La Buvette de Camille, 75011

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La Buvette de Camille is one of the main spots where people in the natural wine industry in Paris like to hang-out. This thimble-sized bar opened late 2012 but I just didn’t want to talk about it on the blog until now. ūüôā

It is located on a quiet, fairly unremarkable side street in the trendy 11th arrondissement. Like many wine bars of its ilk, there is no gregarious exterior. No cute and quaint Parisian lettering, nor typical sidewalk seating. No, just a very contemporary pane of glass and no name.

Inside, there are a handful of closely packed wooden tables. No tableclothes or fancy place settings. Just a pot packed with cutlery and napkins from which you help yourself.

Yet that is precisely the reason why this bar is so popular.

It has a very casual, neighbourhood feel. You don’t need to dress up to come here – it’s much more a laissez-faire, ‘come as you are’ kind of place. Despite that, the selection of predominantly natural wines that Camille has made makes this bar stand head and shoulders above the others in the area.

The wines are served alongside various seasonal small plates… and this is very much on-trend for what are now known as a¬†cave¬†√† manger. Think: a small burrata with olive oil and preserved quince, pork pat√© with pistacchio, a delicate salad of bitter leaves with a spot-on vinaigrette dressing.

 

P.S. Absolutely NOTHING to do with La Buvette in the 9th. Should you happen to ask me for information about the American implant in vicinity of Pigalle, I will cough politely and give you directions to the 11th. ūüėČ

P.P.S. You can also just stop by to buy a bottle of wine to take-away.


Essential Information

Address: 67 rue Saint Maur, 75011
Telephone: 09 83 56 94 11
Website: Facebook
Opening Hours: Wednesday & Thursday evenings only (5pm-10pm.) Friday 11am-3pm and 5pm-10pm. Saturday & Sunday from 11am til 10pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Reservations: not taken. 

Café Chilango, 75011

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Picture the scene:

“So we’re opening a new spot in Paris. The hipster market is booming right now and we should make that our focus. What do we need?”

– Ethnic food served on small plates. Check.

– Beer from Deck and Donohue. Check.

– Coffee from Cafe Lomi and/or Belleville. Check.

– An offering of banana bread, carrot cake and the like. Check.

Joking aside, and although it falls slap bang in the middle of all these trends, the Caf√© Chilango is fortunately more authentic rather than pretentious.¬†Run by Mexican export, Olivier, you’re made to feel welcome straightaway. With its bare brick walls, bright flamboyant colours and the occasional cactus dotted around, I find it a welcome addition to the vibrant, Paris-fusion scene.

There are two main seating areas: two tables and counter by the entrance and a cosy café vibe towards the back. The bar that separates the two areas offers the aforementioned combination of beer, coffee and cake, as well as an interesting selection of mezcal and tequila. There is also a small open kitchen offering tacos and quesadillas for lunch and dinner.

Last week, I took advantage of their lunch menu: four tacos and a soft drink for 12 euros. Finished with a coffee and generous slice of mandarin orange cake, it was perfection!

Warning: this place could quickly become your local hang-out.¬†ūüôā


Essential Information

Address: 82 rue de Folie-Méricourt, 75011
Telephone: 01 47 00 78 95
Website: Facebook
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am -1am. Sunday 11am- 6pm. Closed Monday.
Reservations: not taken. 
Suggested footwear:¬†if you happen to live in the area, they wouldn’t bat an eyelid were you to come in your slippers!

 

Squatt Wine Shop, 75011

A cute, shoe-box-sized wine shop on rue de la Roquette. Pietro Russano, whose name you might recognise from Italian bar-restaurant-épicerie the Retro-Bottega, is the force behind this new opening. (Aug 2014.)

Refreshingly relaxed and unassuming, you’ll find an interesting selection of French, Italian and other European (e.g. Greek) natural wines, as well as beer and high-quality Italian cheeses, charcuterie and breads.

Rummage around amongst the fun and colourful labels. Roughly speaking, the prices range from 5 to 30 euros a bottle but you can pick up some great bottles at 10-15‚ā¨. Discounts are given if you buy three bottles of certain wines.¬†Beers from the local Parisian brewery in the Goutte d’Or. The mozzarella and burrata deserve special mention too. Yum!

 


Essential Information

Address: 112 rue de la Roquette, 75011
Telephone: 01 71 24 82 80
Website: Facebook
Opening Hours: See below. Photo taken 29/08/14.
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Yard, 75011

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Photo credit: the team at Yard.

One of my best meals in recent months was had at this thimble-sized restaurant just a stepping stone away from the Pere Lachaise cemetary.

