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Report: Bistro Belhara and Hexagone

Nice reviews - 2 to go for the next time.

2 days ago
mikey8811 in France

Paris for 2 nights with unique parameters

"a few calls/mails to ask"

From experience, most places I made reservations for do ask you even at the reservation stage if there are any food allergies put as anything you do not eat. If not then they do prior to you ordering. But safer to always ask.

They want to cater to you and make you happy. Whether conforming to those parameters detracts from the spirit of the original carte is something else.

May 23, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Specific questions re: London (researched!)

That's a pic of the whole hog breakfast for 2 recently had at Hawksmoor Guildhall if you're interested.

May 21, 2015
mikey8811 in U.K./Ireland

Which Paris restaurant would you pick: Spring, Le Chateaubriand, or Pottoka?

On your brief, David Toutain or Pierre Gagnaire - both adventurous I would say.

May 20, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Paris - Feedback on food itinerary

You have a great list - I have been to all bar Ledoyen (which was a consideration), Au Passage and David Toutain (which I have tried in other incarnations - very creative).

You have balanced the meals quite well. Enjoy, I am sure you will.

May 19, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

I realise you did. You misread my post. Perhaps I should rewrite it as, notwithstanding Penang or Ipoh, even the hawker food in KL beats Singapore anyday.

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

Hell, not to mention Penang or Ipoh, the hawker food in KL beats Singapore anyday.

Paris - one night, meal for one, in hiking boots...

Do they still have buses to London? How much does that cost?

I'll leave the suggestions to the experts but did have a meal at Le Train Bleu before boarding a train there many many years ago. The food was decent and the restaurant itself impressive. I recall being casually dressed (not exactly hiking gear) and was admitted.

May 19, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Paris - April Trip Report or How To Lose Your Abs In 10 Days, Part 1: Pierre Sang Oberkampf, A Noste Upstairs, Les Tablettes, Le Comptoir du Relais, Hugo Desnoyer

Yes, those Cubist houses were the ones on Mallet-Stevens. It was a nice stop and there was a teacher with a group of lil' schoolgirls in tow, giving a lesson on Cubism. I thought, that's school? How lucky. That was a holiday for me....

The slabs of meat were thick. Initially when I cut into them, I was a bit disappointed as they seemed overdone and a bit tough but when I got further in, it got redder and more juices started flowing. I don't know if it's a result of the cooking or the particular cuts of beef. The faux filet I had at Le Comptoir had very good char, was tender all through and bloody. Not as much flavour as the Desnoyer beef though.

May 18, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Paris - April Trip Report or How To Lose Your Abs In 10 Days, Part 1: Pierre Sang Oberkampf, A Noste Upstairs, Les Tablettes, Le Comptoir du Relais, Hugo Desnoyer

JT, Rio Yeti & PhilD

Thanks for the go ahead.

Rio Yeti, I was reading parts of your Korea and Japan travelogue with whatever little understanding of high school French I have. Glad the Beard Papa choux vanille gave you your sweet fix on that trip ;) . BTW you take very nice closeups of food.

May 18, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Paris - April Trip Report or How To Lose Your Abs In 10 Days, Part 1: Pierre Sang Oberkampf, A Noste Upstairs, Les Tablettes, Le Comptoir du Relais, Hugo Desnoyer

Not sure if the board needs another trip report as there are a whole lotta them now. But here’s the the first part of a rundown on a trip made in April. Thanks to the denizens of this board who weighed in on the original thread – JT, Parigi, Rio Yeti, Parn, Pti, Shakti, Julie Marie, etc. some of whom I had the pleasure of meeting.

