31 May 2010

Paris Day 3

Continued from Paris Day 2.

Thus we skipped breakfast on the Monday and had a light lunch at the fabulous Angelina on Rue Rivoli. This has been called the Rolls Royce of Paris tea salons. It was certainly very nice and busy.

I had a gorgeous and bright yellow omelette "Angelina" with ham and mushrooms,

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while Lundulph went for the salmon salad and commented that it would beat the Ladurée salad any day of the week.

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As we were having our salads, all people around us were getting their desserts, so we just couldn't resist. Lundulph decided to try out a classic mille-feuille,

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while I went for the smaller option of a selection of four mini macarons. Lundulph has had mille-feuille before at home and commented that the Angelina one had a denser pastry that wasn't quite to his taste. I thought it looked a bit overcooked, but I think this is done on purpose. The pastry has some bitter tones to it then to offset the sweetness. But the pastry was rather dense and thick and hard to get through, not that there is any graceful way of eating mille-feuille.

Although the menu implied that I could choose the flavours, this wasn't the case, I just got these

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Yes, the red and green one arrived pre-cracked and so it was the first one I ate. And here was the interesting bit - the macarons were cool, not room temperature and seemed to be filled with fresh cream, rather than the more tolerant stuff they use at Ladurée. I can't remember what it tasted like, nor the orange one, which I hoped would have some hints of violet, due to the purple bits stuck to its underside. I then went for the white one, which was pronounced marzipan flavour and finally the brown which was very chocolatey. As it turned out, I'd managed to eat them in reverse order of freshness, as the red and green one was quite soft, whereas the chocolate one was crunchy on the outside, gooey and creamy in the middle, as it's supposed to be. So when it comes to macarons, Ladurée wins.

A lot of other guests were being served with what looked like a ball of yarn. Which apparently is the thing to have at Angelina - a Mont Blanc, which is a ball of cream and meringue covered with spaghetti made of chestnut purée and dusted with icing sugar. Maybe next time.

Drink-wise, Angelina is famous for their hot chocolate, again something to put on our list for our next visit.

I was wondering about the colour of the omelette and it struck me that given the amount of macarons they make, they must have a massive surplus of egg yolk, so I wonder if they don't make their omelettes with only yolks, which would account for the colour. It was extremely tasty.

As our days in Paris progressed, so the temperature rose - starting at 26 when we arrived and hitting 29 on the Monday. A veriable heat wave.

We dressed up to go to our second beautiful restaurant and were quite sweaty by the time we reached the Metro station and it didn't get better underground.

The second restaurant was Mollard Tradition opposite Gare Saint-Lazare. This restaurant specialises in sea food (something I'd missed in my research and a good thing too) and even had a stand outside where they sold all sorts of sea creatures.

We wandered in and were wonderfully surprised - the setting was fabulous. Lots of large mirrors and inbetween beautiful intricate mosaics and little lights. We were shown to a table and asked for our voucher. No irritation, no rushing off or anything and again English speaking staff. What did strike us was the heat - there was no air conditioning there and it was even hotter than outside. Curious for a place that does sea food.

We were served ice cold Campari and some puff pastry nibbles, while we were choosing from our special menu. Lundulph went for the scallop paté,

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while I had to pick the only non-fishy thing on the list - onion soup with Emmental cheese. I wasn't looking forward to this, having got stuck to my seat from the heat already. But it was very nice and very big too. I wisely didn't eat it all. Lundulph quite liked his starter, but said it did have a strong fishy flavour. Actually I'm sure there is variety between the different edible sea creatures, but since I don't eat them, the word "fishy" generally describes them well for me.

Our main course arrived swiftly too; Lundulph had looked up what confit de canard is and had decided to try it out.

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Looking at what he got, it seemed to have been deep fried, rather than gently poached. The potatoes were supposed to be sautéed with mild garlic, but they were definitely deep fried and no garlic had been near them. So on the whole, Lundulph said he basically had chicken and chips.

I opted for the fresh grilled salmon.

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It was well cooked, perhaps a teeny bit too long, but tasted OK. It was placed on a bed of stewed butternut squash and this was a bad mistake - these two should not mix, not in my book. So I had to pick out all the squash. Under that was regular curry sauce, like the stuff you get up North on your chips, nothing special. It worked OK with the salmon though. One more potato would have been nice. But what were they thinking with the butternut?

Then it was time for dessert and coffee and I was quite looking forward to this - we both went for Ile Flottante Crème Anglaise. This has been on my list of things to try for ages.

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And it was delicious and I wish I had space for a second one at the time. Or should have skipped the other dishes and just replaced them with ils flottantes.

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The coffee also arrived on time, along with our desserts. This restaurant was bigger than the previous one, but had a lot more waiters too, so no one was forgotten and no one had to wait for ages.

For our next visit, we'll skip the pre-booking, but just wander in and get the greater choice from their regular menus, I think the totals would work out around the same as what we paid.

What most impressed me was that food was served a lot quicker than in English restaurants and no one came up to us to ask if everything was OK. Lundulph thought there was too short time between starter and main course, then the waiting palaver for our coffee didn't really add to our enjoyment.

There are a few more beautiful restaurants to visit and it'll be easier now that we sort of have worked out the ropes, we'll manage easier.

I've taken home a few culinary pointers that I'll try out as soon as possible.

Our adventure continues in Paris Day 4.

1 comment:

ginger@dinnerdiary.org said...

Waitrose also sell Pouilaine, as do Le Pain Quotidien and some independent delis. It comes in each day from the main shop.