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Review: L’Amarante, Paris

L'Amarante

L’Amarante

I love this kind of find (reader: its not really a find, we saw it on a list of places to try in Paris). Wander away from the busy streets and grand squares near the Bastille, down an unlikely looking side road with an odd nightclub and a couple of shops selling household supplies, and in through the open red door of a restaurant that isn’t much wider than the door. Six tables and a single waiter who looks like he’s auditioning for Oliver Twist. It doesn’t have an online reservation system, you just need to text or email the chef; luckily my French stretched to “do you have a table for four this evening?” and luckily he did.

Tongue

Tongue

My starter was thin sliced of veal tongue with a beautiful blob of mayonnaise and some powerful eclectic salad leaves dressed perfectly with salt and oil. Maureen’s was a stuffed pig trotter with the skin fried to a wafer-thin crispy deliciousness while the gelatinous muddle of meat and stuff inside very satisfyingly stuck to our teeth. Same salad. This is obsessively pared-back stuff from the school of St John.

Main for me was a monstrous pork loin chop, fried to absolute perfection. The meat and fat were robustly flavoured and nicely pinkish inside, the caramelised outside giving it another dimension of loveliness. Cauliflower came as florets and also as a darkly caramelised mash of some kind. The gravy was wonderful. Maureen’s guinea fowl was beautifully soft and tender meat, and a very flavourful bird. The skin had been artfully crisped until it resembled the best skin on a Chinese crispy duck (minus the spices). This was served simply with a pile of green asparagus.

Wild bois

Wild bois

Even the puddings were single-minded but great: huge bowl of wild strawberries with creme fraiche. A chocolate fondant so ruthlessly savoury and pure that it hummed with all kinds of unexpected notes, of currants and leather and smoke.

It takes a bit of research to find really good food in a metropolis that is used to eating up and spitting out tourists in constant rotation. L’Amarante is the kind of place you need to find in Paris.

Pork

Pork

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