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Lunch in Paris: La Bulle

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Call Me Bubble, Everyone Does

We slowly find our way regarding food here at Modern Monsters, and it helps a lot that we now have a food correspondant, tracking the best (mostly lunch) options in beautiful Paris, the place where everyone wanna go, or has been intending to return, having in mind not to end up in some ugly brasserie or café, eating an overpriced lukewarm croque-monsieur, with equally half-backed service to boot. Michelin stars are just too easy to find in the world’s first touristic destination, so we will focus, as we did in Florence or Lisbon, and soon a couple of Japanese cities, on yummy. Just know that it is a hit-and-miss endeavour, and that we have an educated palate. So this week we have one good place and an easily forgotten one, whatever other websites try to sell them for.

It would be an understatement to say that La Bulle is off the beaten track, close to the Louis Blanc metro station, on a quiet street corner. The place bas been there for 8 years but the chef has recently changed and he has quite a pedigree, which comes as evident in the plates, based on fresh quality products. The good thing about the street corner is that you can sit outside when weather allows, which was the case on our visit, and benefit from the attention of a casual and sweet staff. Lunch of the day there is 24€ for a three course service, and every cent is in your plate. Let’s detail quickly.

Starter was a crispy bean salad, well seasoned with some good ham and a lot (maybe too much) of hazelnut bringing a nice, crunchy feeling to a humble, dow to earth dish: it is always good to feel like you are eating someone’s cuisine, free from the hurdles of French tradition: you add some foie gras to this dish and it works, but it becomes predictable in the process. They say you never have the opportunity to make a first impression twice: Victoire’s appetite was whipped after this ultra-simple dish.

Main course was either a well cooked beef with a fresh ginger and parsley sauce, including a wonderful beefsteak tomato and cabbage leaf chips, or a sea trout with a celery purée and a julienne of garden peas. The meat dish was, once again, simple but heartily delivered. One could have done without the grapefruit slices blurring the taste of the celery which worked very well in combination with the trout. If there was one more reservation to express, dressing was a bit messy, but who cares in this price – and quality – range? La Bulle sends hefty plates, anchored in a true attention to product, let the balsamic dots to the pretentious restaurants where they belong.

Dessert was a strawberry and lemon vacherin, the nicest dressed dish by much, and it delivered the goods. Throughout lunch, service was consistently attentive but never overbearing. Since the wine one ordered was unavailable, Plan B was not on the check, a nice gesture which sums up La Bulle: in spite of the dated, 80s decor, there is some serious cooking taking place there, and it’s worth giving it a try if you wanna sample what a simple, serious corner restaurant has to offer in gazillion-starred Paris.

Food correspondent: Victoire V.

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