Great value for money at 10 euros less. Photo: patricklazic.com
Glou is one of those trendy restaurants that takes pride in letting you know where each of the precious ingredients on the menu comes from. This has become tedious, but to be fair, it is justified here by the overall quality of the products and what is done to some of them in the kitchen.
Our starters, which we shared, couldn’t have looked plainer. The lardo di colonnata de Fausto Guadini (cured pork fat from Colonnata, Italy) and saucisson ibérico Bellota (Bellota Iberian dried sausage – see what I mean about the names?) were lined up with military precision on their plates. Only the thon blanc fumé de l’île d’Yeu (smoked white tuna from the Ile d’Yeu), with its little pot of cream and green salad, was slightly less austere. The saucisson didn’t have that much to say for itself, but it was hard not to fight over the slices of tender fish or the intensely flavorful lardo. I’m ashamed to say my polite “Why don’t you take that last piece?” didn’t always sound sincere. If he’d been there, I would have planted a kiss on the cheek of the aforementioned Fausto.
The main courses were slightly more elaborate but showed the same seriousness as the starters. As a rule, the accompaniments were more exciting than the “stars” of the show. The écrasé de pomme de terre à l’huile de truffe de Cucuron (names again; in this case, mashed potatoes with truffle oil from Cucuron) that came with my bass a la plancha was to die for, while the fish was okay but definitely lacking in panache, slightly overcooked, with skin that was not quite crispy enough. The same could be said of the petites pommes de terre fondantes paired up with the pork spareribs, and the root vegetables married to the beef cheeks. It was hard not to feel that the chef needed to let go a little and maybe throw in a few well chosen herbs and spices.
I chose a cheesecake for dessert, which was not bad at all by Paris standards. Both my companions decided to drink their desserts: one had a glass of a heavenly vendanges tardives (late harvest) wine, the other a “café gourmand” (a subtle new way restaurants have of tempting people who don’t want to order dessert), which came with a cute automobile-shaped cookie and a sort of chocolate bar. She was then instructed by the waiter to cut it into thin slices, to make it more enjoyable. As she had not been handed a machete, she did her best. Her valiant efforts allowed the rest of us to share the delicious creamy chocolate.
The service was both friendly and professional: a gallant waiter even carried my friend’s shopping bags up the stairs.
The decor at Glou, like the food, is quite plain but pleasant. The upstairs room is definitely more peaceful, with a nice view of the Picasso Museum. Stay downstairs if you want to sit perched on a high stool rubbing shoulders with unknown fellow diners and sharing in a noisy table d’hôte conversation.
The wine menu lines up a good selection, including many “organic” or “natural” offerings. We enjoyed a surprisingly good Saumur Champigny at a very reasonable price. You can also choose wines by the glass, even the high-end ones, which is unusual in restaurants and a very good idea.
Glou: 101, rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris. Tel.: 01 42 74 44 32. Métro: Filles du Calvaire. Nearest Vélib station: 22 rue de la Perle. Fixed-price menu (lunchtime only): €20 for three courses; €15 for two. A la carte: around €40. Open daily for lunch and dinner. www.glou-resto.com
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