Wal­let-Friendly French Fare

Where Paris - - Dining - L’Oiseau Rive Gauche 5 rue de Bour­gogne (7th), 01 45 51 79 42

For any­one who’s crav­ing an ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of out­stand­ing con­tem­po­rary French cook­ing with­out a ma­jor wound to the wal­let, L’Oiseau Rive Gauche is an ex­cel­lent choice. Young chef Maxime Lau­ren­son’s cook­ing daz­zles with its sub­tle orig­i­nal­ity and tech­ni­cal pre­ci­sion, and ser­vice is ab­so­lutely charm­ing, too. Lo­cated steps from the French Na­tional Assem­blée in one of the chicest neigh­bour­hoods in Paris, this calm din­ing room has a pleas­antly clubby at­mos­phere at noon when many politi­cians dine here, and a more in­ti­mate am­biance in the evening, when it is pop­u­lar with well­dressed lo­cal cou­ples. The short menu changes reg­u­larly to fea­ture sea­sonal pro­duce and the tal­ented young chef’s lat­est cre­ations, but a vegetarian tast­ing menu, are al­ways of­fered along­side the reg­u­lar prix-fixe menus and à la carte choices. Stop­ping by re­cently for din­ner, we were de­lighted by an amuse bouche of roasted ear of baby corn, a suc­cu­lent wink at au­tumn, and this theme con­tin­ued with starters of cepe mush­rooms with liquorice and hazel­nuts and a plump oys­ter in­trigu­ingly bright­ened with quince ex­tract. Main cour­ses were out­stand­ing, too, in­clud­ing cod with pis­ta­chios and ver­bena and roasted pi­geon gar­nished with beets, black cur­rants and gera­nium. Since the cheese tray here comes from Bernard An­thony in Al­sace, one of the great­est cheese mon­gers in France, we tucked into a fine se­lec­tion be­fore desserts of jas­mine cream with black­ber­ries and hazel­nuts and a su­perb com­po­si­tion of smoked choco­late flavoured with hay. – A.L.

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