Ici Meme, 75012

A seriously cool space that opened in September 2014.

Minimal and modern. Off-licence, bar and art gallery. There’s a selection of French and foreign wines (with a clear bias towards biodynamics) available to take-away.

Prop yourself up at the bar and quench your thirst with a glass of grain or grape, accompanied by a plate of cheese or charcuterie. Particular mention to the interesting beers (e.g. Cantillon, Brasserie St Rieul and Outland’s Tasty (from the Parisis Brewery)) all sourced from La Fine Mousse. If you’re looking for culture as well as hootch, the adjacent art gallery space rotates with temporary exhibitions.

What can I say… with Nebbiolo and Le Calbar as neighbours, it would seem the rue de Charenton is getting more and more interesting.


Essential Information

Address: 68 rue de Charenton, 75012
Telephone: 01 43 40 00 99
Website: Ici MemeFacebook
Opening Hours: Tuesday- Saturday from 10am til 9pm, Sunday 10am til 5pm.


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!

Le Blé Sucré, 75012

I had been tipped off by a local parisienne about this neighbourhood boulangerie that is totally worth going out of your way for. It turns out that, such is Le Blé Sucré’s reputation, it has those in the know salivating just at the mention of its name.

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[2011] Croissant Competition #18: “The perfect diamond shape, it was a darker colour than the not-so-aristocratic croissants and it smelt strongly of caramel.

Oh be careful – it will be very hot. It’s only just out of the oven,” said the boulanger. And she wasn’t wrong! There was a small waft of steam that came out as I tore the croissant open. 

It was crisp on the outside but silky soft on the inside. Believe it or not, silky soft isnt even an exaggeration, it was so buttery, it tore apart just like picking up a silk scarf. Yet, at the same time, it wasn’t tooooo buttery either – it left just the right amount of butter on my fingers, not like #3…

Even though from the photo above, the croissant looks practically hollow, what there was of it was chewy enough for me not to feel hard done by. This silkiness may well have been different had the croissant spent even just five minutes on the counter before I walked in and given it the chance to solidify, but who in their right mind has that kind of patience. In terms of taste, there was a sweetness to it that most other croissants dont have – probably linked to the toasted caramel smell when it was first handed to me.

This is honestly a god amongst mortals and mark my words: the next time I’m looking for a flat in Paris, I want to live just above le Blé Sucré and I’m fully prepared to camp outside until they give in. Alternatively, if I learn from Number 16, maybe I need to find a boyfriend who calls this his local!

It is, without a doubt, one of the strongest contenders for the title of Best Croissant in Paris.”

 


Essential Information

Address: 7 rue Antoine Vollon (Square Trousseau) 75012
Telephone: 01 43 40 77 73
WebsiteLe Blé Sucré
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday from 7am-7.30pm, Sunday until 1.30pm. Closed Monday.