I find it quite ironic that despite living in ‘the city of love’ and ‘the heart of French gastronomy,’ finding the perfect date restaurant in Paris can be rather tricky. Perhaps we’re too spoilt for choice, but it’s not always easy to find somewhere that strikes the right balance between romantic and cliché, classy yet unpretentious, impressive and budget-friendly. At long last, I think I might just have found one.
Le Mouton Noir is intimate in every sense of the word – from its snug living-room-sized mezzanine to the affable owners and staff. With a choice of 3 different starters, mains and desserts, the menu is as uncomplicated and enticing as the flavours in each dish. The chef and co-owner uses regional produce for the most interesting and appetizing creations, like filet of duck with Coca-Cola and vadouvan-spiced sauce.*
It was the perfect place to take my mama and sister when they made an impromptu weekend-escape from a riotous London. As you’d expect of a Saturday evening, the place was abuzz with tables of happy families, friends and amorous first-daters. With a glass of sparkling rosé, we tucked into an entrée of creamy smoked haddock and celeriac brandade with apricot sauce.
Of the mains, we tasted prawns coated in honey and fleur d’orange, mi-cuit tuna steak with a tangy tomato and ginger salsa and the Coca-Cola duck which was surprisingly delicate – the meat perfectly cooked and the sauce not too overpowering. All the mains were served with a potato purée (mash) that was heavenly – hints of garlic and perhaps even mustard but I’d love to know the secret ingredient!
While my ma’s pineapple carpaccio and fruit rouge gaspacho was just the refreshing treat she was after, a devilish dark chocolate praline more than satisfied my dessert demon. This last dish was served was a halved passion fruit doused in rose water. It tasted as good as it sounds, and then some!
Le Mouton Noir – 65 rue de Charonne 75011 Paris * Métro – Charonne
starter + main + pudding all for €29
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Indecision by Sampha – i love this guy!
*vadouvan = French spice derivative of masala in Indian curry