October 13, 2014
If I lived in Paris I'd be at Au Passage a lot. Casual, comfortable, raucous and delicious, this little wine bar/bistro is the perfect place to fall into when you're hungry but not in the mood for an enormous, expensive deal.
The menu, as you can plainly see, is written on the blackboard. What you can't see is that it changes throughout the night. Order fast – or what you want will have disappeared, replaced by who knows what. Toward midnight (they're open late) there may be very few dishes still on offer.
What the food shares is a basic simplicity. The chefs – one Brit, one Aussie and a young woman from the Phillipines – have worked with chefs like Fergus Henderson and Heston Blumenthal, so it's an informed simplicity that gives you dishes like this superb little rectangle of cod served with carrots two ways:
Raw scallops, sliced and topped with homemade XO sauce:
or just a plate of excellent saucisson seche, with bread, butter and pickled banana peppers.
There are a couple of larger dishes, including a hefty shoulder of lamb and one of the most irresistible little chickens it has ever been my pleasure to eat:
The little coquelet was gorgeously cooked, still moist, with a bowl of tiny potatoes and that wonderful aioli to slather across it.
Different potatoes – floppy fresh frites – came with a square of pig's head, steamed to creamy softness, boned, breaded and fried into delirious deliciousness:
Lovely vegetables too, like this plate of chard with a gently poached egg:
There's an affordable winelist, filled with wines from small producers. And graffitti like this to pass, as you walk home, through the 11th arrondissement.
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