It was way overdue. A night out. On our own. With dusk falling later on a clear Paris Spring Friday evening, I was meeting Antoine at the Brasserie Thoumieux. It was date night. Who says the French aren’t romantic?
Brasserie Thoumieux is on one of my favourite streets in Paris, rue Saint-Dominique in the 7th arrondissement. Not only is it dominated by the Eiffel Tower but it’s home to many other great eateries, patisseries, bakeries and chocolate shops. It’s also parallel to the quiet, hidden rue Bosquet, where we lived for 5 years. Twenty years on, walking around its neighbouring lively rue Cler, it’s filled with many more tourists than before and happy – often embarrassing – memories of being a newcomer in Paris. Moving swiftly on…
… like the waiters here. Service was attentive and swift but with enough time to peruse the interesting menu of chef Jean-François Piège. He’s perhaps more well known for being on the jury of France’s TopChef but he opened Thoumieux (also a restaurant and boutique hotel) with Thierry Costes, after leaving the hotel Crillon 5 years ago. Sipping on our apéritif (white Vinsobres wine – fun translation as sober wine!), we sat comfortably into the elegant Burgundy red velvety chairs while we spread the customary on-the-house smoked sardine rillettes (or pâté) on crusty bread, as we finally made our choices.
Antoine normally goes for brasserie classics, although here they had a fun twist like the legendary pizza soufflé to start. Chef Piège has put up the recipe here. As the first of the asparagus from Provence poked its head on the menu, I couldn’t resist trying them with this puff pastry flower-pot presentation. Slightly too sweet for me but loved the sauce mousseline and toasted hazelnuts. I’m definitely adding toasted hazelnuts to this asparagus clafoutis recipe (uses 4 egg yolks, macaron lovers!).
It’s hard to believe I was vegetarian for so long. As Antoine loved his French take on a hamburger served in paper, I took my time with the perfectly cooked pigeon (pigeonneau is a young pigeon). As you can tell from the terrible photos, there wasn’t much light and by dessert, it was impossible to shoot something worthy of its taste. I went for the simple Gariguette sweet strawberries with a mint emulsion, although I got a strong tang of lime rather than mint which was just as good. (Incidentally, Thoumieux sounds like tout mieux, meaning ‘everything’s better’).
What’s also surprising are the value-for-money prices for such an elegant address. The wine list is impressive and can rocket the bill but there are many by the glass and carafe options that are great value. Tables are not too close, either, so you can actually have a conversation at the table – although that Friday night it was perhaps different than usual but it was pleasantly calm. I’m definitely returning to try other tempting dishes and lure hubby on another date night.
And it goes without saying, an after-dinner stroll to the Eiffel Tower is a romantic must. When in Paris…
Like date nights, this post is also way overdue. Blame it on being cut off from the internet for nearly two weeks! Have you gone that long being disconnected? Ouf! It’s good to be back. Oh, and a quick disclaimer: all opinions are my own, this visit was purely personal and I was hubby’s guest.
Update 8 December:
I’m sad to report that on returning to the restaurant this weekend, we had an unlucky experience and feel you should be informed. We arrived with friends on a Saturday night, assuring them this was going to be great. No so. By 8.30pm they dramatically turn down the lights. So much so, it’s difficult to read the menu! And if it’s hard trying to read the menu, you can imagine that eating isn’t that much easier: we could hardly see what I was on our plates! Diners at neighbouring tables were also disturbed by this, as we were all fighting for more candles and using our mobile phone torches! Not one member of staff reacted to our asking for the lights to be turned up. What’s worse? Yes, I’m afraid to say it continues: the service was not nearly up to the same quality as the previous time. Sadly, we shall not be returning.
58 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
I found table reservations were easy by email via their website.
Open on Sundays and Mondays, too