Birthday dinner à Paris. A big decision. Les Papilles it was to be: a far cry from the hyper-traditionnel Benoît where we celebrated my 21st.
This foodie wine bar in the 5th is busy lunch and dinner, full of people looking for a Parisian restaurant with warmth, with welcoming staff, and with comforting food.
Papa is a bit of an expert in the wine world, so selecting a bottle of whatever you fancy from the shelves that line Les Papilles is his heaven. With so much choice on the bottle-lined walls of the wood-panelled space, you need to be decisive. Or if not ask for help. And if your choice isn't quite right, those in charge will suggest something more appropriate. They did this with our Champagne: the most beautifully buttery bottle of fizz was finished far too speedily.
The whole meal was perfect: fresh, homely, rich, and balanced. Food was just bought to us throughout the evening, no menu, no choices, no decisions. A celery and celeriac soup, pork belly with baked beans and a vivid green sauce, cheese with prunes and a dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel. But it was the pork and beans that stole the show.
A huge platter of beans, pork belly, herbs, and bright, bright greens was placed in the centre of our table. A serving spoon and four plates were left for us to dig in. We piled the soft beans and pork, the meaty, sweet flavours, and the crunchy veg with the herby, garlic-y pesto splashed on top on to our plates. After seconds and thirds I admitted defeat: my tastebuds and stomach in conflict again.
Les Papilles, 30 rue Guy Lassac, 75005 Paris