Monday 30 September 2013

Saturday in Paris - dinner at L'Avant Gout

So after resting and Stephen's adventure to go find a functioning iron and ironing board at the hotel, we got ready and headed out into the mild Parisian evening for dinner.

We almost always try and choose restaurants which are both interesting or slightly unusual and within walking distance of whatever hotel we've chosen, the former because we like a good meal and interesting cooking and the latter because we find that a walk after such a dinner is almost always a good plan.

Having only had an ice-cream in the 8 hours since lunch, we were properly hungry by the time we arrived for our reservation. Fortunately, we were seated almost right away in a smallish dining room. We ordered the aperitif a la maison to start - a blend of vouvray, cointreu and a dash of homemade bitters. Stunning and set us right up for our meal. Naturally, we chose from their "menu du mois" (almost always a good plan).

Stephen had: 

  • a terrine of chicken and snails with a balsamic reduction and greens paired with a glass of Muscadet
  • Red mullet with zucchini & eggplant in a turmeric tomato root vegetable sauce paired with a glass of Fitou
  • baked fig stuffed with crispy vermicelli in a custard with vanilla-mint (spearmint) ice cream followed by an espresso

I had: 

  • razor clams in a white wine broth with diced root vegetables paired with a glass of plain vouvray (the same that made up our aperitif)
  • veal onglet in a pistou with carrots, snap peas and fennel, crispy dauphinoise potatoes paired with a glass of the same Fitou
  • the same dessert as Stephen followed by a cup of very nice Earl Grey tea - one of the only times in Paris that I've found a restaurant serving good whole leaf tea. 

I was extremely pleased with my meal - the flavours were all fresh and beautifully paired with a wonderful eye toward complimentary textures as well. A thoroughly delightful meal with very gracious staff (although I did run out of words in French with the sommelier trying to explain which glass of wine I wanted with which course - fortunately Stephen came to my rescue but not without the grumpy sommelier being rather put out by the exchange). We were quite surprised to hear plenty of other languages being spoken in the dining room with the staff coping at various levels of graciousness. That corresponds overall to our impressions of the 13th - much more diverse than what we had seen to date. We were probably slightly overdressed than was necessary (when we arrived many of the patrons were in jeans - unusual in our experience of Parisian dining), but it didn't seem to make any difference. 

So very pleased we made the walk back to our hotel, arriving back just before the thunderstorm broke. A wonderful end to another delightful day in Paris

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