Pierre Sang, Oberkampf

I was concerned that this would be far too fusion but went ahead due to all the recommendations here and elsewhere online. Fortunately it wasn’t. The Korean/ Asian inflections were limited to gratings of yuzu and lashings of gochujang and wasabi which did not add much to nor detract from the food which seemed mostly French albeit modern. This was for a Sunday lunch and I had the whole hog, beginning with great bread from Landemaine down the road and some of that that big pile of butter sitting on the counter. The first course was tender octopus with petit pois and anchovy crème, poached so well I thought it was done sous vide but in fact wasn’t. The line chef said their prep staff was Portuguese and had a way with cephalopods. The fish course was seared mackerel, skin crisped and still translucent flesh with a wasabi crème on the side. The meat course was a fillet mignon of pork, pink with the texture of ham on pomme puree and jus with gochujang . Presentation was per the multitude of mod places out there - ingredients piled to look randomly so with lots of micro greens. For the cheese course, a piece of Cantal with a drizzle of yuzu honey. Dessert was a deconstructed tarte au citron with yuzu ice cream. Overall, fresh ingredients executed well, albeit not as creative as other reports had suggested but to watch the chefs in action in that tiny space was a joy in itself. To a jazz geek it almost had the pulsing energy of Bitches Brew era Miles without the earbleed. Just two chefs in that cramped area turning out food of that quality at the pace they do - that alone is worth the (value) price of admission. Not to mention the generous servings. Mixed crowd with a higher ratio of hip young things.

Cost (hors boisson – as they say): EUR 35

Nearby sight: Pere Lachaise

A Noste, La Table or Upstairs

The upstairs area was more reserved and quieter than the boisterous tapas area downstairs which played to a full house of Paris marathon participants – great vibe, their occasional chants heard upstairs. The tasting menu began with an amuse bouche of sashimi on a rice cracker – passable. Then a trio: truffled scrambled egg in the shell (perhaps a nod to l’Arpege), pretty good; lobster bisque cromesquis - crisp crumbed shell, oozing liquid centre, very good; lobster butter with brioche, good. First course was a creamy, foamy, oniony gratin of morilles - ok. Next up white asparagus strips to resemble angel hair pasta with some larger green asparagus tips on a foamy “carbonara” type sauce with smoked duck, topped with a quail egg yolk – am not a big asparagus fan (I know it’s the season). At this point, the manager, Morgan – as nice and accommodating a guy as you would want to meet – pops up and enquires how things are going. After some conversation, I mention that I hear the chipirons and duck hearts from downstairs come strongly recommended (it was Parigi if I recall correctly) and was wondering if I could have a tiny portion to sample. He pops downstairs and brings up a demi portion of each which I protested was too much but he demurred. Chipirons – pretty good, duck hearts – wow, downed all of those. The fish course was supposedly Scandi inspired – a tranche of Skrei, a delicate cod like fish studded with buckwheat croutons served with salsa of aquavit and a strip of crispbread with caviar – good if a tad salty. Then came the all you can eat meat rotisserie, first up pink slices of melt in your mouth veal roast with a rich meaty gravy (the unctuous chunks of fatty meat in that were impressive) with a brushstroke of piquillo pepper studded with broccoli, cauliflower and pomegranate seeds; carrots and veg. Pretty stuffed by now, I couldn’t do it justice by requesting for seconds. The other meat, pork roasted with chorizo spice was tasty if a bit on the overcooked, tough side. Chevre and then a flourless chocolate passion fruit slice with ice cream followed. Good produce, a lot of food and creative cooking which is slightly rough around the edges in that not everything worked. Plating was of the trail mix variety – you know, atop a pile of twigs, pebbles, hay, some brushstrokes artfully arranged. Friendly, hip, young waitstaff. Oh, as it turned out, they comped the chipirons and duck hearts.

Cost (hors boisson): EUR 60

Nearby sight: Haut Marais walk as recommended by Parn in other threads

Les Tablettes de Jean- Louis Nomicos

Great little place if in a more serious and hushed setting. Older crowd too – whilst I would have been the oldest at A Noste downstairs, I was close to being the youngest here. More refined tastes with pretty presentation. The 3 course lunch menu began with an amuse of frothy petit pois veloute. Entrée was a tarte fine of red mullet and calamari arranged alternately on confit of sweet onions and dusted with oregano – fresh, tasty and colourful with alternating flecked red and white on the pastry base, little black (olive) and red (piquillo pepper ) globs of sauce framing it. Plat was cubes of orange lacquered veal cheeks – slow cooked till fall-apart texture and then seared in a pan. Again pleasing to the eye on a verdant bed of julienned beans. Photogenic and full of colour. At my request, they substituted the dessert du jour for their signature chocolate soufflé tart which was yummy. Good mignardises – mini tarte au citron, strawberry macarons, pate de fruits and chocolate. This was great value with the food quality befitting the one star rating of the establishment.

