I don't know how we've managed to do it but somehow we've brought the English rainy summer to Paris. Arriving this morning we're tired, not exactly jetlagged but feeling similarly so due to the early rise to catch the Eurostar. We're trying to find Drount, a Michelin starred restaurant and one of Paris's chicest restaurants neat the Opéra but of course we can't as the street that it sits on is not on any of our 4 maps. We finally find it, a light grey elegant building, with vivid blue Juliet balconies above.
Drouant is not just the centre for things culinary but also the centre for things related to Literature. Every year it hosts the Goncourt, Renaudot and Apollinaire awards (France's most prestigious Literature awards) on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors of the building. The baby of Antoine Westerman it's interior is given its zing by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann. We're greeted with broad smiles and deferential service. We have a few options for lunch, Drouant has a Plat du Jour for each day of the week- today it's stuffed provencal vegetables for an absolute steal at 20. There is also a 3 course menu for 43 as well as an la carte selection.
A friendly fellow diner sitting next to us, the helpful Monsieur De Ville, sees our confusion and offers his suggestions. He has just had the 43 3 course meal and whilst it sounds great, I am still full from breakfast so we have to decline. Monsieur de Ville has tried so many items on their menu except for today's Plat Du Jour and he explains that on Saturdays, there is an opportunity to meet some winemakers and enjoy a 3 course meal with 2 matching wines for 55.
Unusually, although we had read that Drouant does hors d'eovures sampler plates of 4 items, it appears that this is no longer the case. Monsieur de Ville, one of Drouant's more regular customers confirms this with them and is surprised at this. My husband settles on the Plat du Jour and I choose the Duck Livers with peach, one of the "exceptional items of the season".
Chateldon water 7
Apart from recommending us restaurants, he also suggests that they bring us the Chateldon water-the water that Louis XIV loved so much that he would order it be brought up to him at great trouble and is in such a limited production that it is only available at finer establishments like this. He flags down the manager who is bringing us regular sparkling to ask him to get us this one. It is actually markedly better which even my husband echoes (hopefully I haven't created my own Louis XIV!).
Bread and butter
Stuffed provencal vegetables 20
Our meals arrive, the stuffed provencal vegetables look spectacular and fairly substantial. The eggplant, zucchini and capsicum are stuffed with a combination of pork and finely diced vegetables, in fact my mother makes something very similar at home, sauce and all!
Duck Liver with peaches 26
The duck liver with peaches are tender and lovely with a seared outer. I am ambivalent about strongly flavoured liver but this is so cleverly done as to reduce the strong liver taste. The peaches are a wonderful complement to it and are dressed with coriander. Even my husband, skittish with organs, is blissful eating this.
We're too full for dessert, not used to eating this much for lunch although the desserts sound wonderful. We instead sip the Chateldon sparkling water, feeling just like Louis XIV and nibble on the delicious Petit Fours, sweet stewed candied orange slices and dark chocolate squares.
Napoleon's Apartment, The Louvre
And speaking of over the top, I leave you with some photos of Napoleon's apartment at the Louvre. A little over the top, but I'd say yes to that Dining Room any day!
Napoleon's Dining Room, The Louvre
Napoleon's Dining Room, The Louvre
16 Rue Gaillon, 2nd arrondisement (8 minutes walk from the Louvre)
Open: Monday to Sunday 12-3pm, 7pm - Midnight