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At le Bistro Poulbot, contemporary cuisine bumps into traditional French

In this little neighborhood venue, hidden in steep rue Lamarck behind Montmartre, chef Lorenzo Torrini fools around the codes of old French cuisine to enhance it.

If Bistro Poulbot is called like this, it’s because it really is a little bistro, with its little counter and it’s blackboard menu swinging everywhere. In the dim red light, you are to sample not that much a taste of the Old Paris, but more of its Esprit, which is of course harder to offer! In that sense, the name Poulbot, referring to Francisque Poulbot (1879-1946), a famous Montmartre painter who conquered the world by painting the street kids of Montmartre, and who conquered Montmartre by saving it from the real estate contractor’s appetite, this name is used to indicate a link between the former Paris lifestyle and a certain irreverent attitude, typical of the Butte Montmartre.

As appetizers dance in front of your eyes, you clearly see the classics waltzing with the moderns. A poached egg? D’accord, mais preserved in brine in order to ornate a thick wild sea-bass carpaccio. Or covered with breadcrumbs and served with mushrooms and parsley. You can safely chose the traditional Grandma style terrine, or venture in the Salmon & Celeri Tartar or in the homemade Foie Gras with Tetragons… Of course one would like to taste everything, but it’s impossible, since the menu also changes with the market and the season…

Main courses are a dream. The best ingredients, including amazing meats, which are hard to find in Paris, with this unique way of preparing them. The Entrecôte (rib steak) is extremely tender, and the lamb is to die for. You can wander on the wild side and try out the sweetbreads, perfectly prepared over a bed of spinach and candied carrots, or even dare to discover the veal  tongue and brains sizzled with potatoes (I know you won’t, Americans, but you’re missing out!!). Here and there, the chef add a little Italian twist. A risotto, maybe, eggplant “parmiggiana” under the lamb roast, allegro, ma non troppo, just what you need to remind us how globalization can be fun in a plate.

And of course there’s no reason to be disappointed by the desserts. From the iced Champagne soufflé wiht fresh raspberries in February to the obscene Rhum spongecake (the Baba) for which a nice waiter leaves a vanilla rhum bottle on the table, all is there to let you finish the meal with a beautiful smile on your face.

Pricewise, the deal is fine. For that quality, you know it cannot be cheap, and it is not. But it’s not expensive either. The typical triad appetizer+main course+dessert is 39€ while if you skip dessert or appetizer it’s 35€. You might end up with a few extras (I personally cannot resist sweetbreads for 4€ extra). The wine menu is perfectly chosen, and offers wines as off 28€ til… oh well, that’s up to you. And lunch tends to be slightly cheaper, as often.

All in all, it is an outstanding restaurant, which could be a great and not so expensive introcution to French gourmet food. I just feel very fortunate to live a few blocks from it!

Oh! one last word: You have to be careful not to confuse Bistro Poulbot, with le Poulbot. Le Poulbot is on the top of Montmartre, in what’s a huge tourist area, and the food served up there doesn’t have the quality we’re talking about here. Which is why you will never see any Parisians on the top of the hill. So when you book, or if you go, keep in mind it’s Bistro Poublot, on rue Lamarck… What’s in a name…


Le Bistro Poulbot

39 rue Lamarck

75018 Paris

Metro: Lamarck-Caulaincourt (line 12)

Tel: +33 146 06 86 00

Website (in French) : Bistro Poulbot