Jane Drotter presides over the 25-or-so covers on the floor, whilst chef Shaun Kelly (ex-St John, Saturne and Au Passage) has free rein in the kitchen. The result is a powerful combination.

Service is friendly and efficient. Jane, always smiling, has a wonderful manner with the clients. The restaurant Yard has technically been open since 2009, but it is only since summer 2014 that they have been open in the evenings as well. This change, along with the arrival of Shaun Kelly, was accompanied by a huge wave of buzz amongst the foodies and fellow restauranteurs in Paris.

Both lunch and dinner menus comprise a choice of three starters, three mains and three desserts. Not exactly great if you’re a picky eater, but at least you’re sure that what they have is fresh, seasonal and, let me tell you, it is going to be good! The wine list is interesting and more extensive, with natural wines from France, Spain and Italy.

A special mention for the spectacularly decadent “Kate Mousse” which might just have gone down as my favourite pudding that I’ve eaten this summer.

In particular, the lunch menu at 18 euros for entrée + plat + dessert is an absolute steal. Highly recommended.

N.B. If this sounds like your sort of place, you’re sure to like Le Servan and Le 6 Paul Bert too.

 


Essential Information

Address: 6 rue de Mont Louis, 75011
Telephone: 01 40 09 70 30
Website: Website, Facebook
Opening Hours: Open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and dinner. Open Monday lunch also. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Reservations:¬†advisable –¬†best to call a week in advance.¬†
Suggested footwear: Black leather ankle boots with a slight heel. 

 

Le 6 Paul Bert, 75011

UPDATE (Feb 2015): I went back to Le 6 Paul Bert for dinner with some friends two days ago. In the evening, the restaurant offers a prix fixe menu at 44 euros, comprising four courses (starter-fish-meat-dessert.) I understand they’re undergoing some staff changes in the kitchen… and unfortunately, it showed.

There were three choices for each course¬†and being a group of 6 people, we ordered a bit of everything. This decision proved to be fortuitous as some dishes that we received were really not very good. I’m talking bitter winter leaves that were overly salted — think crunching down on a mouthful of rock salt. Veal that was tough and stringy and really not pleasant to eat. A financier made with different cereal grains that was so flat that two of us didn’t even finish.

Still, service was very pleasant, as usual, and the wines were great. Special mention also to the Sicilian cannoli with a punchy lemon cream filling that was absolutely delicious.

I used to recommend this restaurant fervently but I think my ardour has been somewhat extinguished after this latest experience.

 


 

APRIL 2014:¬†I have been a fervent supporter of the V√©lib – the Paris bike-share programme. For just half the price of a monthly Navigo pass, I’m able to nip around this beautiful city first thing in the morning before it wakes up and late at night after the last m√©tro (n.b. to avoid unwanted advances, much better for a girl to take a bike than attempting to walk home.) It’s also useful (and often faster) when you’re going to a part of the city which requires that you make two changes on the m√©tro.

However, last Friday as I sat down at Le 6 Paul Bert to have lunch with an old university friend, I was shaking. You see, at the Faidherbe-Chaligny crossroads, just seconds earlier, I had been knocked off my Vélib by an oncoming motorcycle which was running a red light.

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It happened as I was waiting in stationary traffic to turn left at the pedestrian crossing. I saw the white motorbike coming – because, as you can see, it’s a fairly wide junction – but I still don’t know how it was able to get at an angle which would have clipped my back wheel and sent me flying. Incidentally, he didn’t stop after the accident.

With a bruised leg and grazed hand but fortunately nothing worse, I sat down at the table, so ready for the royal feast that I was about to be treated to.

Le 6 Paul Bert is owned by the same Bertrand Auboyneau who made his name at the Bistrot Paul Bert just a few doors down on the same street. Unlike the Bistrot’s classic but hearty cuisine, Le 6 serves up small, light dishes with inventive combinations.

It’s a narrow space; a traditional zinc-topped bar on one side and a line of lipstick-red tables on the other. At the end, you see the open kitchen where Louis-Philippe presides.

The 19 euros lunch menu (entr√©e+plat+dessert) is a steal. The options are fairly limited – just two options for each – but it’s so good, you don’t even need to choose.

A raw fish (one that I hadn’t heard of before) carpaccio, served with strawberries, basil, petit pois and asparagus. A skillful lesson in cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients. The main course of paleron de boeuf, carrots and garlic was suave as it was mouthwatering. Perfectly seasoned and really tasty. I could have had two. To finish, a white chocolate sponge with a milk sorbet and quenelles of white chocolate mousse. Heaven.

Antonin, our sommelier, had taken the time at the beginning of our meal to be sure that we were happy with our wine choice. The list is extensive and boasts a great choice of natural wine (what else!) from both France and abroad.

