Avez-vous un roast dinner en Paris? Oui, bonjour – avec le restaurant L’entente – Le British Brasserie.
Gosh are you impressed that I remembered my French from paper ball throwing practice lessons when I was 15? At least 3 French teachers were signed off with stress when I was at school. Oops la la.
When my regular accomplice asked if anyone wanted to go to Paris with her – I remembered that I had enough Nectar points for the Eurostar to Paris, so I thought why the hell not – I’d only been saving them for 22 years.
Except that I then logged on to discover that I had minus 38,000 points and somehow owed Nectar £200. Je suis lol. And then we booked a hotel in La Defense, which is perhaps actually in Nanterre, where the French traffic police accidentally shot someone of Arabic descent AGAIN, and…riots. Je suis yikes. And don’t even get me started on the Metropolitan line…cancelling the tube train after two stops when I had an 8am Eurostar.
I guess the rewards in life don’t feel so good when things are easy, as this year has proven more for my accomplice than myself, but also myself somewhat.
You’ll have guessed by now that I found a roast dinner in Paris, but it wasn’t especially easy either. Well, there was one place that I found – L’entente, which apparently means “the agreement”. In homage to Brexit? Or in homage to giving the French billions to, lol, stop the boats? Something our government seems excellent at doing – though only when they are leaving Dover.
If there is anywhere else in Paris selling roast dinners then I cannot find it – perhaps there is a dodgy Irish/British pub somewhere with no internet presence (though a lack of internet presence doesn’t necessarily mean you are dodgy in Paris – maybe you just don’t want tourist customers).
Apparently you could once get a roast dinner in Cafe De Paris, in London, but it has closed down. No idea why…
One thing I noticed about Paris is a confidence in their own cuisine – there are sooooo many French restaurants, almost all of them serving steak, almost all of them serving beef tartare, almost all of them serving some other beef dishes too. And they call us les rosbifs?
On the flip side, there is seemingly less variety in restaurants in Paris – Italian restaurants are also fairly easy to come across, but if you wanted Indian, Chinese or, in my case, British food – then you have to look a bit more than you do in London for something more adventurous than home cuisine.
Perhaps you might point out London’s plethora of shit pubs, especially in central London, dishing out mass-manufactured shit food (why do Greene King have a near-monopoly on pubs in certain central areas) as a reason why – and yes, part of my mission of Roast Dinners in London is to try to push up the standards of British food. We do not need to accept mediocrity in London. We have great British restaurants/pubs doing fantastic food, even on a Sunday.
This is why I occasionally review places that I know are going to be merde, to point out, especially in tourist areas, that this isn’t acceptable.
And now my mission, through Roast Dinners Around The World, is to spread the good word of roast dinners, the glorious world of British Sunday roasts – to, borrow a phrase – so that we can truly go global. Can I get government subsidies for this kind of thing? Oh I’m too late to befriend Matt Hancock, am I? Maybe I could angle it from the French side…Nicolas Sarkozy still around?
I would show you a photograph of L’entente but I forgot, so here’s a photograph of some popular painting:
I wonder if she moaned about roast dinners a lot?
Inside L’entente is kind of modern grand-looking, with dark blue panelled walls, and a kind of duck blue to the leather seating which goes around the edges, and proper chairs at the other side.
We sat outside – it was mid-July though thankfully the typical British summer was having so much impact that even Paris was only very warm. There was even a shower that day!
Service was warm and friendly all evening (so much for rude Parisian service…I don’t even remember one person being rude to me all trip). I was quite tickled as my friend who lived in Paris spoke fluent French, only for a Yorkshire accent to return.
Interestingly you can only order roasts after 5pm at L’entente – whereas in Britain it is more of a lunch thing, at least if you want roast potatoes that are only mildly soggy.
The menu had two options – roast beef or roast chicken, priced at €35 and €32 respectively. By some way the most expensive meal we had in Paris – most meals were in the €15 – €20 range, which compared to London in 2023 is a bargain.
There was only one option for me, the visiting rosbif – despite the fact that two days in Paris had taught me that clearly the French just want to be more like the British, and hence eat beef way more than we do.
L’oops inside the jus
It looks pretty, doesn’t it? Shock horror, something looking pretty – we even saw a fairly old man in a dress that looked pretty – Paris kind of does that. I wish I could say that it tasted as good as it looks. Paris can also do that.
Shall we start with the jus?
Of course it was jus. Je suis en Paris. Je regrette le jus. Je ne aime le jus. I didn’t like the jus – it was far too sweet, also in a maple ish kind of way. I couldn’t quite work it out, but it wasn’t British, it wasn’t gravy and given that there was plenty of jus on the plate it overshadowed everything. Je suis desole.
So in themselves, the carrots were quite good, roasted with a bit of a crunch, but not too much. Alas – jus.
The best part of the roast was arguably the spinach, which was gloriously silky and arguably less affected by the jus.
They don’t seem to have a legal limit on roast potato volumes in Paris, unlike London with our maximum of 3. Nor do they have a legal limit on chocolate mousse amounts, but more on that after I finish with L’entente.
