A couple of weeks ago we surprised my Dad, who was turning 70, and took him away to Paris, beginning our weekend of far too much food and even more amounts of ridiculously good wine at the Champagne Bar at St Pancras Grand. Two bottles of extremely good Pouilly-Fuissé, Clos Reissier, Perraton Frères 2011 later we were off, laden down with a fantastic picnic I’d pre-ordered from Peyton & Byrne in the station. More on the wine in another post…
Our first dinner in Paris was to revisit a restaurant that my grandfather had taken Mum and Dad to back in the 80’s or 90’s I can’t remember… The point is, it’s old, and boy does it show in places. La Fermette Marbeuf is pretty unassuming from the street, and it looked empty as well, it’s not until you are taken into the back Art Deco conservatory do you see the fantastic space they’ve had hidden for years.
Our hugely over enthusiastic head waitress greeted us and provided our aperitifs swiftly and then completely forgot about us. As by this time my parents were mildly concerned about my health as I hadn’t requested a glass of Champagne having spent a whole 3 hours in France, I obediently ordered a glass of Pommery and Dad accompanied me in doing this.
The menu; how do I describe this… It’s dated, to say the least. I chose my starter very well having figured that as they were pushing lobster a lot on the menu, the bisque would probably be good and fresh – it was. And they gave me a top up halfway through, which was useful to warm up the tepid portion they’d poured first. Mum, Dad and my brother went for starters from the ‘Nos Feuilletés’ section. Mum and Will had the special which was Serano ham and a poached egg on puff pastry – cold – apparently, well except the egg. Dad had the snail one and after serving the wrong one, his arrived straight out of the fires of mount Etna – the plate and food were so hot that you could feel the warmth even holding your hand a foot above the plate.
Main courses, 3 of us had the veal escalope and Will had steak tartare. The veal was fine ish, although the breadcrumbs were soggy and I have no idea what the sauce they served it with was. And, again, it was lukewarm. Will’s steak tartare was fine as well, a restaurant trading on such old school values and styles (that has its own champagne trolley) you would probably expect to do a proper steak tartare at the table – but that’s me being really picky.
We had a couple of boules of soufflé with a sparkler in and pottered off into the night and the delights of the Champs-Élysées on an August night. This was such a special occasion and I think Mum and Dad are glad they have been back, but I’m fairly certain none of us will bother going back again. There were very few French people in there (it’s unfair to judge that during August though). I would worry that one day the novelty of that back room will rub off and the quality of their menu will not be able to stand up to the critique of the modern day diner. But hey, that’s just my opinion. Dinner the next night was fantastic though….
Apologies – these pictures aren’t mine… I didn’t take any.