Paris Restaurant Picks: Bones, Walaku, Jeanne B., Septime @ Wanderlust

Dispatches from my favorite Paris restaurants for April.

BONES

My top pick this month! Bones is a bare-bones (ha!) bistro that operates half as a wine bar, with many natural wine choices by the glass and lots of sharable nibbles, and half as a gastronomic restaurant, showcasing Aussie chef James Henry’s inspired cuisine.

The single tasting menu is composed of four courses for 40€ (add 8€ for the cheese course) with a bonus four amuse-bouche, making this an incredibly good deal.

I especially like that the butter, bread, and charcuterie are all homemade (and very good), which shows a rare commitment, and I fell in love with the Dutch ceramics that they use.

The service is bearded, sweet and attentive, the atmosphere vibrates with voices and music in an exhilarating way, and we had an excellent, excellent time.

Smoked mackerel

Smoked mackerel

Grilled shrimp

Grilled shrimp

Housemade black pig saucisson and cured duck magret

Housemade black pig saucisson and cured duck magret

Black pig bouillon with foie gras

Black pig bouillon with foie gras

Housemade butter

Housemade butter

Housemade bread

Housemade bread

Eel / Trout / Beet / Horseradish @ Bones

Eel / Trout / Beet / Horseradish @ Bones

Salt cod / Asparagus / Egg

Salt cod / Asparagus / Egg

Pigeon / Salsify / Cherry from La Guinelle

Pigeon / Salsify / Cherry from La Guinelle

Gariguette strawberries / Goat's milk yogurt

Gariguette strawberries / Goat’s milk yogurt

Bones, 43 rue Godefroy Cavaignac, 75011 Paris, M° Voltaire, 09 80 75 32 08.

WALAKU

Japanese pastry chef Takanori Murata officiates at this minuscule tea salon, which Eri Ikezi tipped me off on almost two years ago — I have no idea what took me so long to try it, but I’m glad I did.

It is a lovely place a short walk from Le Bon Marché, bright and serene, with slatted panels of pale wood and blossoming branches in tall vases. The dining room is about as big as my kitchen, and it seats exactly eight (four at the bar and four at two small tables) for tea and wagashi (traditional Japanese pastries) in the afternoon, or a fixed bento meal at lunchtime (32€ with a first course, dessert, and a cup of hojicha; reserve the day before at the latest).

The bento box is simple, but each of the ingredients featured (including lobster from Brittany) is well prepared and flavorsome. Dessert was a fluffy dora-yaki (a sort of pancake sandwich filled with red bean paste and, here, fresh strawberries) with ground soybean powder sprinkled on an orange segment on the side of the plate.

Chawanmushi (savory egg custard)

Chawanmushi (savory egg custard)

Rice, bento box, miso soup

Rice, bento box, miso soup

Strawberry dora-yaki

Strawberry dora-yaki

I left with a couple of wagashi (5.50-7€) to take home and share with Maxence; one of them was an exquisite sakura mochi with a slightly savory marinated sakura leaf on top, which I failed to photograph, so eager was I to dig in. I will note that they sell warabi mochi made with real warabiko, so this is your chance to try it!

You can also read my friend Caroline’s report of our lunch (in French).

Walaku, 33 rue Rousselet, 75007 Paris, M° Vaneau, o1 56 24 11 02.

JEANNE B.

A couple of years ago, the good people who run Astier in the 11th created a sort of deli next door to the restaurant called Jeanne A.. It was so successful that they decided to open a second, similar operation called Jeanne B. (get it?) in my neck of the woods, on rue Lepic.

They specialize in rôtisserie meats and well-prepared seasonal vegetables, and have a deli counter full of terrines and vegetable tourtes that you can also take away. On one of my visits I started my meal with a whole globe artichoke, which they whisk away when you’re done with the leaves so they can bring you the artichoke heart, all trimmed and seasoned with a tiny side salad. I am also smitten with their vegetable carpaccio (pictured below), which features raw cauliflower and walnuts, and which I plan to try and reproduce at home. (Two-course lunch: 19€!)

It’s a beautifully designed space, and we like it so much we’ve eaten there on three successive weekends, including one brightly sunny lunch on the sidewalk terrace.

Carpaccio of organic vegetables

Carpaccio of organic vegetables

Roast chicken "Pattes noires" from Challans with a potato gratin

Roast chicken “Pattes noires” from Challans with a potato gratin

Jeanne B., 61 rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, M° Abbesses, 01 42 51 17 53.

SEPTIME @ WANDERLUST

Disclosure: I was invited to taste Bertrand Grébaut’s cuisine at Wanderlust by the restaurant’s PR agency.

Wanderlust is a hip cultural center slash restaurant slash club that opened last year right by the Seine, inside the Cité de la Mode et du Design (you know, that big modern building near Gare d’Austerlitz with a green caterpillar-like structure on it?). On the night we were there it was quite chilly, so the outdoor terrace was mostly deserted, but that didn’t stop us from playing a bit of ping-pong.

Wanderlust

Bertrand Grébaut, of Septime fame (who has just entered the 50 best list!), is the guest chef of the restaurant for the spring season. He has created a short menu (4 appetizers, 4 main courses, 3 desserts) that closely resembles what is served at Septime, though the portions are more generous than what I experienced at Septime, since the dishes there were part of a five-course tasting menu.

