Basque Restaurant in Paris, France: L'Ami Jean | Natural wine Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

L'Ami Jean HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Open: Lunch and dinner Tue - Sat
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: 01 47 05 86 89
Address: 27 rue Malar
Paris, 75007
Country: France
Food Style: Basque

Choosing a bistro in Paris is a daunting experience. There are so many to choose from. More than that, there are just so many good places to choose from.
We have a list of ten interesting bistros that we are working our way through and L'Ami Jean made its way onto this list for two reasons. The first is that we love the Basque food of South West France and the second is that the chef is from the Yves Camdeborde
stable having worked with him at La Regalade.
Our meal started with a deeply-flavoured mushroom soup flavoured with chopped chives and small pieces of the wonderful raw bacon called ventreche. The soup was poured from a teapot at the table. Our other entrée was a fine mound of terrine served on a long white plate which was accompanied by fresh figs and deep-fried parsley.
To accompany the food we veered towards the Rhone and ordered the Domaine de Gramenon from the Drome. This was a fine wine with enough 'body' to stand up to the dish that was about to arrive. We also loved the fact that this was a natural wine that had no commercial yeasts added or any enzymes or poisins in the vineyard.
When we saw garbure on the menu there was no question that we would order it. We had read about this famous dish in Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking and Richard Olney's Simple French Food and had always been keen to try it. Well here it is cooked in the Bearnaise style and is a robust, rich and very complex dish. The highlight of the dish was the creamy unctuousness of the white beans. We will remember this garbure for a long time. We also had a lighter dish of roast St Pierre.
But the highlights were not over yet. Despite being somewhat challenged by the enormity of the garbure, we pressed on and ordered the famous Riz au Lait. This was served in a huge white bowl. The texture of the dish was quite creamy though punctuated by studs of firm rice and accompanied by a small bowl of confiture that added sweetness. A great and memorable dish.
So we can thoroughly recommend L'Ami Jean for food lovers who are searching for fine examples of traditional South West Basque dishes.
Review: November 2006



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