A lovely long walk today through street of Paris through le Jardin du Luxembourg, builds our appetites for our bistro style lunch at Bistroy Les Papilles.
When we walk through the door it is very clear we are in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Bistroy Les Papilles décor is an interesting mix of classic French elements juxtaposed with bright Latin colours. The mosaic tile floor is a kaleidoscope of bright colours, yellow, red, blue, green and orange. A large bold and risqué poster from the 1973 film Le Grand Bouffe – a French film about four men who hire prostitutes to join them at a Villa where they plan to end their lives by gorging themselves to death on fine food while engaging in group sex, is a bizarre but colourful backdrop to the room.
Another quirky element is the frequent appearance of rugby memorabilia. Bertrand Bluy the owner, is clearly a fan, he has framed jerseys hanging on the walls and the basement room has a large 15 place table and a big screen television on the wall where I suspect he has probably watched a match or two with friends!
Bistroy Les Papilles is also part gourmet store, part cave so while sitting down to dine you can peruse the shelves loaded with fascinating condiments and other goodies and the extensive wine racks.
The food here is simple bistro fare and judging by what we see being served to other tables, is served in very generous portions. Bertrand himself comes to explain the menu and has fantastic English, telling us about his visits to Australia (to watch the rugby of course). He explains that Chef Tom has an a la carte menu to choose from, but he also offers a fresh market menu of the day which is shaped by what Chef discovers. The freshest and best ingredients at market each morning. Now for us, that makes it very easy, why choose anything else, market menu it is!
Bertrand also recommends a red wine that will be perfect with the meal and has the cork swiftly removed from the bottle and is splashing a taste in the bottom of our glasses before we can blink. He confidence in the selection is well founded. It is lovely and proved to pair perfectly with our meal.
For our starter we are each served a terrine of rich thick cauliflower soup. The flavour is wonderful and very moorish. Three goes at ladling steaming scoops into our bowls and our terrines have still not been emptied. As wonderful as the soup is we just can’t finish it all.
Today’s market menu has beef for main course. Our waitress appears struggling to hold the large heavy copper pans that contain substantial fillets of beef surrounded by beautifully sautéed vegetables. Golden brown tiny and sweet potatoes, glossy carrots and other root veg. A simple but beautifully prepared bistro dish accompanied by a shiny rich jus. The generosity of the portion was again mind boggling. One pot of beef would have been plenty for both of us, but we had one each. We did our very best but could not possibly finish all of it.
Our dessert was a light and delicious panna cotta, smooth caramel at the base and finished with an airy caramel foam that just seemed to give it a little lift.
The food at Bistroy Les Papilles is not Three Michelin Star level but it was wonderful! It was a lovely comforting meal, homely warm and very very generous.
We selected a couple of little treats to take home with us. A couple of tins of biscuits- not for the biscuits but for the pretty Art Deco design tins and most excitedly a large pink tin of Fleur de sel. Fleur de Sel (flower of the sea) is known as one of the finest and most delicate salts. It is a finishing salt that when you eat it, the natural moisture levels makes it take longer to melt on your tongue which means the flavour lasts longer! Some varieties of Fleur de Sel can cost up to 200 times more than regular table salt.
With our treasures parcelled up and l’addition settled we head home. Another lovely walk in the cool Paris winter, this time through le Jardin du Luxembourg, finishes our lunch adventure for today.