Girl’s lunch and Paris-Brest – bistro love

Winter is slowly creeping up on us. Before you say that I sound like Eddard Starck , I’d like to share a recent find which may prove to be a perfect lunch time hideout from the cold weather.

A girlfriend of mine thought to invite me on a lunch date “un samedi après-midi”. She mentioned that she had a reservation for two at 1pm at a little place she’d been eyeing for quite some time. I accepted, both thrilled by the thought of a girl’s outing and by the discovery of a new restaurant. She and I met in the 11th, an arrondissement that I regretfully hadn’t visited until then, though I’ve traveled for food and drink to le 10e on numerous occasions.

Bistrot Paul Bert, Paris

Last Saturday’s bright and sunny conditions were excellent to discover the town with a camera at hand; a welcome break from the grim weather we’ve had recently. As a result, I made most of the 40-minute route from my place by foot, resisting the urge to photograph every street corner or café with a ray of sunshine but still coming away with a few nice pics.

Paris in early November

Paris in early November, le 11e

When I finally arrived in front of Bistrot Paul Bert I thought “this is so cute!”. Though I was hungry and looking forward to my meal, I needed to capture the moment and prepared to take a picture of this perfect Parisian setting. While I was doing so, two happy lunch-goers unexpectedly participated in my photo. This was promising!

Bistrot Paul Bert - happy lunch clients

I’d arrived a few minutes early and took a seat at the brass countertop bar, immediately ordering a glass of white wine. I only had a few minutes to admire the place’s very nice recipe book “Bistrot, Autour et avec les recettes de Paul Bert” until my friend arrived – this was enough time for me to contemplate its purchase – only to remember that I had to fly back to Canada with 6 months worth of luggage. By then the bartender/waiter at the counter had made me feel at home  with a very Montreal welcome (read non Parisian) – all smiles, totally busy… but happy to be and glad to accept more customers. I guess the sun brushed off on everyone that day.

Bistrot Paul Bert, Paris

My lunch date and I were seated near the wine cellar – a vintage converted meat fridge. We wondered what was to be our moment’s selection while we looked through the options listed on the blackboard menu; the lunch and dinner menu option is the same price here, a 36 Euro formule for the entrée, main dish and choice of desert or cheese. We decided to share, so one of us took the formule and the other chose a dish. Servings chez Paul Bert are copious, so our plan worked out perfectly. The wine list is wonderful too, and has a nice price range. Still, we opted for reasonably priced wine by the glass.

Les menu, Bistrot Paul Bert

We shared the delicious pâté de campagne maison, which was particularly good, followed by l’entrecôte de boeuf & frites on her side and la côte de porc for me. Both were delicious, with the meat cooked à point and the sides offering a more than satisfying feast. The pork came as an impressive two-inch thick, steaming and juicy morcel served with la couenne dorée and patates risolées. It was very good.

It was nearly 3pm when we ordered our desert. Unfortunately, it is only at this point – once our plates were gone – that I realized that I had bombed the pictures of our dishes due to a combination of overexcitement and the auto-focus switch inadvertently altered from my earlier ballad in Parisian Streets. Instead of opting for cheese, our full stomachs tended towards a sugar boost, so we ordered the restaurant’s reputable Paris-Brest.

Although this picture is good ( in my humble opinion!), I wish it could better do it justice. Oh how delightfully light that praline crème was… with our first bite, our girl’s chatter over lunch took a halt, making way to stares of bewilderment and moans of guilty pleasure. My experience au Bistrot Paul Bert until this point would have left me wanting to return – but the decadent Paris-Brest has confirmed that I will return, be it only for a desert, should the restaurant be fully booked for dinner.

Paris-Brest, au Bistrot Paul Bert

Paris-Brest, gone, au Bistrot Paul Bert

I’m told that it’s a good idea to reserve in advance if you wish to dine here. Also, I couldn’t help but notice and photograph the Bistrot’s sister seafood restaurant next door – perhaps I’ll get to try it too on another sunny lunch date in Paris.

Lovely seafood restaurant next to Le Bistrot Paul Bert

Lovely seafood restaurant next to Le Bistrot Paul Bert

Bistro Paul Bert

18 rue Paul Bert, 11e arrondissement

01 43 72 24 01

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Categories: Out and about


Aspiring food writer, serious traveler, media enthusiast and communications specialist from Montréal, Canada. Follow me on twitter @aalavoie

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