I Love Half Price Food

Last night was one of those evenings where the completely unexpected happened and I came away feeling so happy to be living in Paris. My friend and ex-boss, Claire, had put me in contact with a fellow Perthian, Pak. Claire described him as a fellow foodie which made him instantly my friend. In less the 24 hours we had been introduced and had decided to go for dinner and make the most of an awesome restaurant deal that is happening across France. For one week, restaurants ranging from local brasseries to top-end haute gastronomie, are offering 2-for-1 deals on set menus. So essentially, you book a table for two and you’re eating for half price – a great excuse to try higher-end dining. Being a lover of bargain food experiences, I was pretty damn excited.

We ummed and ahhed for a few hours during the day, trying to pick a restaurant that would satisfy our palates as well as offer a great dining experience. Most of the haute gastronomie restaurants had been booked out weeks ago, so we finally found a restaurant in the 11th arrondissement – a restaurant called Le Tintilou that I had read many reviews about and had heard it was good.

And was it ever! Pak really is a foodie, eating his food with an inquisitive eye (tongue?) trying to work out each of the ingredients and how dishes were put together. His descriptions were delightful. Meanwhile my response to the food ranged from, “Yeah, it’s awesome!” to “Oh man, that’s good.” Either way, we both enjoyed our meals.

We started with thin slices of toasted baguette served with a broccoli and bean dip. It had a touch of spice which was exciting and was a brilliant bright green. Very fresh and enticing.

Tintilou dip

So green.

For entrée I had vegetarian ravioli which were spiced with cumin and served in a very thick sauce and some cherry tomatoes. Pak had prawns that were served with a coconut sauce that was also particularly thick. Both of us were a bit unsure about the sauces as they were almost soup-like. Mine was very tasty though.

Tintilou ravioli

Little bundles of yum.

For my main dish I had cod which was served on a delicious bed of spelt. Oh how I love grains. The fish was JUST cooked so it was moist without being underdone. Perfect. The spelt added a wonderful crunch and satisfied the wheat-lover in me. It was served with confit lemon which was a little bit over powering if you had too much in one spoonful. At the same time, when the proportion of lemon to fish to spelt was correct, it was exceptionally delicious.

Tintilou cod

Delicious fishes.

So wish the savoury dishes finally out of the way, I could concentrate on the important course – dessert. We had a choice between a meringue with baked apricots or a ganache with a soft ginger caramel. Not being a fan of meringue, I chose the ganache/caramel which was served with a warm madeleine on the side. The flavours were intense – the ginger was very strong and when mixed with caramel it was quite unexpected. Once you mixed it with the chocolate ganache layer underneath, everything somehow sorted itself out and the mix of flavours was wonderful. It took a few mouthfuls to get used to though and it was extremely rich and buttery. But with small bites of cakey madeleines to cleanse the palate, my dessert soon disappeared. Delicious.

Tintilou dessert

Hooray for desserts.

Throughout this entire gastronomic experience, Pak and I had been getting to know one another and also having brief conversations with the couple at the table next to us. This being Paris, we were practically sitting on top of one another so it was hard not to have some sort of exchange. They were having the same menu as us and so we were soon chatting about the food, the wine and the restaurant. By the time we were eating dessert, we had made new friends with Arnaud and Ariane and were soon ordering digestives and making a non-Parisian amount of noise in the now empty restaurant. It was fantastic! I left the restaurant having eaten great food and wine and having made three new friends. A truly wonderful experience that happened thanks to Claire and the awesome world of food that is Paris.

 

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