Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My perfect Paris night out

L'Os à Moelle
3, Rue Vasco de Gama - 75015
ParisMétro: LourmelTel : 01 45 57 27 27
This was on my list of ‘to go to’ restaurants after reading the lovely Chez Pim’s account of her experiences there. She describes it thus ‘The cooking here is always reliable, with a focus firmly on using pristine ingredients and letting them shine’

Sounds good to me. I was also sold on it being described as friendly and not too pretentious, very important to us.

I had been to Paris once before, many years ago, and had, as many Australians, Americans and Brits have found, some rather poor experiences with the locals, particularly in restaurants and cafes. This time, we were determined to try to get as much out of the experience as we could and so purchased some language cds which we played in the car to try to learn at the very least, the basics.

What a difference this made!

We were able to introduce ourselves and ask for what we wanted in French. Usually our pronunciation was so bad that they replied to us in English (or Spanish a few times, I guess I look Spanish?), but I found them to be MUCH more friendly and helpful. The exception is possibly just a couple of bistros were the invariably male waiters seemed to think we were lesser people as tourists. This was definitely in the minority though and waiters of this sort were usually found in less impressive eateries.

L’Os á Moulle was possibly one of the friendliest places in France we dined at. When I called up to make a reservation, I had consulted my language book and hesitantly said

‘Je voudrais réserver une table pour 2 pour ce soir s'il vous plaît’

The lovely lady on the other side said something in French, which I hesitated at for a while, trying to quickly translate, and she then replied in English! Oh well, at least I tried.

On arriving at the restaurant that night I tried to continue this pretence of knowing French, by replying to our dining neighbour’s ‘bonsoir’ and trying to speak as much French as we could to the waiter. We didn’t fool anyone though. And though they offered us an English menu, we just tried to work it out ourselves. Stubborn? Or just going with it, as I like to think. Plus, we ended up with some interesting things using this technique all through Europe, things we wouldn’t necessarily have ordered…

The menu is a 5 course menu including dessert and a cheese course, for 38 Euros. Each course has a choice of at least 2 or 3 dishes. This was the menu. If anyone can translate it for me and tell me what we ate, I would appreciate it ;) I guess it is a bit small though…

We started with what was described as mussel broth and foam, served in a little shot glass. It had few peas in it and was warm, salty, fishy without being overpowering, and a great way to whet the appetite…

Nathan came up with a theory that you can tell how good a place is to eat by their bread…

They had two different types of bread and both were textured and chewy and crusty. All things the French know how to do to bread. mmmm

The next course was the soup course. The bowls were brought to the table with croutons and herbs, and the waiter poured in as much soup as we wanted. A nice touch.

Cream of asparagus soup

Entrées – oyster with basil dressing

Quail with a cabbage salad that was really good

For mains we had a lovely prime cut of beef, served with mashed Jerusalem artichoke and beetroot ‘chips’.

Unfortunately I was not taking notes and now forget what this cheese was, but it was lovely.

And desserts. The first was a chocolate mouse which was so rich I only needed a few bites. But then again, I finished it so maybe I didn’t.

And poached rhubarb with a fresh raspberry sorbet. Nathan is the rhubarb king and couldn’t stop eating this.

We had a reasonably priced bottle of red from Bordeaux (I cannot remember the details) which went perfectly with the meal.

The service was friendly and there were a lot of locals and cute old couples having their special meal out. It felt a lot less touristy than many of the places in the Latin Quarter were we were staying, and we left full, tipsy and happy. Happy enough to brave going to the Eiffel tower at night to try our chances. It was still busy and so we didn’t go up it (and never got the chance but after the rest of europe, climbing up another tower was not that exciting), but it was beautiful all the same. This was followed by a walk along the Seine and a metro ride home. You cannot really ask for more than that from a night out in Paris…


Rita said...

I don't expect to ever be in Paris, so reading your post about your meal was second best to actually being there. I could just about taste all the flavours, so have eaten there now, albeit vicariously. Thank you so much for that experience. Love your site too.

Ran said...

thankyou rita, good to know someone has read and enjoyed!