With two women in the kitchen, an Irishman in the dining room and an American barrista, it’s clear from the onset that this former 1920’s cabaret turned art space is anything but typical.
Located just a short walk from the Place de Clichy, on a surprisingly charming impasse, it turned out to be the perfect place for Sunday brunch. Warm scones, fresh squeezed OJ, eggs over easy, real bacon (and not what usually passes for bacon in Paris) and undoubtedly some of the best coffee in Paris, made for one of the better brunches in Paris.
However, there’s more to the menu than just brunch and from all reports, Alice Quillet and Anna Trattles’s simple, British-influenced cuisine is more than satisfying with dishes like Welsh rabbit, cauliflower and cheddar soup, pork chops with roasted endive, and woodpigeon with beets. The wines get noticed as well, which is not surprising since two of those involved used to work at Willi’s Wine Bar, which also explains the charming bilingual service. You can finish up with a plate of Neal’s Yard’s Stichelton with Carr’s biscuits and chutney, a delicious looking Eton’s mess, or an excellent cheesecake, which is what we opted for.
While the restaurant itself is reason enough to cross town, I wouldn’t miss the first-rate photography and film exhibits, shown downstairs from the café. At the moment you can see Anonymes: L’Amerique Sans Nom, a depressing, albeit fascinating, look at the lives of ordinary Americans through film and photography from the 1930s till present times.
Be warned however that this address, which is barely a few months old, was swarming with middle-aged intellectual types by 13h00 who had just gotten out of the nearby Cinema des Cineastes, so if you want to enjoy your brunch, go early.
Le Bal Café
6 Impasse de la Défense
Métro: Place de Clichy
01 44 70 75 56
Open: Wednesday-Saturday 10h-23h, Sunday 10h-21h
A DJ was spinning the Godfather of Soul as Cococook, based in the Marais, served take-away style organic salads, sandwiches, muffins, smoothies, freshly squeezed juices, coffee and the like, including a pretty kick-ass carrot cake. Large round communal tables added to the convivial atmosphere.
There was something for everyone. Knitting circles thanks to Wool and the Gang, the Paris based company offering ready-made knitting kits with everything needed to craft your very own scarves, hats and sweaters.
The fashionistas from Bon Debarrass (Good Ridance in English) brought together several stands of vintage and used goods, from funky American t-shirts (by LA-based The Cobra Snake) and converse sneakers (or baskets as they say in French) to second-hand Cholé bags and Prada shoes.
The fun continues the first day of each month at Le Comptoir Géneral.
80, quai de Jemmapes
Métro : République
*bobo: short for bourgeois-bohème or bourgeois bohemians, a term very much heard in Paris, first coined by David Brooks to describe the new affluent urban class.