Café des Techniques

August 2, 2005By Heidi EllisonArchive

Techniques for Eating Well

A large model ship is the restaurant’s centerpiece.

One of the loveliest places to have lunch in Paris is a well-kept secret. The Café des Techniques is housed in the Musée des Arts et Métiers (see “Art”), located on the site of a former monastery on the outskirts of the Marais. In the summertime, diners can sit outside on the terrace in the handsome courtyard, protected from the sun by the shadows formed by the building’s cool stone wall. Inside, the stunning high-ceilinged dining room is worthy of a palace-hotel, with its high vaulted ceiling and floor-to-ceiling arched windows. The white walls are offset by simple modern tables and chairs in dark wood. The centerpiece of the room is a huge model ship in a wooden case.

The food is unusual for Paris, with original, flavorful dishes that deviate from the copycat menus offered by most bistros. A delicious, fresh taboule made with cinnamon, dates, raisins and preserved peppers, for example, is served with marinated sardines in a preserves jar and accompanied by a green salad. The “paniers vapeurs,” hot dishes served in a wooden basket, include wild salmon with leeks, orange sections and hazelnuts; chicken breast marinated in coconut curry and simmered with snow peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes and sliced potatoes; and salt cod with fennel, red peppers, black olives, potatoes and sun-dried tomatoes. A variety of salads is also offered, and desserts include a pound cake with chestnut and orange sauce, and home-

made ice cream with flavors like cinnamon and green tea with mint. On Sunday, an Italian-style buffet brunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Great attention has been paid to detail here: the glasses and dishes have a designer touch, but are still practical. The teas are from Mariage Frères, the coffee is from equitable commerce, the juices are fresh and the short wine list has been carefully selected. Prices are reasonable, with main courses ranging from €8 to €13, and a trendy ambience is guaranteed by the regulars from the nearby headquarters of the Jean-Paul Gaultier fashion empire.

Café des Techniques: 292, rue Saint-Martin (direct access) or 60, rue Réaumur (museum entrance), 75003 Paris. Métro: Arts et Métiers. Tel.: 01 53 01 82 83. Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Heidi Ellison

© 2005 Paris Update

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