It’s too bad that every neighbourhood doesn’t have a restaurant like Jean Marc Notelet’s recently-opened, pocket-sized bistro, Zinc Caius, which is just a few minutes walk from Etoile. The décor, like the food, is simple yet soignée with steel grey tones and a hip, industrial feeling.
Notelet, who once worked at the three-star Boyer Les Crayeres before opening the since closed “Le Troyon” in the 17th and the more grown-up Caius up the street, is known for his judicious use of unusual spices and original take on traditional French cuisine.
The food here is simple, yet very good. I am not really a boudin fanatic, but this house-made boudin noir Bernais with Bordier’s beurre au sel fumé was delicious, as was the warm salad of Puy lentils garnished with Lardo di Colonnata, walnuts and tarragon and the Piquillos peppers with creamy goat cheese, basil and yellow pepper coulis. Mains were equally good with a perfectly seared Simmental strip steak and hand-cut steak tartar served with crisp, fat polenta fries. Desserts didn’t disappoint either with a crème caramel, nage de rhubarb with fromage blanc ice cream and mint, and chantilly de semoule with Amarena cherries.
A lot has been written lately about the demise of French cooking and how it’s not all that easy to find exceptional cooking in France these days, but thankfully inexpensive neighbourhood bistros like this, with high-quality products and cooking at affordable prices, continue to pop up and prove the naysayers wrong.
Entrees: 7€-12 €
Desserts: 5€-8 €
11 rue d’Armaillé
Telephone: 01 44 09 05 10
See the map here
Open daily for lunch and dinner, except Sunday.