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Paris report: Vivant, L'Office


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Paris report: Vivant, L'Office

Kelly | Oct 4, 2012 02:59 PM

Someday I’ll report on a Paris restaurant that’s never gotten a mention on Chowhound (Buffalo Grill, anyone?). But for today, I’m still firmly on the me-too bandwagon.

Lunch at Vivant
Was really looking forward to this meal. Maybe a bit too much…loved the feel of the room (who doesn’t?) and settled in to perusing the carte. I was with a pescatarian, so the starters of foie, escargots and…octopus and chorizo, maybe?...weren’t of much interest to her. Maybe I’d had too much foie over the weekend, but they weren’t to me either. So on to the mains. She opted for the daurade with mushroom “ravioles” and I for the roast duck breast with beetroot and turnips. Amuse-bouche of a really nice “velouté de céréales” (Millet? Barley? Spelt?), mozzarella di bufala and capers. Colleague was very happy with dorade, but as I’d met her for the first time a scant 15 minutes before lunch I felt uncomfortable asking her for a taste to verify. :o) The duck was…probably the best four bites of duck I have ever had. I wish there’d been more. Vastly disappointed in beetroot and turnips, which were slightly undercooked and unpleasantly bitter. Desserts: miniscule miroir de chocolat for colleague. She was happy. Miniscule tarte de pignons de pin for me. I was happy. Pastry crust was truly excellent. With no water, one glass of quite nice Syrah from the Ardèche and one coffee: 75 euros. I’ve never, ever complained about portion sizes at any restaurant…but I did feel a tiny bit cheated with this one. Glad I went, but would have a hard time paying that price again.

Dinner at L’Office
Booked at ungodly hour of 7.30 in light of my train back to Brussels. In retrospect, a good thing, as I was starving after Vivant. Cordial welcome by owner Charles Campagnon; I sat at the bar and chatted with him through most of the meal. Definitely a neighbourhood feel to it; one party stepped outside mid-meal for a cigarette break and Campagnon strolled over to the door and handed their bottle of wine out to them. :o) Starter: cauliflower velouté (cream: cauliflower ratio of 1:1, I believe) with seared scallop and pancetta crisp. Certainly not breaking into new flavour-combination territory, but everything well executed and absolutely succulent. Paired beautifully with a slightly oxidised 2009 Rijckaert “vieilles vignes” vin de Jura. Main: quasi de veau (no idea what the English term for this cut is) with raw/cooked beetroot, a citrus jus and little bâtonnets-beignets of sushi rice and Emmenthal. A nice plate of food (with about 3x the protein of lunch); veal well cooked, beets showing the deep sweetness that those at lunch lacked. Sole misstep – those weird bâtonnets, which needed to be a lot crispier. Drank a VDP Languedoc whose name is escaping me but which as a Cinsault was lighter and livelier than your average Languedoc. Ended with a nicely curated cheese plate – marc de Bourgogne, 18-month-aged Comté and bleu des Causses – and another glass of that fantastic Jura, which was magnificent with the Comté and better than it had any right to be with the others. With great bread, no water and a comped Calva: 54 euros. Loved it.

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