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Restaurants & Bars 12

L'Ami Louis

jeremyholmes | May 4, 2014 08:25 PM

We have drunk that much this week in Paris I think I need to check into A.A when we get home. Today’s lunch at L’Ami Louis was another multi-bottle affair coupled with generous servings of flavoursome produce cooked properly.

We’ve heard a lot over the years about L’Ami Louis, some good, some bad, and I have kind of vacillated between wanting to go there and not. Well, I will certainly be back but I kind of reckon I know how to use the restaurant now.

One of the criticisms of this restaurant is the price and bloggers the world over love to vent their spleen and other parts of their collective offal’s as to how expensive the place is. Entree’s can be and are shared and they are huge serves hence you really only need one entree between two or even three. Colin had the pate de foie which may have been enough to feed all six of us once you slathered this rich and creamy delight over the mountain of toasted baguettes provided. Heidi’s duck confit dish could have fed a small village such were the hugeness of chunks of duck. The flavour was concentrated and meat came with cubes of jelly that were savoury and delicious. Cousin Lucy and I had a dozen escargot each, yet half as many would have satisfied the table’s requirements. These snails were on ‘roids, if they habituated your garden they could inhale whole lettuces in one fell swoop. They came to the table in a bubbling lava of butter studded with garlic and parsley and were excellent, scoring 7 out of 10 on Lily’s ‘snail scale’ (she has only ever had snails one other time and I think they got a 6).

Our first wine was the 2011 Ramonet Chassagne-Montrachet ‘Les Ruchottes’ 1er Cru. It was incredibly minerally with great detail and intense pure white peach fruit notes. It had good volume and a dollop of spearmint cream rounding off the finish. We quickly got a red alongside the white to amp up with Heidi’s duck in the form of Domaine d'Eugénie’s 2011 Vosne-Romnaee. It had plenty of spice with a real grated ginger, peppery lift. Fruit was of the red persuasion and there was a slight bitterness on the finish that actually gave the wine freshness.

For main course Colin and Cousin Lucy split beef entrecote that could have fed a large city. The meat was cooked perfectly and had bold flavour with a juicy succulence. Heidi and I shared the famous roast chook. It was right up there with Allard’s version a few years ago as the best I have had in Paris. You get the whole bird that has been roasted with a shite load of butter. The breast is served first and is moist and tender. Legs and thighs come next and are outrageously flavoursome. Accompanying fries are cooked in clean oil, are thin and slightly curly and have real potato flavour. They are barely seasoned yet satisfy thoroughly and would be one of life’s great hangover cures I suspect. The other potato dish that excited is a galette plonked down on the table for all to share. Slices of high quality potato are constructed with the aid of duck fat . There is raw garlic and parsley on the top and the whole thing is a meal in itself.

Rather than dessert or cheese Colin and I again opted for the healthy option and ordered a 2010 Thierry Violot-Guillemard Pommard ‘Rugiens’ 1er Cru. Perfectly ripe fruits greet the nose and there is something there that smells of prunes. It is rich and sappy in the mouth, playing in that perfect space between sweet and sour. There’s so much flesh here now hiding substantial tannins and it both drinks well now yet offers plenty to those who will tuck it away for a decade or two.

I read a piece where some disgruntled punter complained about the price of the fruit dessert here. All I have to say to him is ‘take your own table and chairs in to your local greengrocer, get him/her to wait on you, sit there for three hours and see if the price of the summer berries are not then charged at 3 or 4 times retail. Lily and Patrick’s fraises des Bois were indeed expensive yet splendid and served with quality ice cream. The adults decided to skip coffee here and head down the road to Fondation for a proper latte. I called the waiter over, ordered the ‘A.A Gill’ and was duly thrown out of the restaurant.

L’Ami Louis is a good restaurant. Ingredients are high quality and cooking is assured and highlight the flavour of the core ingredient. The service is warm and friendly and stemware is shit. We will happily return.


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