L'Entente brasserie, Paris
To Paris, with Tom, for a challenging but enjoyable whistle-stop run of meetings and tastings at Wine Paris, a sizeable but well-organised wine fair that is the strangely successful offspring of the Bordeaux-based leviathan that was Vinexpo and Montpellier's more manageable Vinisud. Anyway, whatever its heritage, for the time being it works and attracts wine-makers from all over France, and further afield, so is well worth attending as a great deal can be covered in a short space of time. The obvious question, whenever one is in France, is: Where to eat dinner? Happily, on this occasion I had a clear answer.
Last October while enjoying a beer in a bar by the Gare du Nord, I met by chance Oliver Woodhead, the patron of L'Entente Brasserie and he and I found out that we shared a keen interest in food and wine. He gave me his e-mail address, and a magnum of Fronton (which was unexpected but welcome) and I promised I'd drop by his establishment when next in the City of Light. I duly booked dinner for myself and Tom and we tipped up at the allotted hour.
L'Entente boasts a good central location on rue Monsigny, between L'Opéra and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and is well laid out with soft lighting and smart furnishings, so is welcoming and comforting in equal measure. Oliver's mission is to sell top quality British cuisine to (predominantly) French people and he does an excellent job of it. We kicked off with some Scotch quails eggs and piccalilli, that were as delicious as hoped, and Welsh rarebit, which is also excellent. We enjoyed a bottle of Pouilly Fuissé: Château des Rontets 2018 with those – the wine list is, thankfully, entirely French. For our main courses we sampled Entrecôte, salad and chips and horseradish (me) and Steak and Kidney Pie (Tom) that went down very well with a blameless bottle of Château Haut-Musset: Lalande de Pomerol 2020.
Oliver then came and joined us and we learned about his plans for a neighboring wine and tapas bar, due to open in the near future, before we bade farewell and headed back to our decisively unshowy lodgings. So, it you find yourself in la capitale and are missing the catering of Blighty, L'Entente is a safe bet where you'll receive a warm welcome and be well fed to boot.