Old meets new in Paris’s lively Batignolles quarter, where the historic neighborhood stands next to a brand-new eco-district, with the sprawling Martin Luther King Park in its center. The buildings surrounding the park, each with its own quirky contemporary architecture, provide a fascinating backdrop to the park’s varied landscapes.
Where to eat in the neighborhood? There is certainly no shortage of restaurants, but, of course, you want only the best. Coretta, right next to the park, is a valeur sûre (sure thing), with its wonderful food by cheffe Beatriz Gonzalez, and now there is an alternative, Truffaut, a few minutes away.
Truffaut also has a cheffe, Camille Pic-Pâris, who proved her mettle to us at lunchtime the other day. The pretty restaurant, with its spare designer decor, offers a €25 three-course set lunch menu. Unusually, lunchers can choose freely from the starters and desserts on the à la carte menu but are limited for the main course to one of two plats du jour.
I started the meal with a delicious and original French/Japanese fusion dish: foie gras- and mushroom-filled gyozas. Light and flavorful, they came with equally light chicken stock with a hint of orange-blossom water instead of the soy-vinegar sauce served with Japanese gyozas.
My friend Terry had the excellent watercress soup dolled up with multicolored carrots and fresh goat cheese.
The main courses of the day were rump steak and lieu noir (pollock). I chose the former, which was wonderfully tender and tasty, and delightfully accompanied, as was the fish, by golden turnips, carrot purée and chickpeas.
Terry was more than pleased with the pollock, simply prepared and cooked just right, and its accompaniments.
Pic-Pâris outdid herself with the desserts, especially the buckwheat sablé breton (shortbread cookie) with chestnut cream and cassis (blackcurrant) sauce. Terry promptly deemed it “exquisite.”
Meanwhile, I was happily scarfing down a dessert of candied clementines with a financier (almond cake), clementine curd and whipped cream.
I have one quibble with the otherwise perfectly pleasant service at Truffaut. The delicious, crusty dark bread from the famed bakery Poujauran left a big mess of crumbs all over the table after the main course, but the waiter just left them there. What happened to the good old days when French waiters unfailingly brushed the crumbs off the table before the dessert course?
Don’t wait for the next time you happen to be in Batignolles, located on the northwestern edge of Paris, to try Truffaut. Even if you don’t live there or have a reason to go, it’s worth the trip for the good food and to explore the new neighborhood and its park.Favorite