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La Guinguette de Neuilly (in Neuilly-sur-Seine)

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Address :12, boulevard Georges Seurat (Ile de la Jatte) 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine

Phone : 01 46 24 25 04

www.la-guinguette-de-neuilly.com

Last visit : January 2017 – Atmosphere : Traditional -Price : Starters between 8 and 11 €, main courses between 18 and 26 €, desserts between 7 and 11 €, wine by the glass from 4,5 €

Rib steak and potatoes – Guinguette de Neuilly

Located on the island of La Jatte, the Guinguette de Neuilly offers a bucolic setting where it is good to live. The cuisine is bourgeois (homemade terrine, veal liver, tartare, rib steak potatoes,…) and tasty. Everything is fresh and homemade. The desserts (bread washed salted butter caramel, baba with rum, chocolate mousse, …) will satisfy the most greedy.
Address frequented by regulars, which is a sign that does not deceive.

Cooking classes in foreign languages at Maison d’Europe et d’Orient (Paris 12th district)

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Address : 3 passage Hennel – 75012 Paris
Phone : + 33 1 40 24 00 55

http://www. sildav.org

pa_picto_reseau_metro[1] Reuilly Diderot

Last visit : September 2016 – Price: free participation – Drinks: 3€

The ingrédients of the pork minutal

Discovered by chance in the programming of the 2016 feast of French gastronomy, the Europe and East House is a cultural home/books shop which deserves to be known. It organized one week of linguistic and cultural discoveries the last week of September, among which cooking workshops.

I didn’t dare to try the workshops in Albanian or in Sorbian (!?) but the Latin one, why not, I was fond of it when I was in high school. I thus registered on the event which turned out to be a kind of presentation (interesting without being too erudite) on the Latin language given by a cheerful retired professor of Latin, followed by a digression on the theme of the Roman orgies led by another retired professor. One might as well say that this hour and half was long, and I guess that I was not the only one to have felt it! Finally came the third speaker, a “young lady” in her fifties, dressed as if she came out of a peplum movie. She explained that she is part of a cultural association in Nîmes (East Southern France), fond of Roman antiquities, which organizes visits of archaeological sites and museums and antique culinary workshops. She then provided tasty explanations about meals in the Roman era and the lady confessed that her favorite cookbook is De re coquinara (About cooking) from Apicius, an author of the 1st century AD.

More than recipes, this dear Apicius describes the art of the table. Few details on techniques and cooking time but the list of ingredients and a maxim to be meditated by any cooker « GUSTA, SI QUID DEEST, ADDES »: Taste, and if something is missing, add it.

We applied the maxim to the pig minutal, a kind of smothered pork pallet with dried apricots (the sweet savory was very in vogue during Antiquity) which simmers 2 hours before being crumbled and returned with olive oil, onions, cumin, mint, garum (a fish sauce similar to nuoc mam that can be used instead), balsamic vinegar, honey and dried apricots. A treat that can be enjoyed with a glass of wine or a beer (3 € at the bar of the house).

Pork minutal

A nice moment of conviviality shared with about twenty people (a third of retirees accustomed to the place, a third of intellectual people in their forties (to which I belong!) and a third of young hipsters arrived here in an unknown manner.
Very warm atmosphere, free participation at the exit.
To go further on the theme, the website of the association: http://association.carpefeuch.over-blog.com

La Pointe du groin (Paris 10th district) – Rating: 7/10

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Address : 8 rue de Belzunce 75010 Paris
www. lapointedugroin.com

pa_picto_reseau_metro[1] pa_metro_ligne_7[1] Poissonnière or pa_picto_reseau_metro[1] pa_metro_ligne_4[1] pa_metro_ligne_5[1]  footer-lignea[1] footer-ligneb[1]Gare du Nord

Last visit : May 2016 – Atmosphere : Breton resto-bar – Price: around 20-30 €/pers. drinks and appetizers

