Tiger Paris, 75006

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Tiger opened in December 2015 and embodies the latest development in the ever-evolving Paris craft cocktail scene.

We’ve seen a specialised whisky bar (Sherry Butt), we’ve seen rum (CopperBay), we’ve seen absinthe (Lulu White) and so it was hardly surprising to see Paris’ first dedicated gin bar.

There’s been a boom in small-scale gin production around the world in the last few years. People have finally caught on to how easy it is to make an aromatised, un-aged spirit – not like whisky, which you have to age in costly barrels for years, nor like vodka, which is still perceived as being cheap and nasty. Gin hits a sweet spot and it has not been by chance that we’ve seen such a rise in its popularity.

At Tiger, there are some clear Spanish influences; it was the Spanish, after all, not the English, who made gin-tonics trendy again. Drinks are, for example, for the most part, served in large balloon glasses.

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What I find more rather surprising about the opening of the Tiger Bar is actually its location. Rather than the haut Marais (where you’ll find Candelaria, Mary Celeste and Little Red Door) or the Pigalle area (Glass, Dirty Dick, Lulu White, Entrée des Artistes), Tiger in a part of Saint Germain where I have long been going thirsty. It’s not that Rue Princesse is short of drinking spots, it’s just that I no longer am 18 years old and have very little desire to frequent rowdy pubs.

It’s for that reason all the more to see a carefully put together offering from professional bartenders who geek out on making their own shrubs, infusions and mixers. The team at Tiger make their own tonic water.

The cocktail menu divides into three parts – gin tonics, classic gin based cocktails, classic cocktails. The bar boasts what is possibly Paris’ largest range of gins – with everything from the commercial brands (Tanqueray, Hendricks, Bombay, Plymouth…) to the niche products (Monkey 47, Dodd’s.) The majority of cocktails are priced at the industry standard of 13 euros. As well as liquids, the (ever-changing) menu offers tasty Asian-inspired small plates to sate a hungry stomach.

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For full disclosure, I worked for one of the partners of the Tiger several years ago. That’s the problem of having a small industry where everyone knows everyone else…


Essential Information 

Address: 13 rue Princesse, 75006 
Telephone: 09 77 42 07 30
Website: Tiger ParisFacebook
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 6pm-2am. Closed Sunday and Monday.

La Quincave, 75006

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Packed with bottles, from floor to ceiling, lovers of natural wine are sure to find many labels that they recognise. La Quincave is a small, relaxed wine bar, where, curiously, they don’t serve wines by the glass. I suppose the logic is that if the wine is good, you shouldn’t need a small pour!

The vibe is very rustic and informal. There are no tablecloths or sleek wooden bistrot tables; but you feel at home straight away.

La Quincave is managed by the the very welcoming duo of Fred and Audrey (ex-wife of Christian Binner, the Alsatian winemaker – in case you didn’t know.)

The wine bar proposes a limited menu, largely of charcuterie and cheese plates… but, as a little bonus, if you fancy oysters (during the winter months obviously!) you can pop next door to the fishmongers and they’ll bring a dozen freshly shucked mollusks to your table!!

Come with thirsty friends!


Essential Information

Address: 17 rue Brea, 75006
Telephone: 01 43 29 38 24
Website: La QuincaveFacebook
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Friday from 11h-13h and 17h-21h. Saturday 11h-21h. Sunday 11h-14h. Closed Monday. 
Reservations: not taken.

Georges Larnicol, 75006

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It’s not very often that I start a blog post with an open-ended question, but I hope you will see past this provocative literary device just this once and not think any less of me.

The question is a simple one: in order to guarantee quality, should a master craftsman who has obtained the highest recognition (an MOF, for example) have some sort of restriction on increasing his/her business to a size that is no longer artisanal?

We already have more than enough barriers and hurdles for companies in France; my gut feeling is reluctant. But when a MOF has more stores than I have fingers and toes and they are spread out in the four corners of the world, how can they keep that same quality that they once had?

Let’s take Ladurée as an example. It is, quand-meme, probably the best known macaron producer the world over. I would even go as far as to say that their little mint-green coloured box, embossed with the belle époque silver detailling, has become emblematic of the Parisian macaron. (I hope whoever designed their marketing strategy took home a huge bonus.)

However, once you know that Ladurée is now present in every continent apart from Antartica, you start to wonder how they can guarantee that the quality of the macarons sold in Australia for example is going to be of the same standard as those sold on the Champs Elysées? If I were also to tell you that all the Ladurée macarons sold the world over were made on the same production line and then frozen during transport… that hands-on, artisanal touch no longer feels quite the same to me.

Now what if I were to tell you that this same (industrial-sized) assembly line also made the macarons that are served in MacDonalds…?

