Category Archives: France

Au Pied Du Cochon, Paris

Before travelling to Paris, the only part of a pig I was aware of that was edible was the pork chop. That was before I visited Au Pied De Cochon and discovered that in fact the ears, cheeks, trotter, snout and other cuts were all edible! Never one to turn down different foods, of course I had to try it.

Au Pied De Cochon is located near Les Halles metro station but be careful – there’s about 6 different exits and the station is connected to a shopping centre so it is very easy to get lost. Once you manage to find the restaurant, it may look small from the outside but is in fact deceptively large spanning across three levels. The restaurant is very busy tonight for a weeknight and it fills quickly whilst we dine. The service is excellent with the staff attending to you as soon as you walk in, highly reminiscent of a 5-star hotel with superior service.

We start off the night with some complimentary pig pate. It is extremely fat, but we still lather it onto the bread because it is delicious and oils off our mouths to prepare us for some pork!

The famous grilled pigs trotter, bearnaise sauce, french fries – €18.60

Our first main of the night is their famous grilled pigs trotter. It is exactly that – a large fried trotter served on a plate. The dish seems to consist of quite a lot of fat and not that much meat. It’s definitely not the best cut of a pig if you’re looking for some hearty meat. And on that note, the meat was very salty and gamey, but otherwise there was not much flavouring other than the natural pork flavours.

“Mr Pig’s” head casserole, prepared like a calf’s head to a historic recipe dating 1947 – €23.70

This dish was a lot more interesting than the first. Served up in a hot pot were various cuts of pig meat and fat sitting in a boiling stock. The bits of meat and fat were extremely flavoursome and thanks to the stock, the carrots were also oozing with flavour. This was the first time I ate some unfamiliar cuts of a pigs head which I believe was the cheek and ear and perhaps the snout. Some cuts were a bit chewy and some were soft, just like bits of fat. Overall an extremely delicious dish that lets you sample new cuts of a pig!

At the end of the meal, they provide us with two meringues shaped as cute little pigs. Crunchy and sweet, it is a great way to end the night! Provided you don’t get lost on the way, Au Pied De Cochon is an interesting place to stop by if ever in Paris. But make sure to come here with an open mind to new foods as there is a high chance you will not have eaten these cuts of a pig before in Sydney.

Au Pied Du Cochon
6 Rue Coquillière, 75001 Paris
Open 24 hours, 7 days a week, all year

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Snails, Frogs Legs and Macarons in Paris

Paris, the city of love! I loved my first visit here so much in the previous month that at the end of my Europe trip, I had to finish it in Paris.

I was disappointed that the first time I went, I was unable to find any frogs legs to eat. And so I set it as my goal this time to find it. Enter Le Weekend, located near the main shopping district and high end boutiques. I suspect it is a touristy restaurant given it’s location, but nevertheless it served its purpose of serving me, the tourist, some touristy food! There is a set menu which lets us have an entrée and main for €28.50which we order. I share this with my good friend whilst also adding another main.

Beef Tartare (raw beef)- €16

First up is our beef tartare (similar to yukke). This consists of marinated raw beef, served with a side of chips and salad. The beef is heavily flavoured with tomato, contains some sour tang along with crunchy onions. It’s not the best I’ve had but is certainly interesting. I’m happy I shared this as after a while, the beef becomes a bit heavy and boring given its size.

Escargot / Snails (6)

Next up is snails! Believe it or not, despite snails being a traditional French dish, it is not commonly available at many restaurants and most of the places we went to did not have it on their menu. To eat snails, you are given a small device similar to tongs. This grips onto the shell whilst you use a small fork to pry out the snail. It is cooked in a garlic oil and is filled with garlic flavour…mm delicious! The texture is very similar to eating chewy mussels or calamari and is not at all slimy like live snails. At the end of this dish, we had a lot of sauce left over so we dipped our bread into the sauce. Our inventiveness left us with garlic bread, yum!