La Pointe du groin, à Paris
La Pointe du groin, in Paris

Invested by Chef Thierry Breton, the street of Belzunce shelters 3 establishments of the chef located side by side, of which the restaurant-bar La Pointe du groin (The Headland of the snout). With such a name, I had to try it (I am fond of pig, especially pieces considered as less noble: ears, tails, and feet). The cold cuts are generous and delicious, eaten outside of the restaurant, in the terrace, with a pint of beer or glass of wine at affordable prices (2 € before 8 pm, 4 € after). The originality: the service which shows the boss strong marketing capabilities: orders are taken and food withdrawn from the bar and exclusively settled in snouts, token equivalent to 1 € which we buy by 10-slice at the snouts ATM situated in the restaurant. No refund of the remaining snouts but you can use them for ever and the house knows how to adapt itself. For example it will serve you a ¾ filled pint of beer if you have only 3 snouts whereas a pint worth 4€ / snouts after 8 pm, which leads to higher consuming as you would not like to have tokens left.

As a result, the bill can reach 30 € / pers. including 2 drinks, an appetizer at 6 € (feet of pig sprinkled with parsley, light in quantity and full of onions), a small plate of delicatessen at 8 € and a rather common Breton cake.

Kind and dynamic service.

Espressamente Illy Auber (Paris 9th district) – Rating : 8/10

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Address : 13 rue Auber 75009 Paris
Phone : 01 42 66 12 17

www.illy.com

pa_picto_reseau_metro[1] pa_metro_ligne_3[1] pa_metro_ligne_7[1] pa_metro_ligne_8[1] footer-lignea[1]   Opéra

Last visit : May 2016 – Atmosphere : Italian – Price: Formulae from 12,50 €

After a mitigated Italian lunch the day before (although served in a 1-star Michelin restaurant), I am not fed for Italian food and try the Illy Coffee shop, in the district of Opera. The salad formula at 12,50 € includes a small salad (you must have a small appetite to satisfy yourself with it  for lunch, which was my case this day after a strong breakfast taken with my colleagues) with Mediterranean ingredients (sundried tomatoes, olives, chips of Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar for the chicken salad I chose), brown bread, a drink and a dessert (tiramisu, fruit salad, cornet filled with cream and strewed with candied fruits). I opted for a tiramisu which was worth Pierre Hermé’s one tested the day before in the 1-star Michelin restaurant. Served with its mini jar containing a squeezed espresso to pour into the tiramisu plate for those who like the intense coffee flavour (but can it be otherwise when one comes at Illy’s, one of the famous Italian coffee brand?).

Menu salade servi au Café Espressamente Illy Auber
Salad formula served at Espressamente Illy Auber

Formulae with pasta start from 16.50 €, a bit expensive for fast food served to the counter on a tray (although a wooden one!).

You can feel the Italian atmosphere in an authentic way (Italian waiters, names of dishes and bill in Italian).

Ideal for a fast and healthy lunch or coffea time before or after shopping in the department stores of the boulevard Haussman situated next street.

L’Ile aux bokits (Paris 11th district) – Rating: 7/10

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Address : 12 rue de Lappe, 75011 Paris
Phone : 01 55 28 62 89

pa_picto_reseau_metro[1] pa_metro_ligne_1_2010-11-18_11-50-54_364[1] pa_metro_ligne_5[1] pa_metro_ligne_8[1] Bastille

Last visit : July 2016 – Atmosphere : Fast food – Price : Menu from 10 €

L'Ile aux bokits à Paris Bastille
L’Ile aux bokits in Paris Bastille

Would you like to experiment an express trip in the West Indies without leaving Paris? If the answer is yes, then go to the Bastille district, 12 Lappe street more precisely. You’ll find L’île aux bokits, a nice cheap small restaurant held by a French West Indian boss. As suggested by its name, the place proposes many choices of bokits (a fried bread filled with meat, fish or vegetable): ham, smoked chicken (8 €) and even lambi (10 €), a delicious shellfish I am fond of. For this first time, I tried the spicy smoked chicken. It is delicious, not fat at all. Spices are very present, pay attention to delicate stomaches (ask for the hot pepper apart and add it yourself). To be totally in the West Indian atmosphere, I also ordered “accras” or fishcakes (6 € for ten, perfect for a starter or for two as an appetizer), a coconut sherbet and a juice of organic sugar cane. It was a treat and the kindness and smile of the boss added even more delight.

