|Onion Soup revisted by Yanick Alléno|
In a modern space with clean lines of warm-toned wood, dominated by a central bar and looking onto the kitchen, suits and gastronomes alike dine on traditional dishes from the Paris region, revisited by the chef and composed of locally-sourced produce. Snack on a simple croque-monsieur (€10) at the counter, or savour the deconstructed onion soup, poetically entitled "Aux Petits Oignons, ma gratinée des Halles" (€7), composed of an onion, gruyere and croutons in a bowl, over which the diner pours a jug of hot stock to create the soup. Simple, seasonal dishes, such as radishes and butter, also feature strongly on the menu - after all, to support the locavore movement, produce must be in season. Plats de résistance currently include skate in a beurre noisette and caper sauce (€18), or the interesting Matelote "Bougival" (€19), a dish from the history books featuring two types of white fish in a red wine and mushroom sauce.
Desserts include the not-sickly-but-just-sweet-enough St Honoré with its vanilla cream filled puff pastry, and the rich and comforting Brioche Perdue with vanilla icecream. For those without a sweet tooth, the generous cheese plate is worth trying for the black brie alone - an aged, hard brie that came about as a result of a forgetful cheesemaker. There is also an excellent wine selection and a choice of very reasonably priced wines by the glass (we tried an oaky Chardonnay at under €3 a pop). Service is excellent - professional and friendly, without being overfamiliar or pushy - and the setting has a perfect balance of casual and special, thanks in part to the service and in part to the interesting architecture.
A great address for traditional yet interesting French food - and at around €35 a head, it's a thoroughly affordable way to sample the cuisine of a Michelin-starred chef (Alléno's other Parisian address, the restaurant at Le Meurice, is likely to melt your credit card).
Le Terroir Parisien
20 rue Saint Victor, 75005 Paris
01 44 31 54 54
Open daily from breakfast until dinner; brunch on Sundays
all photos copyright Kim Laidlaw Adrey 2012