July 6, 2018

Europe 2018 day 7: let the bongwater flow

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Our first morning in Paris, and I'm dragging Hello Kitty out for breakfast at a popular boulangerie. I've been seeing friends post about Du Pain et des Idées for a few years now, and it's on the same side of town that we're staying in, so it wasn't too bad of a trek in the morning.

La chocolatine - the layers were certainly pretty, but I didn't think flavor-wise this was necessarily better than many others.

L'escargot chocolat-pistache - one of the signatures here.  Definitely unique.

Flan - a quarter of the whole piece, yet already so substantial and rich.  I wish I could have eaten more of this...

Lardon Mimolette mini-pavé - it's also nice to have something savory, and this was a good choice.

After our second dose of coffee, we decided to head to our lunch appointment a little early.  We got there before Septime opened, and the staff were still busy mopping the floor and getting the download from the kitchen.

Lunch was a 4-course affair with a choice of main dish.  As per SOP Hello Kitty and I chose different dishes.

First came these very thin breadsticks with Gouda cream.  There was a very light hint of cumin in the cream.

Raw tuna with cherries, sheep yogurt, sorrel, and tarragon - the tuna was pretty nice, with plenty of salicornia along with black cherries.  The fleur de sel on top made things a tad salty at times.

Roasted aubergine, egg yolk, spiced granola - the yolk was marinated in mushroom jus.  This was OK.

Poulpe de Saint-Guénolé, beurre au vin jaune - the texture of the octopus tentacle was lovely.  Soft enough but a little springy.  With cherry tomatoes and nasturtium.  This showed a little bit of magic from the kitchen, even though it turned out a little salty for my taste.

Selle d'agneau de lait, jus aux épices douces - the lamb came with spruce in the lamb jus, which brought a nice fragrance to it.  The lamb itself was nicely cooked and pretty fatty, and there was apricot cream on the side.  However, there wasn't much magic here...

...even with bottarga and cheese in the salad with shredded lamb.

Poached nectarine peaches, fresh almonds, fig leaf ice cream - nice and refreshing, but I think the French tend to say "peach" in English when it's actually nectarine.  They only clarify when I ask them specifically what time of peaches they serve.

This was slightly disappointing.  For a restaurant that has been part of the World's 50 Best Restaurants in the last 3 years, I was hoping for something a little more exciting or magical.  Oh well.  At least it was cheap, and given the pricing what we got was fair in terms of quality.

But this was also the start of my #bongwater fest.  When I started booking restaurants for Paris, I knew I'd be hitting a few of these hip/casual places where they love their bongwater natural wines.  This was certainly one of them, and I picked a nice bottle from a producer whose name I recognized.

2013 Recrue des Sens BT - pretty fruity, a bit of bacon fat, leather, dried herbs.  Toasty notes came out after 1½ hours.

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