Concerning the place, it can accommodate lunch or dinner on upper tables and stools for a maximum of a dozen people. The clients were that evening almost exclusively West Indian (a good sign!). And as the Balajo, an Afro-West Indian night-club is a few steps away, at n° 9 of the street of Lappe, those who would like to continue on  Afro rhythms will not have to be far well. They will not forget the mint candy slid on every tray, spices being quite present !

Kishmish (London) – Rating : 8/10

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Address : 448-450 Fulham Road, London SW6 1 DL, United Kingdom

Phone : +44 020 7385 6953

www.kishmish.biz

UndergroundFulham Broadway

Date : June 2016 – Atmosphere :  Indian – Price: Approximately 25 to 30 £ / pers. excluding beverages. Glass of wine from 6£.

Gastronomic must -do of any stay in the United Kingdom: the Indian restaurant. I’ve tried by  chance Kishmish, located near my hotel in the Chelsea’s district. The restaurant tagline « Innovative Indian Cooking » gives rise to strong expectations in a country at the top of the Indian gastronomy. The promise was kept with modern plates while respecting the taste of the tradition. The plate of sea foods (9.95 £) proposed as a starter is almost a main course, with rice accompanying the delicate giant shrimp and the mini salmon steak. It is nevertheless necessary to leave some space for main courses, very generous, such as the lamb biriani (12.95 £) served in a soup tureen and stewed under a crust of delicious puff paste in an Indian  traditional oven.

Assiette de fruits de mer et Biryani d'agneau servis au Kishmish
Sea food plate and lamb biriani served at Kishmish

Romantic and elegant frame, service which would however deserve to be more smiling. As often in England, a surcharge of 20 % is added to the bill for the service.

Bon plan50 % discount on courses ordered before 7:30 pm and delivery / take-away service for orders placed on Internet at reduced prices compared with those of the restaurant card.

Wine masterclass at Louvre Bouteille (Paris 1st district) – Rating : 8/10

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Address : 150 rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris
Phone : 01 73 54 44 44

http://www.louvrebouteille.fr

pa_picto_reseau_metro[1] pa_metro_ligne_1_2010-11-18_11-50-54_364[1]  Louvre-Rivoli

Last visit : April 2016 – Atmosphere : Wine tasting – Price: Wine masterclass (approximately 3 hours) : 95 € including tastings of wines in the presence of the producers and 5 dishes dinner

Wine masterclass chez Louvre Bouteille
Wine masterclass at Louvre Bouteille

Taking advantage of a sponsored private event and having already tested the Louvre Bouteille restaurant with pleasure, I decided to join a wine masterclass organized in this place, especially as the teaser announced the presence of Frédéric Lebel, former sommelier of the hotel of Crillon (Frédéric insists on the particle!). The tasting was very successful, around 3 wines: a memorable white wine (Les Jamelles – Chardonnay-Viognier 2014- produced by Catherine Delaunay), a rosé more ordinary and to finish a heady red wine as one pleases (Château Chérubin – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru) produced by Bertrand Bourdil) to par a board of matured cheeses and delicatessen (among which house-made terrines from the young chef Mathieu Boulay).

Vin blanc Les Jamelles (Chardonnay-Viognier) produit par Catherine Delaunay
Les Jamelles (Chardonnay-Viognier) white wine produced by Catherine Delaunay

The explanations of Frédéric are clear and precise,  with numerous anecdotes based on his experience. You will for instance learn why certain wines contain suffer or how to keep bottles in a cellar and serve them when they reach their best state. The masterclasses are a bit expensive (95 € for approximately 3 hours of wine tasting in  presence of the producers + 5 dishes dinner) but we do not meet every day such an enthusiastic lover of good wines and good things.
For special occasions or to offer for a birthday / party.

