Unbeknownst to us, our Paris hotel on rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud was a short distance away from lots of good eating. Our hotel’s free wifi was a great help, with a quick search finding us Astier, a very traditional French bistro, only a hop, skip and jump away. A reservation was made for our second night and off we went for our dinner date in this quaint red and white checked tableclothed restaurant. A four course set meal (starter, main, cheese, dessert) was on offer for €35 (with about 4 choices for each course, except cheese) and we both chose that. There’s also a choice of going a la carte as well as specials of the day on a separate chalkboard that can be had as part of the menu at a supplement.
My Harengs Marinés, Pommes Ratte en Vinaigrette first came as an empty plate and a bowlful of deliciously nutty potatoes in a tangy vinaigrette. The marinated herrings came separately in a huge terrine dish that was thunked unceremoniously next to me. I love these help-yourself dishes and I certainly did help myself but don’t worry, I didn’t clean out the communal herrings! The herrings were gorgeous – not at all fishy but almost meaty and the pickled pink peppercorns and onions that swam alongside them were so perfect with them.
Blai’s Caillette de Canard aux Herbes, Effilocheé de légumes, jus de viandes was slices of what appeared to be a fat sausage of duck on a bed of boiled green beans and it was delicious. It was a great start to the meal.
For mains, a Pressé de Jarret de Veau Braisé, Légumes à la tomate et olives noires de Nyons was very tender and had very southern French flavours – fresh tomatoes, olives – that I never would have thought to pair with veal. It all made up for a very fresh and relatively light dish.
The Cote d’Agneau Rôties au Thym Frais, Pommes de terre et aubergines à l’ail doux was fantastic. These was some the best lamb I’ve ever had and each lamb chop was cooked to a perfect rose inside. The accompanying mashed potatoes and aubergine puree were equally good.
During our main course, we had been watching the progress of the cheese platter around the restaurant with envious eyes! Finally, it was our turn! Two fresh plates were set in front of us and then Le Plateau de Fromages d’Astier appeared! Oh, what a spread – we helped ourselves to a bit of almost everything but my particular favourite (and always has been) was a brilliant Époisses – you can just see it on the small plate at the back.
Dessert was of the same excellent standard as the rest of the courses. Blai’s Clafoutis et Sorbet aux Framboises was full of butter and fresh fruit.
My Biscuit Tiède aux Abricots, Glace à la vanille Bourbon façon Melba was equally delicious with half an abricot baked into the cake and another half roasted and placed on top. Their accompanying ice creams and sorbets are also to be commended.
We were stuffed. I managed to find some space for a coffee but that was it – roll us out please.
Service was excellent and very jokey (“€200!” announced our waiter as he brought the bill and he laughed as my eyes bulged out of their sockets. Our bill was less than half that.) It’s a fantastic place to take a very traditional bistro meal and yes, it’s good for cosy dates too! Bookings are advised. It was emptier when we went which can possibly be explained by it being the last weekend in August.
44 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud
And that ends my posts from our long weekend in Paris. All my photos from this short Paris trip can be found at this Flickr photoset. It’s back to London for a bit before I start writing about the south of France!