Usually when I go out for dinner with my boyfriend I tend to choose the place, as I always have a long list of “must check out” places that I’m eager to try. This time, as it was a special occasion, I decided to let him take a shot at choosing a restaurant and when he suggested Bistro Poulbot I was relatively happy to give it a go. This cute little bistro is located in the quiet street of Rue Lamarck, only a short walk from Sacré-Coeur, making it the perfect place to enjoy a meal away from the craziness (and the many tourist traps with overpriced and dismal food) you find around Place du Tertre.
I have to admit that this place can easily be overlooked with its simple red awning but as we crossed the street its glowing interior, complete with sparkling Christmas lights, really invited us in. Once inside we were greeted by a very friendly server who showed us to our cozy table for two by the window. The décor inside was that of a traditional French bistro with wooden chairs/tables and leather bench seating, chalkboard menus hanging on the walls and photos of chickens and other vintage prints scattered about.
The huge chalkboard menu was brought over to us and I immediately noticed some “interesting” items on the menu, and when I say “interesting” I mean things that I would not really choose to eat. I’ve never been a huge meat eater so eating veal tongue and veal brain with potatoes has never really appealed to me. I will give them a try if offered from someone else’s plate (I’ll try almost anything once) but I will never choose any sort of offal dish by choice. Luckily, I still had many other options, so everyone should be able to find something they like…well apart from vegetarians. The chef, Lorenzo Torrini, manages to expertly blend traditional and rural French cuisine with his own unique touches and at 35 euros for a 3 course meal (entrée, plat et dessert), you really can’t complain!
I chose the courgettes en carpacccio as an entrée while he went for the duck foie gras, we both chose the bavette “tagliata” as our main course, and for dessert he chose the profiteroles and I the apple crumble… to begin with…then at the last minute I switched my order to the pain perdu (the waiter was super sweet and told me I had the right to change my mind…thank you). Our bottle of wine arrived with a cute little basket of in-shell peanuts. We were both hungry and demolished them immediately! By this time we had properly defrosted and were nice and warm in our little corner.
The first dish arrived as an attractive display of thinly sliced zucchini, folded and arranged like the big bows you find on top of presents, then drizzled in lemon vinaigrette and topped with crispy parmesan flakes and pine nuts. It was light, fresh and very tasty. Of course my boyfriend enjoyed his foie gras (he always does!) and I stole some of the spinach leaves from his plate that were tossed in a light but flavorful dressing.
Next came the “tagliata” steak, covered in a yummy Bearnaise herb sauce (that had what I thought tasted like a hint of anise), cut into thick slices and cooked to perfection. It was accompanied by a small, but decent quantity of mashed potatoes. I was completely satisfied and although the quantity was not enormous my guy seemed to find it an ideally sized portion as well.
The best, however, was yet to come! I am not even going to talk about the profiteroles because for once I didn’t insist on trying his dessert as I was too incredibly blown away by my pain perdu (or French toast) topped with strawberries, bits of meringue and whipped cream. I don’t think I’ve ever found French toast to be so good! It was light and slightly crisp on the outside while bursting with buttery and sugary goodness in every bite! The strawberries and meringue pieces were classic yet genius additions and, once again, the portion was perfect. Not too much (to give you a sugar overdose) and not too little (to leave you feeling unfulfilled).
In conclusion: with winter officially here and the holiday season upon us I can’t think of a better place to recommend for anyone wanting to find a little shelter from the cold while enjoying some good quality bistro cooking. Also, note to self: I’m not the only one who can pick a good restaurant!
And with that now said, I am going to finish wrapping my Christmas presents. I wish you all a very happy holiday season and all the best for 2015: I’ve got so many great places to tell you about this coming year, I can’t wait! 🙂
39 Rue Lamarck, 75018 Paris
+33 (0)1 46 06 86 00
5 plates of pain perdu out of 5