09 April 2011

Paris Eats - A La Biche Au Bois

Je t'aime Paris.  Such a stunning city, I don't think one could ever tire of Paris it captivates you every time.  So majestic and vibrant. Everywhere you look there is something to feast your eyes upon, and the then there is the food to feast upon...temptations at every turn.

Thanks to David Lebovitz for dinner recommendations and handily enough A La Biche Au Bois only a 10 minute walk from our hotel in the Bastille.  Just head over to his blog for recommendations for all things Paris. 

La Biche Au Bois means The White Doe and is a fairy tale, for adults, written by Madame d'Aulnoy in the 17th Century.  You can read the fairy tale here.  I had taken charge of the food and was a tad concerned when we got to no. 45 Avenue Ledru-Rollin!  
Panic averted as A La Biche Au Bois was hiding behind some greenery.  This was by far the best value for money dining we had in Paris.  I am still reeling from €3 - €4 euro cups of coffee and not even good coffee at that - that would be $6 - $8 in New Zealand where we are totally spoilt with fabulous coffee!  4 courses for €26.90 is an absolute steal for what you get at Al La Biche Au Bois.  The waiters were friendly and helpful, even with our high school French.

A lovely start to the evening with a little aperitif.  Red wine with a couple of liqueurs thrown in for good measure...one was peach and can't quite recall the other.  Just ask for the house special it is delicious with a nice little kick.

To start for me La Terrine de Canard...duck terrine.  A hearty portion was rich and flavourful and loved that they plonked a giant jar of pickles on the table, the perfect accompaniment.  And bread....before one basket was even finished it was replenished again and again and again.  I really have absolutely no idea how the French stay thin.  Other entrees were the La Terrine de Brochet aux Petit Legumes (fish terrine with little vegetables) and Les Oeufs durs Mayonnaise (hard boiled eggs with mayonnaise).  I didn't know this, but Les Oeufs durs Mayonnaise is an old time classic French Bistro dish that even has it's own society to keep it on bistro menus.

For main course I went with the house specialty - Coq au Vin.  It came in a well worn Le Creuset, rich, dark, savoury sauce with succulent chicken and the tastiest potatoes.  Thinking this will be a feature of my winter menus in NZ, it just warms and nourishes the soul, perfect for the chillier evenings.  Everyone else had steaks and they were all cooked to perfection...and I couldn't not mention the fries.  Oh my!  A veritable mountain of fries...salty, crispy and oh so moreish.  You certainly will not go hungry here!  Again I am wondering how do the French not get fat???

The decimated mountain of fries.
And then before dessert you are confronted with this....

It would have been remiss not to sample some of these.  I find one can always find a little space for very good cheese and this was very good cheese.  The brie was almost running off the plate and delectable, the blue that perfect combination of salty, creamy blue goodness and the ash covered goats cheese a clean bright bite.  All of course eaten with more bread and a little more vin rouge. And still the French don't get fat...and this restaurant was full of French people eating all this food!

For dessert I strayed from my favourite Creme Brulee but did steal a taste...perfect, creamy, slightly gloopy with a crunchy sugar topping.  I branched out to Ile Flottante,a poached meringue served on a crème anglaise with a drizzle of caramel sauce, as recommended here.  I was indeed branching out as I am a lover of very crunchy, stick your teeth type meringues.  I was pleasantly surprised, light as a feather meringue, bating in the cool creme anglaise and then a quick hit of caramel.  Light was most definitely needed after this feast.

So if you are in Paris A La Biche Au Bois is most definitely worth a visit, the food, the atmosphere, the service...très bonne! I do, however, recommend a brisk walk post dinner! A fun filled, memorable evening in Paris.

A la Biche au Bois
45, avenue Ledru-Rollin (12th)
Tél: 01 43 43 34 38


  1. Yep, I think also that the best creme brulee I had was in Paris. Great reportage Mairi, thank you :-)


  2. Mairi, this is a lovely post, even though I am practically weeping with jealously. Ah, Paris, where even the 'dog eggs' on the pavement smell sweet...

  3. I used to live in Paris as a starving art student so I did not get to try a lot of restaurants; I have been back many many times and each time wished my wallet was a bit fatter! :) Looks like a great place.

  4. Your "...the French don't get fat" and the recommendation for "a brisk walk post dinner" make me smile !
    I do miss the most Bread and also the wide range of cheeses from France.
    Good to see you enjoyed your time there.

  5. Last time I was in Paris I was a teenager and a ridiculously picky eater (I'm pretty sure I lived on bread and pastry the whole time, although that was far from a bad choice). I want to go back, especially seeing that cheeseboard and the terrine!

  6. I wish I could go to Paris! My cousin lives there and I'm dying to visit her and all the glorious French food markets :-)

  7. Great write up! I've always wanted to eat in Paris. Looks like you hit many of the classic "must eats".

  8. Looks like you are still having a fabulous time in Europe. I love Paris too and it doesn't matter how often you go back you find something new, unfortunately we aren't going this year but will be in Perigord.

  9. Thanks for the kind comments & yes you can never tire of Paris.

    @Kitchenmaid - LOL! So true...Spain is even worse!

    @peasepudding...anywhere in France will be tres bien!

  10. Mairi--What a lovely post! Isn't it amazing that you can find oeufs durs mayonnaise at most bistros? The ones you had look delicious! And those macarons look fab too.

  11. The oeufs dur mayonnaise was my choice of starter - a very old favorite from the past. It was a memorable feast with great company.


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