Turnabout Is Fair Play

January 21, 2015By Heidi EllisonArchive, Restaurants


Click here for a more recent review of Pirouette.

The restaurant options around Les Halles are improving.

The dire dining situation in the area around the Forum des Halles seems to be turning around, or should I say pirouetting, since I recently ate at a good bistro there called Pirouette. The restaurant is located on a small hidden square in a strange one-story structure with high ceilings and big industrial windows that looks as if it had been tacked onto the building next to it. Its large, traffic-free terrace must be a pleasant place to sit in warm weather.

Like almost every other newish bistro in Paris, it has wooden tables and Scandinavian-style chairs (I love Scandinavian design, but something a bit out of the ordinary would be most welcome).

The service was just about perfect here: friendly, prompt and responsive. Once all four of us had arrived for lunch, the waiter popped up right away to explain the options: an €18 lunch menu with two courses (no choice for the starter and two choices for the main course) and another menu for €40 with three courses and a choice of anything on the menu.

We all opted for the former (although I was already secretly planning to order a dessert).

The first course – cauliflower soup with herring – sounded almost unpleasant, but we were all willing to give it a try. We were glad we


did. The bits of herring provided sparks of flavor without overwhelming the delicate cauliflower, and the whole was pepped up with a touch of curry sweetened with some raisins, with plenty of croutons adding crunch.

Two of us had the onglet (hangar steak) – a hearty, flavorful chunk of good meat – with


rutabaga and small potatoes as a main course, while the other two had the merlan (whiting), which was fresh, perfectly cooked and jazzed


up the way I like it, with big fat capers and thin slices of radish, crunchy kale and a lemony sauce.

That dessert I insisted on ordering against the wishes of my more sensible friends was shared


by all four of us – and, believe me, it was more than enough for four. It was a fabulously rich and creamy rice pudding topped with caramel sauce. They seemed to enjoy it as much as I did, in spite of their protests that they “couldn’t possibly.”

We had coffee in an attempt to motivate ourselves to go back to work, but what we really wanted was a nap after that warm, satisfying meal.

Click here to see a list of Paris Update’s favorite restaurants by arrondissement.

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