pre-Christmas dinner at Paul Bert bistro

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In an earlier post this year (April 2014), I put up photos of a rollicking dinner we had at our favourite bistro in the 11th arrondissement, the Paul Bert.  Last night was a slightly more sedate affair, but in terms of food and company, equally delicious.

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A Swedish Christmas elf offered me a gift that happened to be on my Christmas list – a box of marrons glacés (candied chestnuts) from Paris’s best chocolatier, La Maison du Chocolat.  A glass of champagne was ordered for the occasion.  And then an English Christmas elf, who had also referred to that list (which I didn’t think anyone would actually consult!), offered me a Diptyque Feu du Bois candle.

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As a starter, I ordered the marrow bone simply roasted and sprinkled with fleur de sel. My companions had foie gras and roasted scallops.

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I then chose the roast venison with celeriac puree and juniper berries while my friends enjoyed pepper steak with a load of hot crispy fries.  Paul Bert is known for their delicious, hot and crispy fries.

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IMG_3828IMG_3824I don’t know what they’re making eyes about here.  Paul Bert makes the best crème caramel I have ever tasted.IMG_3833IMG_3836IMG_3840IMG_3842

And so, as always at Paul Bert bistro, a good time was had by all.  We walked off into the dampish night, each of us headed to different destinations over the holidays – Sweden, Holland and south-west France.

dinner at Paul Bert bistro

Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 068Three ladies made their way to the 11th arrondissement in Paris last night to meet, eat and swap stories at the much-loved bustling bistro, Paul Bert.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 028The third lady is behind the camera.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 031Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 032My friend Rosemary from London had steak entrecote with bearnaise sauce and the bistro’s signature crispy fries.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 036Beth from Toronto and I shared a stew of slowly-braised beef cheeks in red wine served with sea shell pasta called conchiglie.  It was deliciously satisfying.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 037Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 039Rosemary tactfully dissuaded me from ordering Chinon again (I’m always ordering Chinon. I’m a Chinon buff.)  We all agreed that a nice Crozes-Hermitage would fit the bill nicely.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 040Towards the end of the meal, Rosemary saw a soufflé go by and said she simply had to have one.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 044I saw a crème caramel go by and the sight of it gave me a fillip. I used to make crème caramels – in a bain marie – when I was a teenager. I thought I was being terribly sophisticated.  Not having tasted one in over a decade, I put in my order.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 045And I was so glad I did!  This was the mother of all crème caramels. Light and silky and doused in a sweet caramel sauce.  I swooned with each spoonful.  Beth went for the cheese plate and a wooden plateau arrived laden with different fromages.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 049The service was impeccable; the skilled waitstaff patient and charming.  The convivial atmosphere of Paul Bert has you striking up conversation with the diners beside you.  It helps when they are Americans: friendly and sociable. This couple hails from New Orleans. He’s writing a novel, he told us.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 064And these young people are from Brooklyn.Paul Bert bistro Paris avril 2014 059I think we were all making a lot of noise towards the end of the evening. I’ll bet the French were thinking “Those loud Anglo-Saxons with their cameras….and snapping pictures of a common crème caramel. Grands dieux !”  (that’s the equivalent of “good grief!”)  Oh well.  A good time was had by all.