It’s not my place to judge.. but I do want to point out these little-known facts and let you make up your own opinion.

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I have often overlooked Georges Larnicol because I judged the quality on the basis of the flagship store’s location the boulevard Saint Germain. I had also passed the shop on the rue Steinkerque (Paris 9) and caught myself muttering “tourist trap…” A quick google search reveals that there are 30-odd Larnicol shops in total and I’ve heard rumours that they’re planning to open an outlet in London in the very immediate future.

The quirky chocolates sculptures are the most eye-catching element from the street level. Yet Google, ever omniscient, confirmed what I had previously suspected – that Georges Larnicol received his MOF title for a Kouign Amann, a delicious caramelised buttery cake from Brittany. (See David Lebovitz’s recipe and explanation here and here.)

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Available in many flavours: raspberry, pistachio, chocolate, lemon and salted butter caramel, my favourite is the plain, bog-standard variety and there is no denying that his kouignettes are very, very good. Despite my hesitations around its production, this is probably the best kouign amann I have had in Paris to date, actually.

However, that being said, how many times in your life can you exclaim “Gosh, do you know how much I would simply love a kouign amann right now!” without coming across as the most pretentious person in all of the western world?

Actually, the main reason why I have this address in my little black book is for its opening hours. Where else can you count on for being open when you have an after-dinner stroll? A place which can instantly prompt a look of sheer delight in any visiting friends when everything else is closed? As long as you’re aware that others (e.g. Gregory Renard and Arnaud Larher) offer better quality, your conscience shouldn’t feel heavy if you nip into Larnicol out of convenience. It’s still better than Franprix!

N.B. The kouign amann benefits from a quick blast in the oven to slightly soften the caramel (and avoid any unexpected trips to the dentist!) so it’s not the best choice to eat on the hoof. If you’re looking for something to eat straight away, go for the seaweed (algue) biscuits or a couple of chocolates instead.


Essential Information

Address: 132 boulevard Saint Germain, 75006
Telephone: 01 43 26 39 38
WebsiteGeorges Larnicol
Opening Hours: From 9am – 10.30 pm, seven days a week.
 

 

Aux Charpentiers, 75006

 

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“Food and love have two things in common….. they are both temporary but should bring pleasure” says Aux Charpentiers boss, Pierre Bardeche.

Aux Charpentiers is a traditional French bistro, where Pierre and his wife Colette Bardeche have ruled the roost since 1976.

In the heart of the historical St Germain quartier, this is a great address to have up your sleeve. Founded in 1856, stepping inside is also an exercise in stepping back in time. The decor has not changed much since those days… but that adds to the charm. Surprisingly large, I would reckon there are a total of 120 covers once we rack up the light and airy ground-floor space, the slightly dingier downstairs, the patio and the garden.

On the menu: traditional French cuisine, carefully prepared. Expect to see starters such as egg mayonaise, foie gras or an endive&roquefort salad and beef tartare, blanquette de veau or a saucisse de Toulouse as a main course. A plate of cheese to follow is, of course, de rigueur. Everything is prepared onsite from the freshest and most seasonal produce available.

I personally don’t find the wine list particularly exciting. It is rather too traditional for my very eclectic tastes but I hold my hands up and accept that’s entirely my fault.

Colette, who runs the front of house, is always smiley and welcoming but other times, service may be brisk. On one occasion, upon asking the waitress who the winemaker was (the wine list gives just the region and the vintage) to the horror of my dining partner, we received a stinging “bah, mais, j’sai’pas, it’s written on the bottle!”

Despite that, I keep coming back to this classic gem time after time… well, because it’s one of the very few restaurants of its kind that are left.


Essential Information

Address: 10 Rue Mabillon, 75006 
Telephone: 01 43 26 30 05
WebsiteAux Charpentiers
Opening Hours: 12noon-3pm and 7-11pm, seven days a week.
Reservations: recommended – a couple of days in advance.  
Suggested footwear: flats, nothing too fancy. 


LMDW Fine Spirits, 75006

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Without doubt the finest selection of premium spirits in Paris : whisky, rum, gin, vodka, tequila, mezcal, grappa, calvados, cognac, armagnac, saké, shochu, beer, wine, cocktail bitters… the list is endless.

Staff are knowledgeable and willing to advise. English spoken. Check the website for details about the free tastings on Saturdays.

You make this your one-stop-shop for anything booze-related, however niche it may be…. (Unicum Zwack, Ceylon Arrack and, even, good old Pimms.)


Essential Information

Address: 6, carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006
Telephone: 01 46 34 70 20
WebsiteLMDW Fine Spirits, Facebook
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 10.30-20.00. Open til 21h on Thurs and Fri. Closed Sunday. 

