dimanche 13 janvier 2008


It is all too often said that Paris is an expensive city. But it is equally true that Paris is the city of gastronomie. For someone who is fond of eating, well, it can be a bit of a challenge to eat within a budget without having to sacrifice the quality of the food. To address the issue of expense, most bistros, cafes and brasseries feature a set menu (or formule) for lunch, where one gets to choose either an entrée and plat, or alternatively, a plat and dessert. The price could range anywhere from 10 euros (most often than not a sandwich and cookie combination) to 50 euros (a Stella Maris kind of place normally). That said I often wish for something in between; somewhere nice where the food is something to write home about, and where the price allows you to eat without worrying about the hole its going to make in your wallet. I have thus set myself the goal of finding these places in Paris. A heavy duty I know, but someone’s got to do it…
Toustem is the second restaurant opened by the formidable Helen Darroze. It’s a little bistro located in quiet rue d’Hotel Colbert in the 5th arrondissement. It is a cozy room of dark beams and white tables with orange as the accent color. The place is small enough that it only needs two people to take care of all the guests. Once seated comfortably, you are shown the set menu for the day. And what a menu it is. For 24 euros, one can have the formule of an entrée and plat or a plat and a dessert. The full three course meal is 32. Granted, it is not the cheapest meal one can find in Paris, but then again, it is by Helene Darroze. And the choices are definitely worthy ones. For the entrée there is a choice between foie gras canard or the brioche d’escargot (picked fresh from the garden that morning, kidded our waiter). For the plat, choices included the morue set on a bed of haricot mais, poulet roti or parmetier de boudin aux chataignes. Everything sounded tempting and delicious. An added bonus, while perusing our menu, we were served an amuse bouche of bread with pork rillette. Yummy! Back to our meal, my friend and I went for the foie gras and brioche d’escargot for our entrée and the morue for our plat and I’m happy to report that our meal was delightful. Portions were just right, generous even, extremely savory and beautifully presented. Always there was a mélange of tastes that blended harmoniously, not one note out of place. We were happily satiated with our meal and unfortunately could not find any more room for dessert. I thought it was a real shame till I realized that this was a really good reason to go back once more to Toustem.

Aucun commentaire: