Before going to Paris-Gare de Lyon to catch my train, my friends and I still had time to squeeze in a nice lunch in a neighbourhood bistro, the well-liked Chez Maurice, Restaurant de Bourgogne, located in Rue des Vinaigriers, a still quite rough area a few years back (there was even a taxi driver/killer who used to live there!).
I had been craving snails for days now and my friends thought this restaurant would be ideal for me, rather than the overpriced touristic places of Rue Montorgueil I spotted earlier.
The decor was very typical of a French bistro. The tables were covered in red checked cloths, the menus were written with chalk on black boards, the place was still not packed but in a matter of minutes it was buzzing with all types of patrons, workers, families, regulars, old & young.
Everything on the menu looked appetizing and rich enough to get you through a freezing winter day.
But first and foremost, it was time for the sacrosanct “apéro”
I chose my beloved Picon-bière, beer flavoured with Picon, a sort of alcoholic orange bitter, very old-school but utterly delicious!
Here are a sample of the dishes that my table companions chose, including the decadent Fried Camembert and the heart warming Fish Soup.
Of course I had the snails, one of the specialties of this restaurant whose owner came from Burgundy. I was surprised to see them served without their shell, but it didn’t matter one bit. All the essential ingredients were there: garlic, herbs, butter and some bread to mop it all up. The snails themselves were tender and chewy at the same time, very satisfying.
It was then time for the mains:
When I was asked how I wanted my steak (pictured above), I said “à point”, because I didn’t want it totally “saignant” (bloody = rare), but couldn’t quite find the correct term to designate the in-between stage of “medium”. What they brought to me was definitely well done! As a result it was chewy and quite tough. I also had the impression that they used some powder to make the peppercorn sauce… I couldn’t eat more than half unfortunately…
Luckily my companions seemed to fare better with their mains, especially with the steak tartare, very nicely seasoned and the andouillette, a tripe sausage, which had a nice and crispy grilled skin and was accompanied with a grain mustard sauce.
For dessert I ordered the Crème Brûlée, which was more of a flan in fact. The texture was more eggy than creamy, so I was a bit disappointed, even though the caramel crust cracked nicely under my spoon. My companions seemed satisfied with their desserts: fromage blanc with caramel sauce, profiterolles with chocolate sauce and almond & apricot tarte.
As a whole, a nice little unpretentious “bistro de quartier”, which serves tasty snails and many other traditional dishes at very reasonable prices, in comfortable settings and a warm atmosphere.
We finished with a little coffee and my friends sent me off to Gare de Lyon!
It was quite an adventure to drag my suitcase in the metro including one line change, lucky my friend was there to help me carry it through the numerous stairs and corridors…
Gare de Lyon was insane, there were people everywhere going back to their families in “province” for Christmas and getting pretty pissed off from not being able to get around, yelling and shoving through the crowds… Not a pretty sight!
But I ended up reaching my carriage a couple of minutes before the train departed, pfeew! I was finally en route to my hometown