RAP Épicerie, 75009

IMG_20151121_213223766aThere are many Italian delicatessens in Paris but there are very few who have such high-quality products as the RAP Épicerie.

Alessandra Pierini arrived in Paris in 2010 and her mission was to source the best of Italy and bring it to France. Still independent, she currently stocks over 1000 products, purchased directly from more than 300 different producers all over Italy. IMG_20151121_213550937a

In a space that is barely larger than a shoebox, you will find what is, without a doubt, the best selection of extra virgin olive oils, vinegars, condiments, jams, sauces and tipo 00 flour in Paris… You’ll find a range of fresh pasta, home-made lasagne (well, made on-site), Italian cheeses and cured meats to die for. To satisfy any sugar cravings, you can stock up on panforte, panettone and chocolate. IMG_20151121_213237800a

That’s before you go downstairs. There you’ll find an enormous selection of wines – everything from Prosecco through to Passito. As with the food upstairs, Alessandra only works with small producers and everything is utterly delicious.

Credit: RAP Facebook Page
Credit: RAP Facebook Page

As a quick side note, Alessandra has also established herself as a leader on Italian cuisine in France. As well as having written three books (on polenta, parmesan and smoke, if you’re interested), she is often to be found talking on the radio about pesto or judging culinary competitions.

N.B. Let it be known that I first met Alessandra in a professional capacity, but there is nothing in this blog post that I would not stand by any day of the week.

Essential Information

Address: 4 rue Fléchier, 75009

Telephone: 01 42 80 09 91

Website: RAP Épicerie, Facebook

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10h30 – 19h30 and Sunday morning from 10am til 1pm.

“Les Goûters du Cœur” / Upcoming Christmas Charity Event 2015

Photo credit: Sortir a Paris

Normally, I only write about upcoming events on my Facebook page. There are so many delicious diary entries for every single day in Paris that to put them on a static blog would make them quickly out of place and out of date.

However this particular event is particularly special, thus I am making an exception.

Between 4 and 6pm, from the 8th until the 18th December, the prestigious Café de la Paix (yes, the one with the fabulous view of the Opera Garnier building) is offering a special deal:

A glass of vin chaud or a chocolat chaud
Gingerbread (pain d’épices) or lemon cake
for just 5€ !

The entirety of those five euros will be donated to charity. The money will go to a French association called the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque. They bring children born with heart defects to France for specialised hospital treatment which would not be available in their countries.

You can sit down to enjoy your goûter in the café (if there is space!) or take it to-go. In any case, you will simultaneously warm up your chilly hands with the vin chaud and your heart for having donated to charity.

More (in French) here: Sortir à Paris. Please share!

If you are in luck, you could sit on the steps of L’Opera and take a moment to enjoy listening to Youri….. or as he was (rather cruelly) called by Prête Moi Paris “That Effing Guy in front of L’Opera.”

Le Dépanneur, 75009

Shortly before August 2013, Pigalle’s well-known all-day-and-all-night joint, Le Dépanneur, re-opened under new management.


Situated in trendy SoPi (South Pigalle for those of you not in the know) the restaurant is barely a hop, skip and jump away from the seedy attractations around the Moulin Rouge. However its unique exterieur, large windows reminiscent of either a school bus or an old greenhouse, and the fact that it’s right on an intersection, make this bar-restaurant stand out from its surroundings.

What will also catch your eye is the number of well-dressed bobos sitting outside, smoking, and nursing a tequila cocktail. Oh the idiosyncrasies of Paris life! As you make your way inside, you’ll surely notice the decor. Sleek, modern, with a little beach-house vibe going on. (For those who have an eagle-eye or a fondness for trivia, the same designer also did the Mary Celeste.) Washboard wood meets industrial chrome. This of course fits neatly with the theme of the restaurant – California in Paris. Tacos, tequila and burgers. 

We sit down to eat. I choose the CaliClassic burger. It’s good. The meat and the bun are perfect. I remember that it’s Jordan from the Cantine California food truck in the kitchen. I savour the second bite. Unfortunately, that’s where a little niggle crops up.

Did I really need guacamole and mayonnaise? Raw red onions as well as caramelised onions? Bacon, of course, is a staple in any good burger as far as I’m concerned and the Cheddar was exceptionnally tasty too (I’m always appreciative of good Cheddar)… but cheese and guacamole and mayonnaise and pickles and lettuce, tomatoes and… and… and… and… it all seemed a little too much.

Maybe this is an American thing that we Brits just don’t get. Maybe it boils down to personal taste – I know I can be a boring old stooge at times.

