Paris 2014 – Le Bistrot Paul Bert

I intended to have this for lunch today but I missed the lunch hours so this became dinner instead. I headed over at 8:30pm, after I was done visiting the Louvre. There’s free entry for people under age 26 on Fridays, after 6pm. The museum is closed at 9:45pm on that day.

Digressing, I do not understand the long queue to enter the museum premises on the street level, near the triangle. This queue was merely for scanning the bags and it not entry to the museum/ ticket queue. There are other entrances to the premises too! That’s for you to find out.

I was lucky to get a table without reservations despite reaching quite late. This bistro is quite popular and serves traditional French cooking.

You could either take 3 courses for €38 or order the courses individually. All items on the menu are applicable for the set. Both French and English menus are available upon request. €38 may seem expensive at a glance but it’s 3 full courses and is nothing compared to the price we pay at traditional casual bistros in Singapore, like Le Bistrot Du Sommelier for example.

Flaky pastry of snail & mushroom

I had something similar before in Singapore and that’s the reason for picking this option among all the courses. It was a tough choice actually because I wanted to try everything (except pig head). This pastry alone is very filling and I recommend you not finish everything should you want to enjoy the rest of the courses. I generally like puff pastries and this was good, nothing to complain about, but also nothing extraordinary to rave about. The pastry was piping hot and crispy and that was enough to make things right.

White asparagus from Sologne with herb vinegar dressing

It happened to be the white asparagus season so this was an option in the menu. I’m sure this wouldn’t be available all year round. (I happened to spot these at the fruits & vegetables market near the place I put up at, in the 17th arrondisement, too!) I’ve never tried white asparagus before so I can’t really say anything but I think the white version wasn’t too different from the usual green ones. It’s just for the novelty and when it’s in season you should just eat it.

Tartare of seabream from Carantec with green lemon

Seabream is definitely in season (or maybe it’s always in season?). This item repeatedly appeared on the menu in the many places we’ve been to on this trip and this was not the last. It was fresh and good here, nothing to complain about. A good choice for something appetizing and leaves enough space for the mains. My snail pastry was kind of too filling for an appetizer.

Brill from Guilvinec with wild woodland mushrooms

I like how they take pride in their French cooking by using ingredients from all areas of France and proudly stating it in the menu. The mushrooms were better than the fish for this one.

Roasted suckling pig with dried apricots and potatoes

I do not recommend getting this simply because the portion is too big and it was too heavy because it’s pork. Also, this wasn’t as good as Asian pork dishes. Somehow I feel that Asians are the best at pork.

Beef ribsteak with bernaise sauce and homemade french fries

I think the portion is easily 250g – 300g. It was huge, especially for Asian standards. Bistrot Paul Bert is known for their steak frites so I knew I was only going to order this. The steak wasn’t of fanciful marbling and somehow it only tasted good with the bernaise. The homemade fries were really good.

I ordered medium rare initially but had to send it back. Their definition of medium rare was bloody and raw, so perhaps their standards of medium is our medium rare.

Choux pastry with praline cream

This is also known as Paris-Brest and I remembered seeing somewhere that Bistrot Paul Bert has one of the best versions in town. Indeed this was excellent beyond words. The hazelnut flavour of the cream and the texture of the choux pastry was simply better than any I’ve tried before. I like how the portion isn’t small too, but I wish I had more stomach space for this!

Chocolate macaron

In comparison with the Paris-Breast and all another macarons in town, this did not stand out. However, the chocolate was of good quality.

Floating island with pink praline

Floating island is a French dessert consisting of meringue floating on crème anglaise. Somewhere later in this trip I had one too from a random restaurant and I can say for sure that Bistro Paul Bert’s one is good. It didn’t taste like a bowl of sugar and the meringue was light and fluffy instead of rubbery. I’m guessing it has to do with the freshness of it too and this didn’t taste like it was stashed away in the refrigerator for weeks.

The only area which I did not enjoy about this meal was the too huge portion for my Asian appetite. I think that sharing 2 sets among 3, or having 2 sets and 1 starter or main would be better than getting 3 full sets of 3 courses to share among 3. They allow a la carte ordering too so I don’t think this would be a problem.

With that knowledge I definitely wouldn’t mind returning again someday. I need that Paris-Brest right now!

Bistrot Paul Bert
18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, France

 

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