Gourmet Delights

Claude Nicolas Ledoux's Rotonde de la Villette on the largest artificial lake in Paris. Do take a barge up the Canal St Martin, dine and then stroll to the serviously underated Buttes des Chaumont.
Claude Nicolas Ledoux’s Rotonde de la Villette on the largest artificial lake in Paris. Do take a barge up the Canal St Martin, dine and then stroll to the seriously underrated Buttes des Chaumont.

It is always difficult to know what constitutes a “gourmet delight”, indeed I found that the main websites that popped up when I searched for “gourmet delight” on the internet were related to a slightly superior type of cat food. Consequently I can only say that, for me, food must meet three exacting criteria.

1. It must be tasty – what is the point of creating a visual masterpiece of foam and olive oil powder only to find that the dish tastes of foam and olive oil powder? If my taste buds aren’t swooning then I don’t care how many exotic ingredients have been lavished on its construction.

2. There must be enough – Although I do not require a gargantuan meal to satisfy my appetite, I do not enjoy being presented with a massive dinner plate, in the centre of which is an object like a domino draped with a depressed wisp of fennel and have it called “Main”. Sometimes it is nice being left wanting for more but not because you are actually starving after eating what has been already served.

3. Well really, after thinking about it, as long as the first 2 criteria apply I am happy.

Just next to the Bassin de la Villette there is a little French restaurant that seems to be preferred by French workmen and we dropped in for lunch. The 12 euro menu consisted of coq au vin with a choice of potatoes or beans, salad and a Crème brûlée. We spent a delicious hour enjoying a perfect meal. Everything was perfect, the beans wonderfully fresh, the potatoes beautifully poached in cream and the quantities of chicken falling to pieces in a luscious rich sauce. Naturally there was endless complimentary fresh bread and the brûlée was not only generous but just what one would envisage as the perfect example its type, from the first crack of its top to the last remaining morsel of its silky centre.

Great food cooked with skill. I, Kitty and Miss H. would recommend it to anyone taking a day trip up the Canal St Martin.

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