In short, I love the vibe, I love the tequila and I love the fact that there’s a vegetarian burger on the menu. (It’s not half bad either, I’m reliably informed.) I like the fact that you can get wine, cocktails and beer alongside burgers and tacos. What I didn’t like so much was the price. 17 euros for a burger seems rather on the hefty side to me, especially when you’ll be paying 12-13 euros for the cocktail. Here’s a suggestion: why not cut down on all those accoutrements and charge me a tenner? I tell you what – that would be such a great combination, you’d find me here every day!

(Price-wise you’re looking at: 4.5 euros for a Brooklyn Lager, 5-6 euros for a glass of wine, 10 euros for a starter, 17 for a burger and 8 euros for a dessert.)

You come because you’ve finally embraced your inner hipster and you’re trying to kid yourself that you’re actually in California… 😉


Essential Information

Address: 27 rue Pierre Fontaine, 75009
Telephone: 01 48 74 48 74
WebsiteLe DepanneurFacebook
Opening Hours: every day from 10am til 2am. “Service continu.”
Reservations: not necessary.   
Suggested footwear: embrace your inner hipster


ADDENDUM: I went back today (Tuesday 15/04/14) and am actually very glad I did. You see, let me explain… I had tried to go to another restaurant in the area but was briskly told that last orders were at 14h. (It was 14h05.) Turned back out onto the street, having to quickly formulate a plan…. it was a beautiful spring day, the sun was hot and the Parisians were on their best behaviour…. Le Depanneur.

Maybe it was because it was a fairly quiet Tuesday afternoon – and did I mention that the sun was shining – but the service was really great. (And it’s not often I say that.)

I sat on the glorious terrasse. One Brooklyn Lager quickly became two Brooklyn Lagers. A burger arrived. Still up to its very high standards – and with less “stuff” it seemed too! The whole thing is still over-priced, but given the fact that I spent a very pleasurable hour or so in that spot in the sunshine, I’m more than happy to pay the 27 euros that my bill came to in the end.

La Ferme Saint Hubert, 75009

Ferme_Saint-Hubert-2It happens fairly often in my Paris lifestyle that I am faced with moments when I need spectacularly good cheese. I’m not talking just good, average or passable cheese. I’m talking something that would be the crème de la crème.

Such moments have been finding an aged Comte to accompany a passito wine made by the French model and actress Carole Bouquet, knowing that she would also be there for the lunch. (I went to the Quatre-Hommes on rue du Poteau.)

I still remember the first time I made dinner for a very eligible Parisian gentleman shortly after arriving here many moons ago. I so badly wanted everything to be perfect, I went all out on the cheese. (La Fromagerie du Pere Lachaise, in this case.)

This summer, I was on flirting terms with the cheesemonger at the Grande Epicerie. Who would complain about the exchange of some wine for black truffle-gouda and other delicacies from under the counter! More recently, I find myself bumping into hair-buddy Xavier Thuret (MOF 2007) at wine tastings. He was able to smuggle me some stonking Beaufort to accompany an equally spectacular En Spoiss 2006 from Domaine Stephane Tissot.

Today was another one of these occasions. I am expecting 15 people for a special wine tasting. We are going to be bringing out the big guns (Italians predominantly: Barolo, Brunello and Radikon, with a couple of big names in eastern-European wine too) so, naturally, I needed cheese that could rise to the occasion.

The Ferme Saint Hubert de Paris has only been in its current location in the 9th arrondissement for a few years but its reputation from its days on the rue Vignon (8e) has stood the test of time. Paulette and Henry Voy are true cheesemongers, you see. Fromager-Affineur means that they buy cheese from the very best producers and age it in the cellars until it is perfectly ripe and at its pinnacle. No need to ask what’s good today, everything will be perfect and with around 200 different cheeses on offer, you won’t be short of choice either. There are very few cheese shops with such passion.

Prices may seem hefty but, trust me, they’re very reasonable for the quality. I left with a large hunk of 10-11 month Comte, a log of mouldy goat (Saint-Maure), a pound of Livarot and a slice of Tomme au Marc and it didn’t set me back nearly as much as I had feared. (20 euros for the kilo of young Comte, for example.) 

Before I get too carried away with the cheese, I should also mention that the shelves are stocked with some of the very best other delicacies that France has to offer: Bordier butter, boudin noir from Christian Parra, conserves from Anne Rozes… This is a true address to cherish.

Essential Information

Address: 36, rue Rochechouart, 75009
Telephone: 09 80 45 94 64
Website: La Ferme Saint Hubert 
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, from 9am – 8.30pm. Closed Sunday.