Fairfax Restaurant (Maidstone, Kent) – Rating : 7/10

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Address : Leeds Castle, Leith’s, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL, United Kingdom

Phone : +44 01622 765400

www.leeds-castle.com

Date : June 2016 – Atmosphere : Lunch in a castle  – Price:  Main course + dessert at 15£

Le Château de Leeds - Juin 2016
                  Leeds Castle – June 2016

 

Would you like to have lunch in Leeds castle? If you visit  » the loveliest castle in the world » dixit the historian Lord Conway (qualifier a bit excessive even if the medieval castle built in 1119 is worth seeing) near the lunchtime, do not hesitate to make a stop at the Fairfax restaurant located in the castle domain (24.50 £ / person castle entrance fee to pay to get in the domain).

La salle du Fairfax Restaurant à Leeds Castle
The Fairfax Restaurant room in Leeds Castle

A high-end self-service is proposed in a warm Scandinavian atmosphere of chalet, at very affordable prices (12,95 £ the leg of lamb and quality vegetables freshly cooked, 2 to 3 £ the piece of cake, 1,40 £ the glass of orange and lemon juices freshly pressed). A very pleasant culinary stop in a magic place.

Gigot d'agneau rôti
Roasted lamb leg

Le Céladon (Paris 2nd district) – Rating : 7/10

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Address : 15, rue Daunou 75002 Paris
Phone : 01 47 03 40 42

www.leceladon.com/fr

pa_picto_reseau_metro[1] pa_metro_ligne_3[1] pa_metro_ligne_7[1] pa_metro_ligne_8[1] footer-lignea[1]   Opéra

Last visit : April 2016 – Atmosphere : Fancy dinner – Price: 4 course menu (starter, main course, cheese, dessert) including wine at 109 €

Hall d'entrée de l'hpotel Westminster qui abrite Le Céladon
Hall of the Westminster hotel where Le Céladon is located

1 Michelin star since almost 30 years, Le Céladon is part of these places where tradition and modernity go together with a certain success. For this dinner of exception, we opt for the 4 course and wine menu at 109 €. The squab as a starter is a bit disappointing due to  a sad display and not enough tasty for me; the langoustine consommé chosen by my friend seems tastier). Then follows a suckling pig in 3 versions (candied, roasted and glazed) served with a delicious gravy. A pure marvel. The board of cheeses is also generous (beautiful comté cheese and glass cup of soft goat cheese) and served with tepid white or brown organic bread. Finally to close the dinner, the desserts are classic (seasonal fruits with sorbet, chocolate dessert, etc.) but efficient.
Service a little bit slow (more than half an hour between the arrival by 9 pm and the first dish served) but pleasant and professional as expected for such a famous house.
Splendid frame, Regency style, in connection with the status of the Westminster hotel where the restaurant is located. Smart and sober atmosphere at the same time (no ostentatious luxury).

Bon planSpecial offer on www.restaurant.michelin.fr, menu at 79 € instead of 109 € + appetizer offered

Philippe et Jean-Pierre (Paris 8th district) – Rating : 7/10

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Address : 7 rue du Boccador 75008 Paris
Phone : 01 47 23 57 80

www.philippeetjeanpierre.fr

pa_picto_reseau_metro[1] pa_metro_ligne_9[1]   Alma Marceau

Last visit : June 2017 – Atmosphere : Traditional – Price: approximately 35/45 € à la carte (starter between 15 and 25€, main course around 25€-30€, dessert 11€), menu 4 courses at 44€, 5 courses at 54 €

La salle du restaurant Philippe et Jean-Pierre
The restaurant room of Philippe et Jean-Pierre

The restaurant of Philippe (who presides in room) and Jean-Pierre (in the kitchen) is representative of the Parisian gastronomic tradition in many respects: first of all its Art deco frame (large room with quilted seats, tables with white tablecloth, beautiful pure iberian Bellota ham throning in the room and cut by a waiter according to the orders, then by its card: scallops, lamb of Lozère, ox of Aubrac, lenses (a stalk too much salted to my taste). I succumb to the baked Alaska for dessert and I am not disappointed by the ceremonial which accompanies the dish, singed in the whisky in room.
The boss fusses to satisfy clients in a hurry and keeps his promises (2 courses + coffee within one hour).
Beautiful address with value for money which is worth trying.