Posted by: mikeydude | July 30, 2009

La Regalade Paris Restaurant Review (8/10)

This was our first meal in Paris on this trip. Highly regarded by many as one of the best traditional bistros in Paris, I had to come and try it. I booked it about a month ago and anyone wishing to come here will probably have to do the same considering the place was full within 30 mins of me sitting down (and I consider myself an early diner!).

The place is located in the South central Paris, and the restaurant looks a bit like a tavern from the outside. As you enter the establishment, the most striking feature is the huge shelves of bread behind the till. Gosh if I was a fan of french bread I would have called it paradise! All the tables are ‘cosily’ packed together so don’t expect a private dining experience here! I was greeted by a friendly waitress who after checking my reservation (sweat!) led us to a nice little table in the corner (could have been a lot worse!). They even got an English speaking waiter to explain the entire menu for us!

The menu was vast! You have the option of A La Carte (much dearer), or you could go for the set menu (32 Euro) and add on various ‘specials’ for a supplement. We couldn’t resist the foie gras starter for 2, and I added on the ribeye of beef (cooked medium rare of course!). Here are my thoughts…

Complimentary brown bread, olives, and pickled gherkins

regalade terrine

My memory fails me but I will always remember the unusual offering of a whole dish of Terrine (pork I think), with slices of brown bread which I gather was “all you can eat”. It was very tasty and addictive, however I forced myself to stop rather quickly given the feast that was to come! The couple on the table next to us had slice after slice after slice…. The sourness of the gherkins were also a refreshing start to the meal.

Starter: Foie gras de Canard for 2 (Foie Gras).

regalade foie

Expectations were very high for this dish. When it arrived my jaw nearly dropped at the size of this massive lobe of foie gras that arrived on the plate. My previous experience of foie gras was at the Pied A Terre in London (highly recommended by the way), and that was but a slither! It was served with a simple chanterelle (mushroom) salad and finished with a ‘jus’ of some sort. As I bit into the first mouthful expecting it to just melt away in my mouth instantly, I was somewhat dismayed that it just never did. The taste of the foie was there, but I actually needed to bite down on it. I thought to myself that it must be just a tad overcooked section of the foie, so I quickly tried another mouth… and another… and another. The whole lobe was overcooked. Sigh…. such a shame… don’t get me wrong, the dish was still delicious, and the accompanying mushroom salad accompanied the tastes superbly. It’s just that …. it was overdone. Perhaps the lobe was so large that it needed to be cooked more (?). Regardless, it was definitely a letdown when thinking back on it. We still enjoyed it, but just not as much as we had hoped.

Mains #1: Entrecote de Bouef (Rib Eye Steak) served with rocket salad with croutons and mash potato.

regalade rib eye

Massive steak! Even as I pressed my fork onto the slab of meat I knew it was perfectly done. As I sliced through I could see the delicious juicy rare beef underneath the fantastically slightly charred exterior. Only when I bit into it were the juices released. My goodness I hadn’t eaten such a good steak in a long long time. The beefyness of steak varies tremendously depending on the type of beef. I think welsh black beef is rather over-rated. I need to write an article at some point comparing the different breeds and give you an opinion. Anyway this beef was fantastically beefy. The chef had cooked it to absolute perfection. I would have expected nothing less I guess…. the salad wtih croutons was a nice contrast to the beef and the mash was faultlessly smooth and seasoned. There was no fault in this dish.

Mains #2: Portrine de Cochon fermier caramelise (caramalised pork belly) served with salad.

regalade pork belly

This dish looked a lot better than my choddy iphone camera could produce! Again the portion was huge. It smelt absolutely delicious. I remember seeing my wife’s eyes glow as she tried her first mouth. “Deliciously crispy skin, moist meat, and wonderful sauce” I seem to recall. I tried it myself, and I must say that I agreed. This dish was wonderfully executed …. I couldn’t grasp how the chef was able to produce such crispy skin along with a “braised” inside. He must have cooked it more than one way. Regardless my only criticism was that the bottom layer was a little dry, but this was easily forgiven when eaten with the brilliant sauce (?red wine) that went so well with it. Genius.

We finished a our main courses pretty quickly and still had room (just) for desserts!

Dessert #1: Souffle Chaud de grand Marnier

regalade souffle

Well the French sure know how to make their souffles! This dessert was in a class of its own. It looked incredible and yet as I sunk my spoon into its delicate surface I noticed it was such a wonderfully light dessert and a fabulous way to end my meal. It wasn’t too sweet, and perfectly creamy. Lovely. Highly recommended.

Dessert #2: Quenelle of chocolate mousse with a thin caramel ‘crisp’.

regalade chocolate

This was interesting … like giving a chocolate mousse a yellow hat. The ice-cream tasted very chocolaty (rich in cocoa) – high quality stuff, and the sweet crunch of the caramel complimented it well. The boss appeared to like it a lot. I preferred my souffle, but then I’m not the one with a sweet tooth in this relationship 😀

The meal finished with complimentary madeleines. These were deliciously soft and light. Great way to end.

regalade sponge

So…. the bill came up to 109 Euro including a bottle of white wine (house). Not cheap by any means, but the portions were massive and the cooking was almost flawless (except for the foie gras). I didn’t mind the cramped seating, and I thought service was great. My only gripe would be the sheer heat of the place; it was boiling and the staff only realised and switched on the air conditioning later on in the evening.

A brilliant start to our trip, and I would definitely book this place again on my return!

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