Frogs Legs cooked Provencale style

Our last dish was frogs legs. I was looking forward to this as I couldn’t find it previously, but had no idea what to expect. Frogs legs have a lot of bones. It takes a long time to eat a leg, let alone a plate, and I found myself chewing through it slowly and cautiously, whilst removing the many many bones. The legs don’t actually have a lot of meat and the texture is very similar to fish, except more chewy. The way this restaurant cooked it was in a tomato oil flavour. Personally, I found it much too oily and after a while it got very heavy as well. Thankfully there was a lemon there to help combat some of the oil and add some extra flavour to the dish.

Overall, I’m not too big of a fan of frogs legs. I do quite enjoy snails though. Traditional French cuisine has some good and bad points to it, but it’s best to try everything once right?

Aside from the savoury parts of French cuisine, we also sampled the sweets the first time I came to Paris as our group devoured many macarons. This time was no different and now that I knew where to go, I had my take two of macarons! Here is a list of all the flavours I tried. And of course, some photos of them too! These three patisseriers made the best macarons which I tried. With multiple stores across Paris, it’s best to search online for which one is located nearest to you. Most of these flavours tasted just as delicious as they look and sound – my favourites were Earl Grey Tea, Rose and  Chestnut and Pear. Absolutely amazing flavours which were unlike anything I had ever tasted before.

Macaron flavours I tried:

Caramel with Salted Butter
Cassis
Chestnut and Pear
Chocolate
Chocolate and Passionfruit
Creme Brulee
Earl Grey Tea
Genmaicha
Lemon
Matcha
Orange and Ginger Cream
Orange and Mango
Pearl
Praline
Rose
Sesame
Vanilla
Violette
Wasabi

Le Weekend
19 Rue Tronchet, 75008 Paris
Ph: 0142653794

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J’Go, Paris, France

Whilst reading some french food blogs in search of some good restaurants, I stumbled across a list of some ‘new age’ restaurants – those which have recreated traditional french cuisine with a youthful new flair. And that is how we decided to go to J’Go from this list, and also since it was the closest one to where we were staying in Paris.

Conveniently located at the beginning of a strip of boutique stores, J’Go is both a restaurant and casual bar to grab some drinks. Although it is relatively empty when we arrive (6pm-ish on a Friday night), we are advised we have to sit outdoors as all the indoor seating has been reserved.

Tonight, two of us opt for the Formule J’Go, which is their 3-course set menu for €36 whilst the other two opt for a la carte. To start us off is the usual complimentary bread basket, but this time we are also given a jar of capsicums soaked in vinegar. Thankfully I like vinegar and capsicum, but this should either be eaten with the bread or in small portions. It is extremely sour (as would be expected), but is definitely an interesting side dish I’ve never had before.

Lou Pastifret de noir de Bigorre et sa salade melangee / Salad with Pork Pate (part of Formule J’Go set menu)

Following this came the salad as part of the set course. We are presented with a bowl of leafy greens covered in olive oil with hints of vinegar, along with a jar of pork pate which is scooped out by our waitress. For this, I sliced up the pork pate into small bits and mixed it into the greens. The greens are quite oily already and the pork pate is also very fatty (you can see the congealed oil/lard) – this is perhaps one of the more flavourful albeit oily/unhealthy salads I’ve ever had. Regardless, it is delicious and a bit of fat does us well in the cold winter.

La piece d’Agneau fermier du Quercy du moment es ses haricots Tarbais / Lamb with lentils (part of Formule J’Go set menu)

Next comes the mains. My dish is presented quite plainly – a plate of lentils with pieces of lamb placed on top. The lamb is cooked to a good succulent consistency but I find the flavours lacking a bit in the actual meat. The lentil tastes like baked beans in a gravy sauce and actually holds more flavour than the lamb. Overall, this main is rather average tasting and nothing special.

Magret de canard en cocotte aux champignons / Duck breast with mushrooms in a casserole – €31

My other friends order a duck and lamb main from the a la carte menu. The French seem to love their duck and they sure know how to do it well. Here, the duck is served in large meaty pieces in a pot containing the original juices and sauces it was cooked in, with a side of potato mash. The duck is medium rare, juicy and extremely tender. It tasted best when sliced into thin pieces and dipped into the sauce, which is similar to a garlic and mushroom sauce. The potato mash is also the most creamy mash I have ever had; it is extremely smooth and obviously has high amounts of butter and cream in it. I also find the mash has slight hints of milk tea flavour, which just adds to the interesting flavours of this dish.

