Le Petit Sommelier, Montparnasse, Paris 15/20

ONE for you oenophiles. If you are in Montparnasse, one of those junction boxes that links much of southern Paris but otherwise its artistic legacy as a meeting place of inspired and penniless artists has given way to urban sprawl and oppression – the original name was mount parnassus after the Greek poets. Wine pilgrims come here.

The wine list is emphatic and even if your pockets are not deep enough for the Hermitage ’91 La Chapelle at 600 euros or even the four variations on Morgon in an encyclopaedia put together by Pierre Vila Palleja, formerly of Ritz, Lasserre, Crillon etc that runs to 750+ examples of the finest in French viticulture, there are wines of the day by the glass (upwards of 10 euros) which are typically convincing to the notion that the French keep the best things to themselves.

The dining rooms is in the railway car by the station tradition of the capital, well schooled by a team who know where are they are coming from. Many people seem to come for steaks (well curated meats) and chips but there are more interesting old school dishes which marry even better with the wines like the bouef bourguignonne marinated for 24 hours for around 20 euros. Plus a few modern touches like this marinated salmon with seasonal vegetables.

To finish, the cafe gourmand amounts to an espresso with a small glass of chocolate cream, another of rice pudding and a slice…a riposte against gentrification of latte culture, old school.



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