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Arago's Profile

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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

5eme and 14eme suggestions

The Gal Leclerc Monoprix is actually bigger and more spacious than the Daguerre one.

There's an excellent fishmonger in the Marche Mouton-Douvernet who's promised us he'll be there on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout August. The one in rue Daguerre will be closed for about 3 weeks.

Jul 26, 2013
Arago in France

Hemingway, Cascais

Thanks, I'll take a look.

May 26, 2013
Arago in Spain/Portugal

Hemingway, Cascais

I did just that, in English, as unfortunately I don't speak Portuguese. The reply is ambiguous, it could either mean brunch is only available on Sunday i.e. it isn't served during the week (which is true as they only open for dinner then) or that only brunch is served on Sunday!
I think you're probably right though, monchique, and as I don't want brunch, I'll go elsewhere.

May 26, 2013
Arago in Spain/Portugal

Hemingway, Cascais

Looking for a lunch spot in Cascais one Sunday. Hemmingway is a possibility but I'm not sure what's on offer. I know there's a buffet brunch, is that the only option or is there a lunch menu as well?

May 26, 2013
Arago in Spain/Portugal

Kigawa in the 14th

Actually if you want a bistro de quartier in that area, what about La Grande Ourse? It's a bit bigger, same type of husband/wife operation and popular with locals. The food is, I think, better than Kigawa.

Jan 23, 2012
Arago in France

Kigawa in the 14th

Kigawa isn't far from us and we ate there last year but didn't have the same experience as Chicagoparis. No repetitive heavy sauces. We had a nice evening, liked the food and thought the price was fair. Service was good. Can't imagine what was 'uncomfortable', the chair? It's a small restaurant but wasn't cramped and our chairs were comfortable.

Jan 22, 2012
Arago in France

Thoumieux--dinner fixed menu prices?

You'll notice the extensive refurb since it became part of the Costes empire. Actually the decor is nice, a modern take on the brasserie look and you shouldn't have a problem with the lighting at lunch. Sorry to say I can't remember the fixed price for lunch which was shown at the bottom of the menu. It isn't mentioned online.
I'd recommend a reservation, even for lunch, to be on the safe side. It was heaving last night.

Jan 03, 2012
Arago in France

Thoumieux--dinner fixed menu prices?

There isn't a fixed price menu for dinner, only for lunch. The prices on the a la carte menu online: http://www.maisonthierrycostes.com/br... are out of date, they've gone up by a euro or two. Four of us ate there last night and we each had either entree+main or main+dessert, plus two 1/2 bottles of wine, two 1/2 bottles of water (they don't have litre bottles-very naughty) and 1 coffee. We paid 68€/pp. The food's quite good, more original than your average brasserie and very well presented. Obviously not a place to go for tremendous value for money.
I really have to mention the lighting which was subdued but OK when we arrived early in the evening but which was turned down, not once but twice, during our meal. The dessert menu could only be read with the aid of the small candle on the table.

Jan 03, 2012
Arago in France

Sunday lunch in Rome

Two of us are off to Rome for a long weekend this month and the one gap in our itinerary is a restaurant for a nice leisurely lunch on the Sunday. Our taste tends towards modern creative cooking rather than the strictly traditional. For example the highlight of our last Rome trip was a meal at Agata & Romeo. Glass sounds like our "cup of tea" so to speak, and we're hoping for dinner there, but several places that appeal are ruled out because they don't open for Sunday lunch.

Any suggestions much appreciated.

Mar 08, 2011
Arago in Italy