Cost (hors boisson): EUR 42

Nearby sight: Jardin d’Aclimmatation & Fondation Louis Vuitton

Le Comptoir du Relais

Much has been said about Le Comptoir but there is actually very little written here (I searched and asked with only one response from SFCarole) about the prix fixe dinner that is almost impossible to get a booking for unless you stay at the adjoining hotel. FWIW, I have never been able to get a table in umpteen years even though I have done the lunch brasserie menu many times. I called up a few weeks before on a whim and did manage to get a ressie for an outside table. When asked about sitting outside in the cold, they said they had blankets and heat lamps – not the most reassuring of answers. Fortunately April turned out surprisingly good weather wise. Won’t go on much about the setting as it’s well known save to say it’s a busy little sidewalk and you are literally on the kerb with traffic driving by – although pollution wise it’s almost non existent if you are from Asia. There’s a good buzz from passers by and the queue for l’Avant Comptoir. The crowd is fairly cosmopolitan -expats and out of towners with fewer locals. Yves Camderborde and his lovely wife do the meet and greet – the man wasn’t in the kitchen that night, he was mostly behind the counter in black/ grey garb and not chef whites. Wait staff were mostly young and service was brisk if short of brusque as if they were rushing (for what I don’t know as there wasn’t a second seating). Bread was plonked on the table and a duo carb amuse of cheese gougere and lil’ chou sandwich with andouille followed. The basket was offered and “take one of each only” uttered. There wasn’t any charcuterie (as read about somewhere) to remember, going from memory as my phone had died by then. First course was a flavoursome bouillon with tender poached calamari and feves. Next up orzo ( or more lyrically, langue d’oiseau) in a rich sauce of scallop coral – super. Then a nicely rare faux filet with good char and bloody inside with veg accompaniment (who cares with such good meat). Produce was good, flavours superb and everything melded well together. Portions were on the smaller side which was incongruous to the hearty nature of the food. Then the huge silver disc shaped platter of cheese and condiments – “help yourself” she says. I only wanted the runny stinky ones but she hightailed saying “it’s written” – NOT. So I ended up trying some of each to find the runny ones and that did me in. Dessert was their version of a banana split which was anything but – a chocolate dome (ok a subtle banana flavour inside) with melting chocolate sauce poured over with popping candy underneath. As an aside Carl Marletti also does something with popping candy but more about that later. Mignardise – a couple of mango passionfruit caramels from Jacques Genin. So to answer my own question, yes, definitely go if you can get a booking for this oldie which is still a goodie, unless the service sounds rudie.

Cost (hors boisson): EUR 60

Nearby sights: Lots from the tourist checklist, the buzzy Odeon crossroads, sidestreets and Cours du Commerce Saint-André. Go early enough and get pastries from nearby George Larnicol, Un Dimanche a Paris & L’eclaire du Genie. On the right night, nearby Café Laurent at the Hotel d’Aubusson has a piano bar with a vocalist doing jazz standards.

