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
McCafés are popping up all over France, serving 25 different specialty hot drinks and macarons, those chic, bite-sized, cream-filled cakes which are apparently taking the US by storm.
They’re no Pierre Hermé or Ladurée you might say, but rumor has it that all of the macarons and cakes are provided by Holder, the same company that owns Ladurée. I stopped by the McCafé at the Louvre today and tried the caramel; it wasn’t bad, but a bit too heavy and sweet for my taste. The cheesecake and café con panna, however, were pretty good.