Order several of the small-plates on the regularly-changing menu to share - such as asparagus with morel mushrooms, Comté cheese and a poached egg (for which the asparagus spears are to be used as soldiers to dip into the gooey yolk), €19, or smoked mackerel with tiny cauliflower florets and zingy grapefruit segments, €12. The traditional wine bar staples of the cheese plate and the cured meat plate are upgraded here with dishes such as coppa di parma with spring onions and aged balsamic, €14, or blue cheese with lemon zest and Amerana cherries, €10. On our visit the chef also insisted we try his rich and creamy Crème au Chocolat with passion fruit caramel, €8, and we were only to happy to oblige, emitting almost indecent moans of pleasure with each spoonful and seriously tempted to lick the bowl clean. The food here is truly delicious from start to finish. Despite its already global reputation, there is no sign of pretentiousness - rather the setting is laid back, with white washed brick walls, wooden floors and exposed wooden beams and hungry visitors from the UK, Japan and the States are all welcomed warmly by the friendly team. There aren't many seats, just a handful of tables and a couple of stools at the bar - but it's definitely worth the wait and a excellent option if you're looking for a really special night out, especially if you have neglected to score a reservation anywhere or suddenly have a spontaneous craving for top-quality wine and food. One of our favourites.
Frenchie Bar à Vins
6 rue de Nil
Open Mon-Fri, from 7pm
All photos copyright Kim Laidlaw 2012