La Table de Hugo Desnoyer

OK, I had my reservations about schlepping it out there just for lunch but as it turned out there were decent things to see around there too - starting with the man himself in action, flipping carcasses, cleaving away at a hunk of this and that – quite a spectacle. They’ve done away with the tasting menu so it’s only a la carte. The amuse was a tomato gazpacho. There wasn’t complimentary charcuterie like JT reported so I guess that’s only for the VIP’s… I started with a large marrow bone split into two served with toasted bread – rich and tasty. My first instinct was to have the Cote de Boeuf but it was listed for 2 or 3. Instead I had the Trilogie de Viandes which was recommended as a steak tasting plate (also listed for 2 but they’ll do it for 1, later they tell me they’ll also do the CdB for 1 so I guess I missed out because I didn’t ask). Huge pieces of rumsteck (rump), bavette (skirt or hanger?) and mouvant (can’t figure out what it is). Not much char on the meat and more chewy than the US, Oz, Japanese variety that’s popular in Asia. But the juiciness and flavour… For the pedantic, the different cuts tasted, well different – one was gamier, one more delicate, all textures were distinct. That was my protein quota for the day and I skipped dessert. Must do if you like meat – the tartare looked like a killer too, as did the veal chop and of course the CdB. If you don’t then go for the show. The crowd was a mix of locals and a lotta Japanese - I was told there will be one in Shibuya come June.

Cost (hors boisson): EUR 50

Nearby sights: Fondation Le Corbusier, there is also an architectural walk you can do around there, lots of Hector Guimard art nouveau structures, some Cubist ones and Beaux-Arts ones for a contrast. Musee Marmottan

Part 2 – coming soon to an ardoise near you…

PS. If this is too wordy, let me know & I'll prune the next installment,

Paris food recommendations?

They don't call JT "the venerable" for nothing ;)

May 03, 2015
mikey8811 in France
2

Three weeks in Sydney - a few dinner reviews and some future plans

Like Mr Gimlet says both a la carte and tasting equally good but servings are small so be wary of that.

I have just returned from Paris and read your earlier magnum opus.

As an erstwhile Sydneysider, it would be interesting to see how you rate Sydney eats compared to Paris, especially the neo bistrots and bistronomique places like Septime, Clamato, Pirouette, Chez l'Ami Jean, Le Comptoir du Relais, Pierre Sang, Les Enfants Rouges, etc.

Moissonnier? or Chez Dumonet? Or....?

Hi

Don't know if it's too late for you or if it matters at all but I was just at Josephine Chez Dumonet two nights ago. I hesitated initially because I always had the impression that the price to quality ratio was skewed towards expensive but eventually went as it was just down the road from where I was staying rather than schlepping it to David Toutain in the cold after a long day (my other choice for the last night which couldn't be more different).

The upshot is the food is pretty good. I had duck confit and the Grand Marnier souffle. They were both executed competently and the duck confit was crisp on the outside whilst retaining the moist layer of fat beneath the skin rather than being dry and stringy as it can sometimes be. The souffle was also excellent - it's gluggy and rich rather than the lighter and more refined sort - and they don't skimp on the liquor - they even give you an extra shot which I didn't down as I had an early flight the next morning.

I take it back, it's not expensive and I would say decent value given that servings are huge. I can pack my share in and was struggling towards the end of both courses. That meal could have been for two people. They also comped a glass of white as you sit down and rabbit rillettes for an amuse bouche.

I went pretty late - about 9.30 pm and the crowd was mostly local - where I was seated, near the front door and bar (is that Siberia?) and from what I could tell inside as well. There seemed to be a youngish female singer that the waiters were chummy with when she left to be ferried by an awaiting chauffeur and the table next to me enquired about.

Compared to Chez Denise, which I also enjoyed a few weeks ago, the experience seems as Parn comments, more orchestrated. There is a little tongue in cheekness and banter with the waiters but it felt more genuine at Chez Denise. The folk at Chez Denise were also more obliging - they did a demi portion of the foie gras for me at half price, while at JCD, the carte had demi portions of some dishes for about 75% of full price.

At both meals, I could still taste the food in my gastric juices the next morning - it's that sort of food.

Apr 30, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Please critique this itinerary - a week in Paris, restaurants in the 6th

Thanks for the heads up. I could only get an outside table and was wondering if it was worth braving the cold for. I haven't been able to get one for umpteen years but have had the brasserie style fare there a few times.