 

La Dernière Goutte, 75006

A cool anglophone wine shop that should absolutely feature on your radar. 

A great location in the Latin Quarter, they have a superlative selection of French wine, eaux-de-vie and whiskies from all over the world at reasonable prices. A better choice than you might find in your neighbourhood off-licence. Juan Sanchez heads up the English-speaking team. Incidentally, it belongs to the same group as the Fish Boissonière, Cosi and Semilla restaurants on the neighbouring rue de Seine.

You come for the “Wine Down” every Friday evening (from 5 til 7pm) as well as the Saturday tastings (all-day) and you leave a little tipsy.


Essential Information

Address: 6 rue de Bourbon de Château, 75006
Telephone: 01 43 29 11 62
WebsiteLa Dernière Goutte
Opening Hours: Monday 15.00 – 20.00, Tues – Sat 10.30 – 20.00, Sun 11.00-19.00

Where To Find Oysters in Paris

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This blog post comes to you today from the corner of my bed. I’ve just spent a very uncomfortable night curled up on precisely one sixth of the normally available bed space.

Three rooms of Burnt Cream HQ are being repainted this weekend, which means that everything has had to find a new home. I was sharing my bed with the coats from the hallway, cushions from the sofa and a couple of picture frames that were sticking into my lower back. I had naively thought that the other adjoining rooms would avoid the fate of suffocation by paint dust because the decorator would just close the door…. but it turns out that said door met its match because it is currently sitting in the naughty corner of the other room, wondering where its hinges went.

All this is making me work on a new dimension of French lexicon. The most useful word has been the verb écailler, which I knew before in the context of “écailler le poisson” (“to scale the fish”) but it loosely means to take off and can be applied to all manner of things. In particular, this past weekend I’ve found myself having to say “l’humidité écaillait la peinture” (“the damp was causing the paintwork to come off”) quite a lot. In its reflexive form s’écailler it means to flake or peel off. I’ve heard it being used to refer to chapped lips or dry skin, which is also pretty useful to know around this time of year…

The main reason, however, why you should know this verb is because it also means to shuck an oyster – écailler une huitre. And an écailleur is therefore somebody who opens the oysters. Yes, the French even have a word for that.

Here are my top five recommendations for eating oysters in Paris this season:

Huiterie Regis

3 rue Montfaucon, 75006

Sleek and chic, by the Saint Germain market. Only 14 covers, no reservations. Prices start around 18 euros for a dozen but can go to 60 euros for a dozen Belons. Very nice wines. Menu limited almost entirely to bivalves. Also do take away.

Le Mary Celeste

1 rue Commines, 75003

Oysters are not just for the rich and snooty, the Mary Celeste attracts a young (and largely English speaking) clientele. Perch at the bar, sup a cocktail or some Brooklyn beer and knock back the oysters. Varied menu of small dishes. Cocktails, wine and craft beer. Very on-trend right now. (Psst! Try Clamato too.)

L’Écume Saint Honore

6 rue du Marche Saint Honore, 75001

A fishmonger-come-restaurant. A little kitsch but you’ll have a memorable experience. Well positionned between the Louvre, Vendome and the chichi shopping streets. Can quickly do some damage to the wallet.

Le Baron Rouge

1 rue Theophile Roussel, 75012

Rather chaotic and crazy, but at the Baron Rouge, the wine just keeps flowing. Convivial atmosphere. Reasonably priced oysters to be eaten on the hoof. Le Baron Rouge is the most talked-about, but you’ll probably find a similar kind of wine bar with a pop-up oyster seller in most arrondissements at this time of the year. A very good neighbourhood option.

L’Ecailler du Bistrot

22 rue Paul Bert, 75011

Traditional French seafood restaurant. Old school, but in the positive sense. Great natural wine list. Treat yourself to a slap-up meal. Reserve a couple of days before to be sure of getting a table.

Alternatively, you’ll see loads of sellers popping up on the pavements of Paris during the winter months. It will typically set you back between 10 and 15 euros for a dozen so it’s a more affordable option than going to any of the above or getting a seafood platter in a traditional turn-of-the-century brasserie (such as those around Montparnasse, for example.) Pop a bottle of bone dry Sancerre or more rounded Muscadet-Sevre-et-Maine (the traditional accompaniment) in the fridge but you can also try with Champagne or any other kind of dry bubbles. I had a really good Vouvray Brut NM from the Domaine Champalou yesterday at La Derniere Goutte which would be perfect.

Oh, and don’t forget, you should also try to écailler those oysters yourself!

Avant Comptoir, 75006

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I have actually been known to wake in the middle of the night with cold sweats, if I haven’t had Avant Comptoir’s confit de canard hot dog within the last two weeks.