Civet de Doublon de Barages de Gavarnie / Lamb Stew €24

The other main which my friend ordered was another lamb dish. Cooked in either a broth or stock, it had a natural lamb taste and was very tender. It was served in a pot still containing the stock which was absolutely delicious when dipping pieces of bread into it. My only one criticism was that it was a bit salty, so it should be eaten slowly and definitely with bread!

Gratin de poire a la reglisse / Pear Gratin €9

Pain Perdu d’Huguette / Bread soaked in custard and fried in brown butter until caramelised €8

And now the part we’ve all been waiting for, dessert! As part of the Formule J’Go set menu, we are able to choose two desserts off the dessert menu (the prices quoted are a la carte). The pear dessert is a cool temperature but served on a warm plate. It is soft and served in a creamy, milky sauce – a delicious and interesting take on pear which I have never tried before. The bread dessert is warm with a crunchy exterior (burnt sugar) and soft interior. It tastes a lot like bread and butter pudding, but in bread form. After this (and other meals), I have come to the conclusion that the French definitely do their sweets a lot better than their savoury food.

Overall, J’Go is a delicious restaurant and although not serving up traditional French cuisine, it provides a modern approach with new, interesting flavours. It is quite popular with a good atmosphere (it was completely crowded when we left) and the service we received was fantastic (the waitress attempted to her best ability to translate the menu for us). If you happen to be shopping or staying around this area in Paris, I would highly recommend you come here over just any random street bistro as the quality of food is definitely higher here.

J’Go
6, rue Clément (Marché Saint-Germain) 6th
Tél: 01 43 26 19 02

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Au Village Restaurant, Val Thorens, France

Welcome to our very first post from Europe! Thankfully, a friend of ours brought their Macbook and because of free wifi, we are able to bring you this post as we continue to travel around.

The first week of our trip was spent at Val Thorens in the French Alps. Nestled in the small snowy town are an array of restaurants including Au Village Restaurant, where we had some very new food experiences. The restaurant looks like an old wooden shack, or as I described it, a ‘haunted house with lights on’. The decor is very rustic and we are seated next to a window leading to nowhere, which is rather interesting. There is soft music playing random songs which does not really add to the atmosphere set by the decor, so we are hopeful that the food brings out the character of the restaurant.

Fondue Morilles Simple, €23

As a group of four, we only tried two dishes tonight but each one is for two people to share. The first which comes out is the cheese fondue. It is presented in a pot on a mini stove, and supplemented with two baskets of bread pieces along with a side salad of lettuce with seeded mustard mayo. To eat the cheese fondue, you grab your skewer, poke the piece of bread, dip it in and twirl when removing. The bread becomes soft and warm and with the cheese, it tastes absolutely delicious in your mouth – perfect for the cold snowy weather! You have to continually stir the pot now and then to prevent the cheese from burning at the bottom, but this is not a problem as we finish this dish in no time (with a bread basket to spare).

Hot Stone Pierrade Mixte 350g (pp), €25.90

Our next dish is the hot stone, which is a black rock plate on a stove. It is served with 350g of meat per person (beef, chicken, duck), assorted vegetables (capsicum, mushroom, onion), ratatouille (vegetable stew) and an assortment of sauces (chilli, honey tomato, mayo, smokey bbq). The meat when cooked is rather tasteless so having those sauces was definitely a good idea. The wedges are also crispy and add a great side of carbs; however, the ratatouille is not that tasty.

Complimentary pastille lollies that came with our bill

Overall the food is delicious and suits the cold snowy weather. It is also our first experience of a savoury fondue and needless to say, French food consists of more than just the stereotypical snails. If you ever come up to Val Thorens, getting a cheese fondue is a must!

Au Village Restaurant
Caron Rd/Caron Rue (at the end of the street)
Val Thorens, 73440
+33 (0)4 79 08 63 95
Open everyday from 6pm, Saturday from midday

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