At 40€ for three courses, the price is in line with current Paris standards for food of that quality, and I was quite taken with my asparagus starter — grilled white asparagus sheathed in a thin slice of lardo di Colonnata and served with ramsons (wild garlic, ail des ours in French) in raw and purée form.

On balmy evenings, the Wanderlust gets very busy and it can be hard to get in, so if you chose to have dinner there, you can simply stick around and enjoy the rest of the night stress-free.

Beef / Watercress / Anchovy

Beef / Watercress / Anchovy

Asparagus / Colonnata lardo / Ramsons

Asparagus / Colonnata lardo / Ramsons

Pistachio / Citrus

Pistachio / Citrus

Wanderlust

Wanderlust, 32 quai d’Austerlitz, 75013 Paris, M° Quai de la Gare, 01 70 74 41 74.

  • Liz Thomas

    Please do not do this to me at 9pm awaiting plumber who promised to come at 8.30 and fix ever flushing toilet! I’m starving and I know if I start to cook he will arrive pronto!

    All sounds just wonderful! I’m salivating!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      So sorry, Liz! And my sincere sympathies for the plumbing woes. :/

  • http://www.joeinvegas.blogspot.com/ joeinvegas

    Quite an assortment

  • http://www.foodnessgracious.com Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    All of these dishes look and sound amazing!! I could never choose so I’d pick em’ all. :)

  • http://livingonbreadalone.wordpress.com Tom Gilligan

    Do they bring you the same artichoke or the one you have been carefully stripping of its leaves?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Same artichoke! They keep an eye on your progress, and once you’ve stripped it of its leaves and reached the hay-like fibers that cover the heart, they offer to prep it for you. A few minutes later, they bring it back nicely trimmed and seasoned. First time I’ve ever seen that done!

  • http://box-elder.blogspot.fr/ Lucy

    Ah, the endless ‘what to do with the choke?’ debate! French friends all opined that I was crazy to try to get rid of the choke prior to cooking, so for a time I left it in, but while it did perhaps make for a better flavour, as well as ease of prepping with no blackening, it did mean that Coluche’s observation about the interesting nature of the artichoke, which produces more on the plate after eating than there was before, was even more the case, and those little fibres do get EVERYWHERE. Also, it increases the cooking time.

    Now I must say I often cut the artichoke in two and scrape it out that way, with a cut lemon to hand, which makes for easier choke removal and quicker cooking, though perhaps some flavour loss.

    Now if only I had an attentive serveur on hand to whisk it away and re-dress it…!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Do you do this (the splitting and scraping) for the small, Italian-style artichokes, or for the large French-style globe artichokes as well?

      And I agree, I sometimes wish I could get that kind of service at home. :)

      • http://box-elder.blogspot.fr/ Lucy

        I’ve never really tried the little artichokes, so I don’t know what I’d do! My neighbour used to give me his tail end little globe ones, and you can buy these very cheaply on our local markets in Brittany in the season, and I usually still split and scraped them, I think…

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Thanks Lucy, I’ll have to try that sometime!

  • http://trymaquiberry.com/ Samantha

    Next time I visit Paris, Bones will be on my to-do list, the pics were fantastic.

  • http://hotblenders.com Katie Star

    All this food looks amazing. I especially like the look of the carpaccio of organic vegatables – lovely presentation.

  • http://www.goutaste.com Emily Grossman

    Miam-miam! Looks great!

    We have a “Bones” in Denver, too, that specializes in ramens and other japanese noodles as well.

    Wish I could be in Paris to try this Bones, though!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Fun! That Denver Bones sounds right up my alley, hope I get to try it someday too!

  • http://www.smokeiteatit.com Theodore

    WOW… I could really go for the smoked mackerel now. Smoked mackerel and a cold beer mmmm. Thanks for the great post.

  • Michael

    Any suggestions for getting a reservation at Septime?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I assume you’ve tried their online reservation system? Short of that, I think your best bet is to drop by in person, and ask about cancellations.

  • Jo

    I’ve been a big fan of your blogs for the last few years, your sour dough recipes enabled my husband to eat bread after we discovered an allergy to supermarket yeast! Thank you! We’re travelling around France in a camper van for the last 2 weeks of June. I’m currently scouring your blog for genuine French recipes that I can cook whilst on the road! Before we do that, we’re spending a day in Paris, which also happens to be my husband’s birthday. Can you recommend an inexpensive (the budget’s tight!) restaurant that will cope with a noisy 9 month old?! Jo

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I like Brasserie Wepler, they have good-value menus, and I’ve always felt welcome there with my own kid. Happy travels!

  • Susan

    Bones was wonderful, quite the dining experience. Went to Jeanne B today. Absolutely great! Thank you for the recommendations!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s wonderful to hear, Susan, thank you!

  • http://onlykitchenknives.com/ Wanda Smith

    Great recommendation Clotilde, one time I was in Paris, I will be taking the time to stop by the Bones and Walaku

  • http://www.MistralMusic.org Julie Scolnik

    HI Clotilde! Amoureuse de toi et ton style-
    Sorry, I know this is not something you will see or respond to, but au car ou…
    Your favorite fun resto near St Germaine-! I need to take an 80 yr old french who thinks he knows good fench cooking but is stuck in the old school of cooking, but I want it to be hip and wonderful for me (pescatarian) and hubby who love festive ambiances, and care less about the food! And we only have 2 days this time in Paris… needs to be within walking distance of Cafe Flore… thank you!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I would go to Semilla at 54 rue de Seine. Have a splendid time in Paris!

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