The dining room at Café Pélican.
I really didn’t know what to expect from Café Pelican, a new restaurant in the 10th arrondissement, mainly because I knew nothing about it. It had been chosen by my food-blogger friend John Talbott, and I always trust his choices.
It turned out to be a pretty little café/ restaurant on the corner of Rue de Paradis (always a good sign) and Rue Hauteville. It has the look of a good lunch spot (and was indeed full of lunching ad-agency types), but in fact the quality of our meal was up to dinnertime standards.
The one dish that didn’t thrill me was the butternut soup I started with. While it was piping hot and full of the fresh flavor of the vegetable, it lacked seasoning and had to be
jazzed up with salt and pepper. Still, the addition of pieces of hazelnut was a nice touch. John had a generous plate of tasty jambon
de boeuf with a big smear of fantastic butter that made a to-die-for combination with a chewy baguette that had a delicate crunch to its crust.
The main courses were just as simple but well prepared and flavorful. I had the lovely
merlan (whiting) which sat atop a bed of bok choy cooked in soy sauce. John’s pork belly, tender and juicy, with just-right crackling, was
served with slices of pumpkin and a delicious pesto of coriander (worth trying at home).
For dessert, we shared a nice thick slice of chocolate cake, which I thought was not
quite moist enough but that John liked just as it was. It paired well with a vanilla-flavored mascarpone cream and a slab of white chocolate.
The chef at Café Pelican is Alexis Braconnier (whose last name means “poacher,” but I think we can safely assume that the meats served were obtained legally), formerly a contestant on the TV cooking competition “Top Chef,” which has spawned so many restaurants around Paris.
The airy, light-filled corner café has a seaside feel to it, with its sky-blue and white walls, big mirrors and pelican theme (treated with a light touch). Open all day, with full meals served only at lunch and dinnertime, this new-style café will certainly become a neighborhood hangout and a favorite for a reliably good, reasonably priced meal.Favorite