I’ve got the perfect Parisian Brasserie for you…a buzzy atmosphere, great food and a classic interior…exactly what you’re looking for when you come to the French capital…
As soon as we walked into Benoit we were greeted by a lovely bar and a stunning selection of cheeses and pastries on the counter.
Wooden panelling, red velvet chairs, tiled floor and white table clothes, all those touches that are synonymous with a traditional French bistro. And with that interior comes honest food and wine, lacking in pretension and first-rate in terms of taste. Benoit actually opened in 1912 and has remained a timeless classic ever since…for 93 years it was owned by the Petit family and passed down the generations until 2005 when it was sold to celebrated chef Alain Ducasse.
Ducasse carefully modernised the restaurant so that it still maintained the rustic charm and intimacy fostered by the Benoit family, whilst elevating the food so that the restaurant has become the only Parisian bistro to be awarded a Michelin star.
We started with a glass of Alain Ducasse’s own champagne, with a beautifully dry taste, the champagne was created by Lanson House especially for Alain Ducasse to serve in his restaurants.
I loved the beautiful big white plates with the floral detail and Benoit’s branding; the perfect crockery to eat these deliciously light and fluffy gougères from. If you haven’t had gougères before there are basically savoury choux pastry mixed with cheese and totally heavenly.
Though I love bread I try not to eat too much at home, so I was really looking forward to a hearty French baguette slathered in butter, and Benoit’s really hit the spot. They were very generous and refilled the basket for us after we’d devoured that bread with its delicious crisp crust.
We were also given some complimentary foie gras on crisp breads, I’m not a lover of the rich pate but Mr S really enjoyed the little canapés.
It was freezing outside and a hearty, creamy crayfish soup with chives was the ideal winter warmer for Mr S. He does love a good soup…
I was a little disappointed that Benoit’s menu was a little limited and there weren’t many starters that I fancied, so apologies for my lack of variety and choosing smoked salmon again. However, it was a very decent portion size and the salmon was firm and succulent. It was served with a very tasty potato salad, as you can see from the picture when I saw the potatoes I thought they looked dry and overcooked but actually they were perfectly prepared and went really well with the salmon.
I ordered steamed John Dory with shellfish for main, a delicious dish with perfectly cooked fish but I’m afraid too creamy for me and Mr S and I ended up swapping meals.
The venison was superb, beautifully rare and served with juniper and Grand Veneur sauce. Portions were huge and there was no pretty, artsy presentation, just good, hearty French food. Though we very full from our rich dishes we couldn’t resist the lure of the profiteroles…
Just look at that glorious vat of chocolate….don’t you just want to dive right in?
We really enjoyed eating these fondue style and of course we both double (well triple…) dipped. The delicious choux buns also came with a quenelle of vanilla ice-cream …hot chocolate sauce and ice cream has to be my absolute childhood favourite.
We also received another going home present in the form of some chocolates and sweets from the restaurant – great to take back and munch on while reliving the happy memories of Benoit.
20, rue Saint Martin
+33 01 42 72 25 76