After seeing that Eurostar were running a promotion that would get me a return ticket from London to Paris for less than $50 return, I knew I had to make the most of my time in Europe and squeeze in a quick visit when I was back in the UK earlier this month.
As much as I love planning things in advance, sometimes it can be far more fun just to leave things to chance and go with the flow and apart from booking my hotel, I went to Paris with no real plans as such, simply to walk around and enjoy myself, and of course to be sure to eat some great food.
As I enjoyed a beautiful summers afternoon walking around the Tuilleries, I took to Twitter to ask advice on any “not to miss” restaurants and one of my go-to’s for restaurant advice, Chris Prowler (@Prowlergram) mentioned that one of his favourites for fun, fuss free dining was “Au Passage” that serendipitously happened to be just a short walk from the bar I had planned to visit before dinner!
Au Passage only takes reservations for the early evening, meaning that guests arrive from 9:30pm onwards have a good chance of getting a walk-in table without too much of a wait, I was lucky enough to arrive as a couple were leaving & was seated immediately.
After a quick glance at the wines available by the glass/carafe I decided I would go with a carafe of their house rose, a 2016 Cotes Catalanes that was the perfect summers evening wine to suit my mood, not to mention my meal.
Their menu lists around 20 options from a 7Eu Chicken and Pork Terrine to a 120 Eu Cote du Boeuf, although most dishes were firmly in the more accessible 10Eu – 20Eu range. The waitress recommended 2-3 dishes and so after much debate, and taking her recommendations into account, I finally narrowed my choices down to three or the small plates; “Oeuf, Chou Fleur, Amande Fumee, Oeuf Truite” (10Eu) followed by the “Chinchard, Tomatoes, Abricots, Coques” (11Eu) and the “Tarte Oignon, Creme Cru” (8Eu) to finish.
The “Oeuf, Chou Fleur, Amande Fumee, Oeuf Truite” was a lovely, light summery plate of thinly sliced raw cauliflower with grated egg, almonds and briny trout roe to cut through the richness of the egg. I would honestly have never have thought of that combination of flavours but they really worked beautifully together and I loved the dish.
Next up was the “Chinchard, Tomatoes, Abricots, Coques”; raw mackerel with slices of tomato and apricots with cockles which seemed to be served in the juices from the cockles, or a light chilled seafood broth. Again, I really liked the unusual flavour combinations with the sweet apricots and tart tomatoes waiting nicely against the oily mackerel but I was happy to have something more substantial coming for my main course as it was another very light and definitely more suited as an appetiser.
The last of my small plates was the “Tarte Oignon”, or Caramelised Onion Tarte Tatin which was absolutely perfect and probably tied with the cauliflower for my favourite dish of the trip. The onions had only just been caramelised so it retained more of an earthy flavour than sweet which I think can often be the case with dishes like this, and I loved the simple raw cream accompaniment.
All in all, with a carafe of wine my bill came to 45Eu or $50 which I thought was good value for what I had ordered. The restaurant had a really great buzzy atmosphere and the service staff were really on the ball and very pleasant, something that is certainly not always a given in Paris! If you are around Le Marais/ Bastille then I would whole heartedly recommend dinner at Au Passage.
Nearest Metro – Saint Sebastien-Froissart/Filles du Calvaire
Open Monday – Saturday 7pm-11:30pm