Paris day 1

Mr D and I whizzed off for a Parisian weekend to visit some friends and have a romantic couple of days in the city of love. Not having been to Paris for as long as I can remember, I was over excited and got booking restaurants and making plans many weeks before we were due to arrive. 

Hours of research went into deciding on where we wanted to head to and a few classics were on the list as well as local foodie hangouts and a few bars. 

We arrived early doors on Friday and met up with our friend Mr Casey on his lunch in the 8th Arr. A small local cafe to the young 'suits' whom work in the area. 

The George V Cafe felt exactly how I wanted my first place to nestle down to some French food to be....'very Parisian'. Cigarettes were being puffed on along side cafe creme's, bottles of wine and French vocab. I was in heaven. Not one for easing myself in lightly I went straight for the steak tartare. Not the most beautiful presentation but this is a cafe NOT a fancy pants restaurant. It was better than most I have eaten, not THE best but certainly up there. The steak was of great quality and seasoned perfectly with capers, onions and a little hint of mustard. For €15 you can't expect anything more washed down well with a glass of Sancerre (I could get VERY used to this). 

Mr.Casey ordered a 'cafe Gourmand' (spelling unsure!!) which he insisted was apparently not classed as a dessert… One small espresso cup arrived with three 'shots' of different puddings. A set yoghurt with fruit compote, tiramisu and chocolate mousse. Pretty amazing when you're expecting a coffee and possibly a small chocolate on the side!!!

We then meandered up towards the Arc De Triomphe and enjoyed one of the most breath taking views after a heck of a lot of steps (not for the faint hearted!!).

A trip to the Louvre to say a quick hello to the Monna Lisa (a highlight of my entire trip it's quite sensational seeing all these people just for one painting). Then through the park stopping by for Vin Chaude en route...

We made our way home via Les Pont des Arts. They say that if you kiss your loved one on this bridge you will be happy together forever. Many buy padlocks and then throw the keys in the Seine. 

In the evening we went up to the 11th which is good for bars and restaurants. It's quite edgy and hip and is one of the more densely populated areas of Paris. The restaurant of choice was 'Le Dauphin' which is sister to the highly acclaimed and impossible to get into Chateaubriand. I booked about three weeks in advance for our table of 6 and the only time they had was 7:30 - early for Parisian eating.

A clean marbled and mirrored dining room was decorated with Scandi type furnishings surrounding a central 'eat at' bar. The staff here were some of the friendliest I have come across and actually made our evening more enjoyable (if it were possible).

le Dauphin's menu comprises of tapas style dishes, cheeses and puddings. All separated into food types. We were waiting for some to arrive and so the waitress suggested we get a couple of dishes which were good for snacking. 

Tapioca do Brazil were small bite sized squares filled with oozy cheesy tapioca. These packed a lot of flavour into such a small dish.

'Fish and chips' amazingly light batter coating perfectly flaky fish and warm hand made chips - delicious. 

Our other little naughty 'snack' was Tempura de Seche. Little spring onions lightly battered along side small pieces of cod in the same batter. Dipped into the tempura sauce this was a dream! Perfect crunch = perfect munch!! 

The final 2 arrived and we were kindly moved onto a larger table due to a cancellation. Here we got stuck into some serious wines and started the process of ordering. They suggest 4 dishes per person and these will come out when ready.

'Poulpe tandoori' (octopus) firmly stood as one of the favourites of the evening we ordered this twice. Thinly sliced the octopus was coated in a paprika tandoor spice and lightly grilled. 

'Mozzarella, poivons, anchois' Mozzarella with peppers and anchovies - one ordered for us girls as we love anchovies the cheese was light and fresh, the peppers sweet and the anchovies nice and salty!

Veloute d'heliantis, foie gras was a deliciously heart warming helianti (artichoke family) soup with little squares of duck liver, bread crumbs and brussel sprout leaves dotted on top and within. Miss HH's favourite of the evening, i'm not entirely sure the boys around the table even got a taster of this dish as it firmly sat on our side (sorry boys!). 

Betterave, endives, poires, noisettes, gorgonzola. This was a lovely fresh salad and perfect to accompany the choice of dishes. A mixture of textures and flavours with the crunchy nuts, softly poached pears and earthy beets. I would definitely recreate this at home for a light lunch. 

My favourite of the evening... Cabillaud (cod), mini poireaux (leeks) and pil-pil (garlic and pepper sauce). The cod was one of the best pieces of fish I have eaten. Incredibly well cooked it was flaky, juicy and just to die for. The baby leeks were charred slightly however still sweet served with a light yoghurt 'splodge'. If we weren't just over halfway I would have ordered another (just for fatty me!).

Several nods went in the way of the Paleron de black Angus, Shiitake, moelle and navets. (Steak, shiitake, bone marrow, raddishes). Deliciously bloody chuck steak sat on top of a light peppered broth, plenty of mushrooms and a lovely round of fatty, melt in your mouth marrow. Once tasted we all found it very hard to pass round the table it eventually made it full circle with sauce mopped up and not a morsel left!

Epaule d'agneau, carotte, curry. My least favourite of the dishes I just couldn't taste much curry nor carrot. Although the lamb cooked perfectly well it just didn't have a huge wow factor!

It's at this point we noticed that by the bar the beautiful Natalie Portman was dining with her husband. A very excited JK couldn't quite contain himself and constantly got out of his seat to get a better view. 

Canard, trompettes de la mort and poire was another that ever so slightly disappointed as the meat was a little chewy. The black trumpet mushrooms however were delicious and such a treat with the paper thing slices of crunchy pear.

2.5hrs and a lot of gossiping later we moved onto puds. 

21 month Comte was incredibly strong (perfect) cut into large chunks to nibble at. 

Profiteroles looked amazing (I missed trying these) the chocolate sauce was dramatically poured over before 6 gazing eyes. 

Baba au Rhum, knocked the socks off that of my beloved Brasserie Chavot. Light fluffy sponge soaked in devilishly good Rhum. The waitress pointed out to me which is the better end and suggested to 'eat this straight away or else regret' - naturally I did just that. It was incredible.

Siphon, chocolate, noisette was a rich nutella chocolate mousse. Dense, extremely chocolatey this zoomed me back into my school days where by I used to make Nutella toasties for break...delicious!! I'd forgotten how much I love this naughty stuff!

Tarte au Citron meringuee was an excellently crafted lemon pie. This was Mr D's stand out dish and one he tucked into immediately - hence the dish looking a little 'eaten'!. Refreshing and light this was a lovely dish to end the meal with and had top restaurant appeal in both looks and taste.

We had 5 bottles of mid-priced wine and all the above food for €60 per person which I thought was excellent value. Not once were we rushed through the meal and i'm sure we could have sat there all evening. A wonderful neighbourhood and local favourite!

Address: 131 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris, France
Hours: 12-3pm, 6:30pm till late. Closed on Monday

After supper we headed to an offie grabbed a couple of bottles of  €10 vino and this bad boy just to see what €3 gets you… 

and taxied into the Marais district (my favourite area of Paris)to join others at a house party.

Paris, you've totally captured my heart...

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