Apr 09, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Please critique this itinerary - a week in Paris, restaurants in the 6th

sfcarole

Off topic but I remember you dined at Le Comptoir du Relais for the weekday prix fixe dinner not long ago. I managed to get a reservation but was wondering about the quality of the food since it isn't covered much here. Is it still worth going to or have standards dropped?

Your comments appreciated.

Thanks

Apr 08, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Traveling to Paris with child, and question about Frenchie

Have you tried both lunch and dinner at A Noste upstairs? I have a reservation for dinner but location wise, lunch would suit me better. I'm just wondering how different the lunch and dinner menus are. The dinner menu is on line - 6 courses, one of which is all you can eat meat like a churrascaria but I can't see the dishes for the lunch one except for entree, plat & dessert. On JT's site, he had the lunch but it looked like they served him the dinner fare, VIP as he is ;)

Apr 08, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Please critique our list of chosen places in Paris

Hi Phil

Have you been recently to Comptoir for the weekday dinner? I managed to reserve but it's for an outside table and am wondering if it's worth braving the cold for. I've never been able to book it before for umpteen years. Is it still decent or overrated?

Apr 07, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Please critique our list of chosen places in Paris

Parn, I thought the menu at Comptoir is the same at lunch both weekdays and weekends and only dinner on weekdays is the prix fixe menu?

Apr 07, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Please critique this itinerary - a week in Paris, restaurants in the 6th

You have a cool 10 year old...

Apr 07, 2015
mikey8811 in France
2

London Trip Recommendations For Mid to Late April

Thanks Lecker

What's a good place near the Park Tower for an early breakfast on a Saturday morning? I leave on the 12.00 pm Eurostar to Paris so presuming I have to be at St Pancras by 11.00 am, I guess I need somewhere that serves breakfast at 8.30-9.00 am?

I'm thinking of taking my luggage and going to The Wolseley and then taking the tube to St Pancras from there but don't know if they will store my luggage.

Thanks

Apr 03, 2015
mikey8811 in U.K./Ireland

La Marée Jeanne

Sounds like you prefer Clamato. Are the desserts at LMJ better than the maple syrup tart?

Apr 03, 2015
mikey8811 in France

A 3rd Paris Itinerary Post For Solo Dining

OK more regarding pre/ post prandial strolls than the meals. Would it be too much to do Musee Marmottan in the morning prior to lunch at Hugo Desnoyer (plus maybe Le Corbusier Foundation nearby) followed by the Fondation Louis Vuitton after? Having not been to either, I can't gauge the time required for a leisurely visit

The alternative would be to couple the Fondation LV post lunch at Les Tablettes on another day.

Thanks

Apr 03, 2015
mikey8811 in France

SF hound to KL, Penang, then Singapore

I didn't even know they policed for hygiene at KL eateries.

A 3rd Paris Itinerary Post For Solo Dining

Thanks for that. I've read JT's review. I have it booked already. It was hard calling up. Christophe spoke very little English and eventually passed me on to the front of house named Maloud who was pretty fluent.

The Alex Lobrano review about eating out on Mondays worries me. I didn't know there was a dearth of fresh fish on Monday as is isn't mentioned on the France boards as it is much mentioned in Barcelona or Rome. For other places that is, not so much for Amarante as seems meat driven.

Apr 01, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Singapore and Malaysia – Part 3/5- Kuala Lumpur Report

No address that I know - like most places in KL.

Input/help narrowing my list please

Not in town yet. Only there late Apr (hope it gets warmer) when we meet up. Looking forward to your report on La Maree Jeanne.

Apr 01, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Paris, Change of Pace Meals

No probs. Info is info. Lurve stinky runny cheeses like Epoisses and Vacherin Mont d'Or - would these be considered liquide or un peu?

Mar 31, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Input/help narrowing my list please

JT, you're covering 'em with a vengeance since your return - must be the Venice canal water... Do you have La Maree Jeanne on the cards to see if it's a good Clamato substitute?

Mar 31, 2015
mikey8811 in France

Paris, Change of Pace Meals

The Antillais, is that the Creole place that does the crab farci and beignets?

Mar 31, 2015
mikey8811 in France