I run the risk of sounding like a grump but I will just add one last thing: don’t believe what some websites may say about this being a place “where the locals go.” It may have once been the case, but nowadays, the clientele is distinctly English-speaking.

You come because you want to discover some of the most exciting cooking that’s happening in Paris right now – and even better, you know it won’t break the bank.


Essential Information

Address: 6 rue Paul Bert, 75011
Telephone: 01 43 79 14 32
Website: Facebook
Opening Hours: Wednesday РSaturday lunch and dinner, Tuesday dinner. Closed Sunday and Monday. 
Reservations: recommended Рa couple of days in advance.  
Suggested footwear: tan-coloured ankle boots over your skinny jeans. 

 

Clamato, 75011

Open since November 2013, Clamato is the little brother to Septime, located right next door and by the one and only, Bertrand Grébaut. Specialising in seafood, oysters and natural wine, it attracts a hipster clientèle Рbeautiful women and sexy men sporting a few days of stubble.

Great with a group of four or five friends if you are able to bag yourselves a table or as a couple sitting at the bar. Service is friendly and informal. Order a whole lot of small plates – it’s not cheap, but it’s fresh, modern and very tasty. I particularly recommend the smoked eel burger, the artichaut and prawn dish and the deep-fried crab with the most addictive spicy mayonaise that I would happily eat off the spoon until falling blissfully¬†into¬†a food coma…


Essential Information

Address: 80 rue de Charonne, 75011
Telephone: 01 43 72 74 53
Website: Facebook
Opening Hours: Wednesday РFriday, from 7pm Рmidnight. Saturday and Sunday, from midday. Closed Monday and Tuesday. 
Reservations: recommended Рa couple of days in advance.  
Suggested footwear: do you remember those pumps you wore to Bones?

 

CLOSED – Bones, 75011

UPDATE AUG 2015: Sadly Bones closed its doors last night.

Keep your eyes peeled to find out who takes this space.


 

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Combining minimalist food and d√©cor with great drinks, Bones is on every Paris hipster’s radar. Young and beautiful anglophones flock to this bricks and mortar bar and restaurant in the 11th.

The charming James Henry (formerly of Au Passage) heads up the open kitchen. His philosophy of using every part of the animal, from nose to tail, is highly admirable. Press him further on how he uses other byproducts and you’ll be won over by the virtues of his whey granita. His six course tasting menu (for around the 50 euro price point, before wine) however, gets mixed feedback.

Pierre Derrien is on front of house and does a great job suggesting interesting wines to accompany your meal. The Charles Dufour Extra Brut Champagne that he picked out for our table last night was exceptional. The wine list is extensive – all natural, with non-French wines well-represented – but there seem to be a lot that they don’t have in stock. Beers and cocktail are also de rigueur.

The restaurant seats roughly thirty covers and has two services per evening. The bar – which does not accept reservations – offers a high-quality “small plates” menu.

You come to squat at the bar, sup on some great natural wine or beer and admire the best choice of the highly-sought-after Karuizawa whiskies I’ve ever seen in a restaurant.¬†Its next-door neighbours, Clamato and Septime, attract a similar¬†client√®le.


Essential Information

Address: 43 rue Godefroy Caviagnac, 75011
Telephone: 09 80 75 32 08
Website: Bones, Facebook
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 7pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Reservations: definitely recommended Рphone between 2-7pm a week ahead. 
Suggested footwear: cute little ballerina pumps.

 

La Fine Mousse, 75011

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This is more than just a bar √† bi√®res, it’s an absolute haven for bi√®reophiles and beer geeks. There are¬†20 beer taps for draught and 150 beers available by the bottle. The selection is international and on-point.¬†

The space is bright and luminous, with a terrasse outside for when the weather is kind. The crowd is mainly made up of young professionals. Women and men equally. Welcoming. Prices range from 3 to 6 euros for a demi. Recommended.


Essential Information

Address: 6 avenue Jean Aicard, 75011
Telephone: 09 80 45 94 64
Website: La Fine Mousse, Facebook
Opening Hours: every day from 5pm til 2am.
Reservations: not necessary.
Suggested footwear: those hot pink espadrilles that you bought on a beach holiday two years ago. 

 

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¬†√©cailler, which I knew before in the context of¬†“√©cailler¬†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‚Äôhumidit√© √©caillait la peinture” (“the damp was causing the paintwork to come off”) quite a lot.¬†In its reflexive form¬†s’√©cailler¬†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 –¬†√©cailler une huitre.¬†And an¬†√©cailleur¬†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‚Äô√Čcume 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¬†√©cailler¬†those oysters¬†yourself!