If you can’t get a reservation for Yves Camdeborde’s restaurant Le Comptoir du Relais and you don’t feel like waiting in line for the best part of an hour for a table (and I don’t blame you!) head to this popular hole-in-the-wall place just next door.

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There’s no seating space – you have to stand at the zinc or at the counter against the back wall. Help yourself to as much of the delicious bread, Bordier butter and gherkins as you can handle. Look to the ceiling for the standard menu, and to the blackboards for the day’s specials. It’s all “small plates” fare – think a tin of pâté, four mini croquettes, a globe artichoke, a tin of delicious buttery sardines – so order plenty. Prices are reasonable so the bill rarely comes as much of a shock.

You might have to sharpen your elbows and be prepared to give your fellow diners a quick death-stare to get the server’s attention.

The wine list is fabulous. Red, white, light or heavy, Eric has the uncanny ability of always having what you most want, right on hand.

A quick word of advice: try and avoid the peak times if you can. You’ll have a better experience if you don’t have to wait too long to be served. This place can be packed. Even better if you can speak a few words of French.


Essential Information

Address: 3, carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006
Telephone: 01 44 27 07 97
WebsiteFacebook
Opening Hours: All day every day, non-stop from noon til midnight. 
Reservations: not taken. 
Suggested footwear: upon reflection, I would advise some kind of steel-toe-capped boots, because other diners do accidentally step on your feet. 

 

Un Dimanche à Paris, 75006

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I popped by this Saint Germain institution to duck out of a particularly heavy April shower (2012.) In a fortunate turn of fate, it so happened that I had my camera on me and thus, here is the long-overdue write up of “Un Dimanche à Paris“, the chocolate-lovers heaven, just off the boulevard Saint Germain.

As fate would have it, I clearly wasn’t the only person to be caught short without an umbrella and there was already a queue forming for a table in the adjoining salon du thé. Nevertheless, this was not going to put me off. I decided to order a pastry and a coffee and to perch at the counter in the boutique shop, which suited me just fine.
I ordered a multi-layered choux pastry, comprising of cream, pistachios and a hidden layer of red-fruit-and-cherry compote.
It was delicious – but do you know why I will recommend Un Dimanche to anybody at the drop of a hat… the service was so exceptionnally good! I don’t think I’ve had such friendly people serving me in a very long time. Whereas Larnicol, just around the corner, is a self-service affair, Un Dimanche adopts a rather more sleek and minimal approach.

October 2013 Update: I have been back several times since and, quite honestly, I’m not as enamoured as I was back in April. Truth be told, I have had fairly mixed experiences there. One time, for example, there was just my friend and I in the shop when the sales assistant took off on an enormous argument with the boss. So awkward it was, that we turned tail and scarpered out as fast as we could.

However, the food is tip-top-du-hip-hop and I still consider it an address to be cherished for any chocolate-lovers in Paris.


Essential Information

Address: 4-6-8 Cour du Commerce Saint André, 75006
Telephone: 01 56 81 18 08
WebsiteUn Dimanche a Paris, Facebook
Opening Hours: Monday 12 noon-8pm, Tuesday-Saturday 11am-8pm, Sunday 11am-7pm. 

 

Carton, 75006

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This is a boulangerie-patisserie on the very touristy rue de Buci, but which does a stunningly good foret-noir (Black Forest) cake.

I popped by for my petit quatre-heure this afternoon. To be quite honest, I wasn’t expecting much. From the outside, the shop is appealing but not terribly inspiring. I’m umm-ed and ahh-ed between the tarte aux framboises, the chocolate eclair and the mini-doughnut…. until I saw the black forest cake, that is. It was topped with two fine quenelles of dark chocolate which were just calling my name. Without any more ado, it was brusquely wrapped in a little piece of paper but, with a cheeky grin on my face, I was off on my way again.

As they don’t have a sit-down space at the Carton, I headed back to work and managed to find a couple of minutes of peace and quiet in which to unwrap my prized package.

It was considerably better than I was expecting. The chocolate was delicious, the cake part was perfectly toe-ing the balance between sponge cake and cream and there was a reassuring, lip-smacking hint of alcohol that played through. Finished off with a Cafe Lomi coffee, this was a five mins of pure, unabashed hedonism!

N.B. There are many other ‘luxury’ chocolate-pastry shops in the area…. Pierre Herme, Hugo and Victor, to name just two…. this is not that at all. As I said, the service was fine, but pretty brusque and there’s certainly no nice box or sturdy bag for you to protect your purchases. However, you won’t break a five euro note here either…


Essential Information

Address6 Rue de Buci, 75006
Telephone: 01 43 26 04 13
Website: Google+
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 7am – 8pm. Closed Monday.