Polidor, Paris, 14/20

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IT is fairly easy to have a number of favourite restaurants in Paris. There’s a whole wardrobe to choose from, after all. There are those for best but sometimes you just want something well, Parisian. TA rates Polidor 1200 out of 13,000 Parisian restaurants but if the scale were just about Gallicness, it would be higher, a sort of three berets in lieu of stars. It is the kind of place you want to finish with a cognac.

Polidor began life as a creamery in 1845 and still has a certain pre-war feel. Locals in the back, tourists and non-regulars in the front. No booking. The photos here are doctored for an exhibition but you get the gist.

 

Given its age, there is a wine shop next door that may have 20,000 bottles so it is worth keeping a watch out for the day’s choices. The menus –  22 euros or 35 euros if you are splashing out – are trapped in the era of boeuf bourguignonne after lentil soup with foie gras which is worth the admission. The specials change daily so it is tripes de Caen on Wednesday and roast leg of lamb at weekends.  Proprietor Andre Maillet is also especially proud of his beef. This is what the cooking tends to look like: saucisson, boiled potatoes, onions…

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And sometimes that is exactly what you might want to eat…which is probably what James Joyce thought (he favoured the omelette), or Andre Gide or Rimbaud or Verlaine etc…but this is or was the Latin quarter so it was weaned on students and literary types. No credit cards, cash only. It remains what it was.

Except in one regard, in that the crew these days tend to be African women who bring a certain chaleur and sense of swing which is quite a successful expression of new multi-culturism.

Polidor, 41 Rue Monsieur le Prince 75006 Paris

Tel 01 43 29 95 34 http://www.polidor.com

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