There may have been 4 but these roast potatoes weren’t crispy on the outside, and kind of had a deep fried feel to them – both in the smooth chip-like insides and a slightly oily outside. I’ve had much worse in London though.
The yorkie had structural issues, in that it was more fluffy pie than an actual yorkie, but otherwise was semi-commendable, in a fluffy cake style – if only there was proper gravy.
And finally, the beef. It wasn’t the easiest cut of beef ever to handle – it really needed to have been thinly sliced considering the coarseness and how chewy it was. For €35, I’d really expect a better cut of beef than this.
L’internet is here for you
Well, this was a real shame.
I had a really good time here – they had a decent IPA, we enjoyed some nice red wine (don’t ask me what either was), the lady serving us was friendly and engaging – and I really want Sunday roasts to take over the world.
This isn’t going to take over Paris though.
That my highest compliment was for the spinach tells a story, though with tough and chewy beef, and sweetly yucky jus – along with being priced at twice any other meal we ate in Paris, is just upsetting for the project of spreading British food across the world.
There is one bright note – my accomplice who ordered the chicken, really enjoyed the plumpness of her chicken and scored it a 7.00 out of 10. Though, living in Paris, perhaps she is just impressed that I’ve re-introduced her to Sunday roasts.
My regular accomplice from Roast Dinners In London scored hers a 6.20.
I’m going to score it a 5.80 out of 10 – which makes it the worst roast dinner I’ve reviewed in the rest of the world. Granted, only out of 3, so far.
Putain. I’m so sad that this wasn’t a winner.
I’d love to say that I’ve got a list of great recommendations for Paris restaurants that you absolutely must visit, following my trip, but I don’t.
Though pretty much you can pick any restaurant from Google Maps and get a good, maybe very good meal – there is a dependable quality to restaurants in Paris, even if being wowed mostly escaped me.
The prettiest meal I had was a tuna tataki benedict, with wasabi hollandaise from a cafe called Benedict – but I didn’t enjoy eating it and had around 8 visits to the toilet that night. Hmmm. At least everything was properly cooked at L’entente.
The only place I’d say was a must-visit in terms of food was a little café called Café Bogato, a few minutes walk away from the enchanting Centre Pompidou – if enchanting if you like modern art, and I pompously-do.
I nearly didn’t get anything – but wow, the delectably soft inner sponge, combined with the crusty-ish outside, and the overwhelming yet somehow subtle flavour of cheese, was just a delight. They had ham and cheese versions too, and I’m kicking myself at both not going back the next morning, and also not bringing back 200 of them to London.
L’engaging blog post continues
You know, maybe I do have a restaurant to recommend to you.
There are few greater anti-climaxes in life, than having a disappointing final meal of your holiday – and after some debate, we settled on a visit to Canard & Champagne, which if you remember your Francais from school better than I do, you’ll understand serves nothing but duck dishes. Vegetarian? Lol. Vegan? A ha ha ha good luck in Paris.
Parisian restaurants do seem to have a confidence in not bothering to serve vegetarian meals if they don’t want to, though they did offer fries and mixed vegetables at Canard & Champagne, and whilst I’d argue for inclusivity, one admires their culinary arrogance.
Anyway, my accomplice had the tastiest duck breast that I’d tried in my life – I would have been jealous but the duck pie-ish dish was pretty supreme also. Some rather melt in your mouth confit, topped with soft, creamy mash.
And the chocolate mousse, which was allegedly infinite though I was too British to test this, was just divine. I guess infinite mousse is a thing in Paris, as I saw a few restaurants offering it.
Canard & Champagne is in a little arcade with lots of cute looking restaurants, some total hotties in the restaurant opposite and occasional dogs in dresses. Even if you are not duck-minded, there would be something for you in the arcade, and it is a great spot for people watching.
Other than that there isn’t much to write home about – I had a pretty average steak, which I guess puts paid to my theory that Brexit has made steak less joyous in Britain. Maybe it was the vaccine.
I had some very garlicky snails, a perfectly pleasant hake dish, a lamb kebab on a platter, a very nice bit of seabass though nothing I cannot do with my eyes closed – yet none of it is worth bothering with the effort to upload a photograph.
Well, maybe the snails:
Le Final Thoughts
This is the third time that I’ve been to Paris and I think the time where I got to know it best.
I most loved chilling on the Seine with a beer, and people watching – which to me, pretty much means drooling at hotties, and Paris definitely provides that opportunity. That is what people really mean by people watching, right? Oh and being amused by the weirdos, of course.
I did also have a gorgeous craft beer in Bon Esprit – worth venturing to if you are a beer fan, and walkable to Canard & Champagne.
So – chill on the Seine with some beers, go to Centre Pompidou for your culture, have a goujere at Cafe Bogato, have some gorgeous craft beer at Bon Esprit, duck at Canard & Champagne and chocolate mousses there…or elsewhere.
That’s what I’d recommend.
Alas – not L’entente.
Au revoir from Lord Gravy…until…2024?