The dining room at the new location of La Régalade Saint Honoré.
Bruno Doucet has moved the Saint Honoré branch of his restaurant La Régalade across the street from its original location. The handsome space is larger, with exposed beams and stone walls, red banquettes and dark-wood furnishings.
When she reviewed the first Régalade Saint Honoré shortly after it opened in 2010, Paris Update’s then-restaurant critic Marie Tatin compared it unfavorably with Doucet’s original Régalade, inherited from and carrying on the tradition of bistronomy king Yves Camdeborde, so I was curious to see how the new version would stack up.
I liked the look of the long dining room and was dismayed when a waitress led us to a table upstairs in a low-ceilinged dining room with space for only three tables (it is apparently meant to be a private dining room). Although she denied it, I suspect that this was the ghetto for foreigners. The conversation at the one large table was dominated by a Briton talking loudly and annoyingly in English about algorithms and other work-related topics, and the other table for two was occupied by an Italian couple.
Compensation came in the form of a highly professional waiter (he noticed that the bottle of wine he had brought us was corked before we even tasted it and replaced it with another) and a complimentary “appetizer” (a Régalade
tradition): a homemade terrine with cornichons and fantastic dark bread with the crunchiest crust ever (from Gosselin, the bakery across the street).
Our starters were both big winners. I had the
risotto with squid ink, prawns, ham, garlic and parsley. Divine! Nearly as good was my friend’s
pumpkin soup with house-made saté and aged Stilton.
By the time the main courses arrived, my hunger had evaporated (bread and pâté makes for a rather heavy amuse-bouche), so I had a
hard time enjoying my large hunk of pork belly from “artisan charcutier” Eric Ospital, which had nice crackling and was served on a bed of tasty cabbage sauté, even though it was perfectly fine, as was my friend’s lamb cooked two ways: a roasted fillet and a parmentier of
lamb shoulder. Although he initially found it rather bland, he changed his opinion after a couple of bites.
Luckily, my appetite revived a bit while waiting for my dessert, because when it came I wanted to gobble it down in one go after a first taste. I
controlled myself, however, because my friend’s soufflé had not yet arrived. This turned into a tiny drama, as the waitress came up the stairs three times without it. The first time she said knowingly, “You’re waiting for a soufflé, aren’t you?” The second time, she asked in passing, “Are you waiting for a soufflé?” And the third time, she came up to the table and accusingly asked my friend, “Are you sure you ordered a soufflé?” A mistake had seemingly been made by the waiter or the kitchen, so why not just admit it graciously and apologize instead of trying to make it look like the customer’s fault?
The Grand Marnier soufflé was a perfect example of the genre when it arrived, and I
finally felt free to finish my wonderful creamy dessert with peanut pralines and hot chocolate sauce, rather like a highly sophisticated sundae (but without ice cream).
I would say we ate exceedingly well for €39 each, the whole complemented by a fine bottle of Marcel Richaud’s 2014 Cairanne. I plan to make La Régalade Saint Honoré a regular stop, but next time I will ask for a table downstairs.