What to do on a Sunday morning in Paris, when shops are closed, and the city is slow to get moving?
Experience brunch, Paris-style.
For residents of the 10th, nothing holds the work world at bay like the relaxed atmosphere and leisurely progression of gourmet dishes at Les Enfants Perdus.
Begin with fresh-squeezed juices, some of the best coffee in town, a tiny brioche or pain raisin. Then hunker down with raviolis, eggs, salad, ham or salmon, and another round of sweets.
Servings are copious, and the people-watching is divine. The menu ends with an artisanal faisselle, a silky smooth cheese sweetened with honey.
Flora Mikula has been part of the Paris dining scene since the 90s, and I was sorry when her restaurant in the 8th closed. But her newest restaurant, on the ground floor of her new hotel near the Bastille, has diners talking.
Flora herself does the cooking. One of a handful of reputed women chefs in Paris, she has expanded upon her love of provençal cuisine. Where Flora’s last resto was elegant, formal and expensive, her new venue is casual, eclectic and an excellent value.
Food is served all day, every day. While breakfast is most popular with hotel guests, her generous brunch is a favorite with residents of the neighborhood.
A wide assortment of small plates is served cold and warm from lunch on. Servings are copious, and the selection runs from tapinades to duck samosas to foie gras with mango chutney, with prices from 6-18€. There are vegetarian options and market-fresh daily specials, as well.
In the evening, the 45€ tasting menu aleviates the need to choose. The meal unfolds via multi-tiered plates with a multitude of delicious tapas, followed by the meat or fish du jour, and wonderful assortment of desserts. Moderately priced wine and delicious bread, things I have learned not to take for granted, round out the experience.
From the outside, Le Tabarin seems unremarkable, one more awning-fronted café near the Bastille. But look in the window, and you’ll see soft light coming from table lamps, red banquettes lined with mirrors, and jazz posters plastering the ceiling.
A slate easel near a window lists daily specials, and a smaller ardoise catalogues the wines. Gathered at square tables on weekdays are young people who work in the neighborhood; Sunday brunch attracts shoppers from the Marché Richard Lenoire.
Salads are a good bet here. Salades composées – main course salads – are rich in charcuterie, fruit, cheese. My favorite, though, was a starter: émincé de boeuf cru avec gingembre et citron vert. The beef was in fact not raw, but seared and sliced super thin, atop endives. Light and refreshing, it made me eager for the next course.
Confit de canard was just as I was hoping for: a dark, rich thigh that came with crisp fries and a pile of greens. I don’t remember the name of the wine, except that it had a nice smoky flavor that complemented the duck beautifully. (As usual, I asked the staff to choose.)
The crême brulée was crisp on top, creamy and warm inside, and a delightful way to end the meal – which cost less than 20 euros!