The decor was good - classic Parisian 30's art deco feel with checked table cloths. The vibe was warm and inviting. We we greeting immediately upon entry and offered a choice of tables. Service was friendly and in English which was a bonus. A good start. The place was heaving but ominously full of tourist clutching same said guidebook.
The special of the day was beef and vegetable stew, the very same stew we had read about being so delightful, hearty and classically Parisian. At 18 Euros per main we thought it rather dear but being in the area we were perhaps this was to be expected. It was this or one of the cafes along the main boulevards that would charge similar for a burger and pomme frites or a pizza so we persevered. We ordered it and a bottle of house wine to wash it down with, this being a more reasonable 14 euros I think and decent.
We waiting an unnervingly short while before our meal arrived - the wait could not have been more that 7 or 8 minutes. Being of English heritage, I am used to the grim old days of grey vegetables boiled to death. I had hoped in our more culinary savvy times, and in the land of great food, that I would never have to experience this again. Sadly, I was wrong. The stew was grey and watery. The vegetables I believe to have been potato and something nondescript were washed out shades of yellow and putrid green. The beef itself acceptably tender but in combination with the rest of the dish, largely tasteless. It was no surprise that mustard and onion salt had been provided on the table as lashings were required to add any kind of flavour to this slop. Accompanying the meal was also a serving of bone marrow with toast. Although largely more successful than the rest of the meal this still lacked quality.
Hunger got the better of me and I finished the plate. A saving grace, or perhaps not, would be the portion size which was more than ample. It seems this place does get good reviews elsewhere so maybe they were having an off day when we visited, but the standard was really very poor. We didn't wait around to order dessert given our experience and left unfulfilled.
I would sincerely recommend avoiding this place.A
This restaurant is situated a stones throw from Galerie Lafayette and the Grand Boulevards, tucked away on a side street. The area is seemingly bereft of decent restaurants that are not tourist traps so we consulted a guidebook. This one was rated as being a classic Parisian bistro and the chef the king of the hotpot. It was pouring with rain, so wholesome, hearty food was a necessity.