It’s a well-known fact (I think) that inhaling the salt air by the sea is not only good for you but also makes you feel great. And, as I discovered when I ate lunch at the Oyster Club the other day, eating super-fresh seafood, even in Paris, can also make you feel great.
This simple little restaurant in the Marais, with a bright-blue facade, wooden tables and metal chairs, is decorated with ocean-related paraphernalia and old photos of Breton people from times gone by. The fish, delivered directly from Brittany every day, is on display at the counter – nothing to hide here – along with some nice crusty loaves of bread.
The menu featured oysters, of course, but I had the lunch special: three courses for €18. The starter that day was a plate of no fewer than eight big, fat organic shrimp in their shells. I’m not crazy about shrimp, but these shrimp, served with homemade mayonnaise and salted Bordier butter (one of the best brands) for the lovely bread, truly made me happy.
The main course that followed was a wonderful piece of salmon, hot-smoked but served cold, accompanied by a tasty potato salad, topped with little beads that looked like fish roe but were filled with lemon, and fresh greens with a good vinaigrette. This salmon was the only product on offer that did not come from Brittany (because it’s better in Scotland, the waiter explained).
The servings are so generous here that I was almost, but not quite, too full for dessert. I thought the lemon cream on offer would be nice and light, and it was, but it also came in a large serving. I resolved to have only a few bites to finish off the meal, but it was so delicious that I just kept going.
There is nothing fancy about the Oyster Club, but who needs fancy when you can have the joy of eating good, fresh, well-prepared food with no pretensions. I can almost smell the sea air.