Rosa Bonheur, Part Deux
Rosa Bonheur, the funky buvette in the Buttes Chaumont, which opened a little over a year ago without much fanfare, but then went on to become the darling of the press and bobo Parisians this summer, has metamorphosed into a full-fledged restaurant—well really a cross between a resto and rotisserie—this past week.
I fell in love with Rosa Bonheur this summer when it was still somewhat unknown, but as word got out that this charming little spot had opened in the Parc, serving drinks and tapas late into the night, it quickly became a victim of its own success and—at least on the weekends—overwhelming crowds of hipsters spilled out the doors, making it more of a headache than an oasis.
Then came news that they were opening a real restaurant in the fall and there were unconfirmed rumours that Armand Arnal, the newly-starred chef of La Chassagnette in Arles, the first organic restaurant to have a star in France, was a partner and so I was eagerly awaiting its opening which finally came about this past week.
I am still not sure to what degree, if any, Arnal plays a part (our waiter confirmed the connection but did not say to what extent and it may well be that one of his chefs is overseeing the kitchen). In any event, traces of La Chassagnette can be found, as they use organic products for the most part, or at least agriculture raisonnée, and like the owners, many of the ingredients come from the Camargue.
The three-course 29 € menu is simple, with a handful of first courses to choose from including a very nice crayfish bisque with Pastis and a “correct”, as they say in French, cabbage rémoulade with crisp apple, carrots, cabbage and shrimp, that was good, but could have used a bit of pizzazz . The main courses include a choice of two rôtis, one that changes daily, along with a roasted free-range demi-coquelet. On Thursday you’ll find a fricassee of rabbit with mustard, Friday Sète-style cuttlefish with olives, Saturday was slow-roasted spiced spare ribs, which are not something you find too often in France, and on Sunday roasted lamb shoulder, each served with seasonal, organic vegetables.
Desserts, if I remember correctly (because at this point we had finished our bottle of red and my memory is a bit foggy), included a very good rice pudding, chocolate mousse and cheese.
While the food was certainly good, it’s more the feeling of the place that would lure me back, with its choice of ingredients, amiable wait staff and unusual location hidden in one of Paris’s most beautiful parks. It was just the thing for a dreary Parisian October afternoon.
2, allée de la Cascade
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Telephone: 01 42 00 00 45 ; To reserve at the restaurant call: 01 42 03 28 67
Bar, Café open Wednesday-Sunday, 12- midnight (however the park gates close at 20h);
Restaurant is open for lunch 12h00-13h30, dinner from 20h00 until 21h30.
See the Map Here