We last left you in Paris two issues ago after having finished our starters in Part V.
So here, feeling quite full after the Smoked Salmon Chiffonade I had, I was quite afraid of what my main course – something that I have come to affectionately name “Duck Margaret” – a Magret de Canard aux Framboises (see pictured). This is basically a series of duck steak cutlets, done Medium Rare as per my instructions, sitting in a raspberry-infused gravy. There is an option of a honey-flavoured gravy instead.
First of all, I’ll say that this restaurant has a habit of shoving salad down your throat – honestly it comes with everything – a lettuce leaf on every plate! Second, the “French Fries” are as French as my left foot – not at all. If I didn’t know better I would accuse them of buying them from the takeaway across the road. But to get to the positives quite quickly, the meat was done to perfection. And it is truly remarkable how a raspberry sauce can compliment duck so well. You say duck, I normally think either oranges or plums; never raspberries! A sweet-to-tart fruit that I would only ever consider using in a dessert. It was honestly gorgeous.
But now we move over to my dinner companions’ dish – all of them had the same thing – known as a Faux-Filet (see pictured), or a False Fillet. Hmmm, it seemed pretty genuine to me by the look of it. I was having my fill of steaks on this trip in the first place, but there was no way I was going to pass off a chance to have duck. Having suffered at the hands of his duck liver pâté – not surprising as he drowned the thing in pepper – Dean reluctantly tried my duck steak and did actually enjoy it to my surprise. He maintains, however, that his Faux-Filet was better. Something with which I will happily disagree. Once you’ve had one filet steak, you’ve really had them all.
Dessert was a little bit more varied. Dean and I both had the same thing this time, Megan and Josh had the same thing and Tom had his own dish. We’ll start off with the Crumble des Pommes (see pictured) (Apple Crumble to English people). A wholly unimaginitive form of culinary presentation as you’ll see from the picture. A slice of apple crumble just dropped into the centre of the plate. No accompanying sauces or anything! The crumble topping itself though was deliciously buttery and the apples were sweet; they did not appear to have been spiced with cinnamon or anything, which is something I hate in the first place and I never do it in my own crumbles. I would have appreciated cream or custard to go with this pudding, but it tasted great regardless.
I was then invited to taste, and then finish Megan’s dish, which Josh also chose – Mousse du Chocolat (see pictured). Once again, there was nothing more to it – just a ramequin with this thick, rich chocolate mousse in it. Oh even for me and my cast-iron stomach it was too much. The intense chocolatey flavour was quite heavy after the salmon and the duck and the apples. Just a small step too far I think.
And Tom’s dish was actually the Pudding du Jour – a Chocolate Crème Brûlée (see pictured below). I did not invade Tom’s dessert by trying it but from what I could see, it did look delightful – I’m normally a sucker for things like Crème Brûlée; I need only think back to my trip to Florence last year when I had a port-soaked Crema Bruciata, something that, in spite of what I thought, could not have been any less like the French variant.
Now we are all filled quite considerably – it was better than the Cheese Savouries I had eaten in lieu of dinner the night before – we had to pay our highly reasonable twelve euros (or eighteen in my case) before making our way back to Créteil Univesité, where our hotel was based. Despite all the stress we had undergone to get to the Latin Quarter, the journey back was a much calmer affair. We were even entertained on the metro by a travelling puppeteer – a busker of sorts – who only performed a five-minute song with one puppet, a banjo-playing coyote armed with a little tequila bottle. For something that was wholly unexpected and quite scary at the beginning, it actually became quite entertaining, and I think I did my good deed for that day giving him a euro for his trouble. Long as that day had been, it was well worth the stress in the end.
Two parts left of this little Paris trip – see Part VII in four days’ time.