux to say the least. Menus were brought and we were offered a carafe of water and directed to the wine list in case we wanted an aperitif (welcome change from a hard sell on bottled water/apero). The menu had 3 choices each for starter, main, dessert; in addition we were given an amuse bouche of carrot & orange soup with star anise which nicely balanced its three ingredients.

My starter was rabbit terrine: a generous slab with a well judged accompaniment of mildly spicy fruit chutney. The other starter was gravadlax served with celeriac in a puree and in tiny pieces, some citrus sauce, another good pairing, and a pea & wasabi cream, light on the wasabi which pleased my wife. Mains included cod, and our choices: casserole of lamb sweetbreads with confit of lemon, this needed a touch of salt but was delicious, the sweetbreads wonderfully tender. The other main was chicken breast with polenta, mushrooms & onions and a bacon foam, a wonderful dish, the chicken moist & tender, tasty smoky accompaniments and the polenta a revelation for someone who rarely eats it. Obviously cream had been added and also, according to the waiter, a touch of horseradish just enough to give depth but no fire. Desserts: biscuit rose with rum, layered with an apricot & raspberry filling with rosemary, and iced melon & watermelon soup with a touch of cassis and a cappuccino topping of cream, served with a madeleine. Wine list was fairly short with choice of bottles or 50 cl carafes.

All starters were 13 euros, mains 26, desserts 11, or 3 courses for 40 euros but with a La Forchette deal the 3 courses cost 28 euros, a great price for the quality. Just goes to show how right Parigi was in his 26/7 post re August. Also that gands can be reassured La Forchette deals are indeed honoured in practice.

Last Saturday was a bit chilly but on a nice day, their terrace would be a great spot. It's in the shade of the trees and the pavement is wide so the tables aren't next to the kerb.

Now we need to come up with somewhere comparable for lunch on Saturday 17/8, a bigger challenge! suggestions welcome.

Aug 15, 2013
Arago in France