Monday, October 26, 2009

Auberge de la Reine Blanche @ rue Saint-Louis en L'ile

Traditional French food in a quaint hole in the wall restaurant.....

While researching for places to eat in Paris, I found this highly recommended eatery on Trip Adviser so I decided to try it out. Loved the location! - on a small isle in the middle of the Seine River, in a quaint area filled with narrow streets and shop houses:
The restaurant from the outside...

Inside, the restaurant is pretty cramped but somehow feels cosy rather than claustrophobic (although admittedly, I didn't really enjoy being quite that close to my fellow diners):
All the tables were packed within inches of each other!...

The menu and daily specials are mostly in French (and some English) but the wait staff here speak really decent English (AND are really friendly) so there's nothing to worry about in terms of language barriers. :)

I asked for my waiter to recommend a proper French meal to me, so he suggested I start off with the Pastis (Euro 7++) apéritif from the Marseilles region:

Wowza - it was strong.
(I learnt later on Wikipedia that Pastis is generally between 40-45% alcohol!)

Hmmm,.. I didn't really like it though because there was a very strong taste of star anise and licorice (which I am ok with, but don't really love) but my intention was to try something different so I was happy with it. :)

Quickly feeling the effects of the Pastis (on my empty stomach) I started shoving the free crusty bread with the accompanying mild cheese spread down my throat (aka. Attempt at damage control! Haha...):
Bread & cheese - French staples!...

Luckily the Duck Salad (part of 3 course set, Euro 19.50++) came pretty quickly or I may have been stuffed with bread due to my own folly:
The duck salad...

When I saw the dark and shriveled looking pieces of duck sparsely scattered in the fresh greens, I was a bit disappointed....

I thought I was in for a jaw breaking session, but was surprised to find out the duck was actually moist and yummy. It was also pretty salty, so the small amount went well with the simple vinaigrette dressed salad. I think it would have been better without so much cheese though, because it made it a bit too salty at times.

The red wine (Euro 8++) recommended by the waiter went very well with the duck (and I was starting to get a bit drunk by that point):
More alcohol...

By this time, my expectations were very high... but I ended up being a bit disappointed with my main, the Bouef Bourguignon (part of 3 course set, Euro 19.50++):
French beef stew...

This is a very simple classic French dish, pieces of beef stewed with vegetables, but the beef texture was a downer and the stew was kinda tasteless... :( :( I tried explaining this to the waiter at the end of my meal (just as feedback, not a complaint) but I guess they are not used to getting bad feedback here as he didn't understand the words "bland", "tough" or "dry and a bit stringy".

Luckily, the Dessert of the Day (part of 3 course set, Euro 19.50++) was pretty good:
The delightful dessert of the day...

It was a mix of 2 slices of cake/ pie with a small serving of raspberry custard on the side - overall, simple and refreshing! :)

Despite being quite stuffed and a bit tipsy by then, I did not want to back down from having the full, proper French meal so I ended with a Douce (Euro 9++) digestif:
Alcohol, food, alcohol, food, alcohol - layers of sin in my tummy...

Yummy. :D
It was (again) really strong, but I loved the really intense flavours of fruit - peaches and pears, I think. It was also super sweet though, so I could only attempt small sips at a time.

Later, I stumbled out of the restaurant, (...trying to look graceful while I'm at it) and ambled along the river bank, enjoying the sunshine and trying in vain to "walk off" the calories. :)
(Sure, the meal wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed it anyway.... I just wish I had the time & money to go back for a second round)

So, it's: Adorable hole in the wall restaurant, good range of traditional French cuisine, restaurant staff speak English! :) BUT it can be a little too cosy, especially during peak hours (tables are packed very, very closely)....

Summary Information:
Auberge de la Reine Blanche @ rue Saint-Louis en L'ile, Paris

Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week (12noon - 3pm, 6pm - late).
Phone: +33 146330787
Address: 19, rue Saint-Louis en L'ile, Paris 75004, France


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qwazymonkey said...

how on earth did you can still eat dessert after all that food is beyond me. But then again, ur gonna be eating there only once (least in a long while). OK lah, I would have done the same too.

CUMI & CIKI said...

so basically what you are sayin is that you were pissed at noon la. no wonder u had such fun :P teehee!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

sounds like the italian meal too..all the grappa, this n tat..n err..prosecco too haha..

J said...

to qwazymonkey:
Ya loh. Pot calling kettle black! Haha...

Of course I wasn't drunk at noon! That's preposterous... :P
(No, no... It was most definately around 2pm when I got tipsy/ smashed. Big difference, horr? Haha... )

to "Joe" who is constantly craving:
Just the word "prosecco" makes me feel woozy now... :(
(Lol - too much of a good thing!)

Tarts and Pies said...

I was not told about this drink 'Pastis' when I was in Paris. If only I knew about it, I'd have tried it too...

nyonyachef said...

You really can drink ! 3 dishes 3 drinks,...not bad at all...

J said...

to Tarts & Pies:
Well, then you have something to put on the list for your next visit! :)
(I suspect it's one of those either you love it or hate it kinda drinks though... because the taste of the star anise is really very strong)

to nyonya chef:
Haiyah, don't make me sound like an alcoholic please - I was slowly sipping on the drinks, not downing them like shots! :P
(Haha... but yeah, I think it's quite a lot too - much more than my usual)

backStreetGluttons said...

french food in france ? omg
that is surely da ultimate of the highs aka

exotik asian in sentimental europe


J said...

to backStreetGluttons:
Haha.. Well, I wasn't going to eat Chinese food in France! :P
(*sigh* I just wish I could go back to visit France again soon....)

550ml jar of faith @minchow said...

Afternoon drinking by the Seine.. how ever are you going to top that?! This is surely going to be ultimate benchmark for the real hedonistic getaway!

thule a.k.a leo said...

alcohol, food, alcohol, food, alcohol...
a bit tipsy while walking on the streets in Paris was OK right?? At least the weather was nice, unlike our hot & humid Malaysia..
how I wish that I was in your shoe

J said...

to 550ml jar of faith @minchow:
I can think of ways to top it but can't afford it either. Haha...

to thule a.k.a leo:
It was just nice... my tummy warm but the weather was cool so perfect combination! :)
The only problem I guess was that the pavement below my feet seem to be floating a few inches away. Haha....

Anonymous said...

oh pastis .. issit nice? didn't get 2 taste in Provence, but rose was great in provence

J said...

to anonymous:
Well, France is famous for its wines, after all! :)

As for the Pastis. It was ok - Very strong, and different... but nice? Well, it depends on whether you like the taste of star anise and licorice. :)

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