Blogging Up The Works

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Tale of Two Eateries - Day 2

Our Saturday night meal was the focal point of the weekends visit. A joint 60th birthday party for the two hosts. Somewhere special needed to be found and the place chosen was Le Charlot.

Le Charlot

Le Charlot is definitely a destination restaurant. Seafood being it's raison d'etre.
Designed in the Belle Epoque style there are mirrors everywhere, walls, ceilings, cabinets. Whether this is to make the place look bigger, more opulent, or to let the waiters check their appearance every 5 minutes it is hard to tell. This photo is taken in the waiting area. A place we were to spend some time in as they had managed to lose the booking for the 13 of us. Perhaps the number of diners should have warned us! To be fair, they managed to rearrange things so we could dine but fitting in a party of 13 can't be easy on a Saturday night unless of course you are not as busy as you would like. They also provided free aperitifs because of the wait, but only for the 6 who turned up first and discovered the error.

The delay however gave us a chance to peruse the menu. Expensive sums it up pretty well. A normal main course costing anything from a miserly £30 to a more wallet busting £70. Of course, for those on a limited budget, you can buy your clams individually at only €5 each! Luckily there was a fixed price menu of £22 for two courses, or £27 for 3. Our hostess had booked us in for those. Phew!

As I mentioned yesterday, I chose the Meli Melo as a starter.
And pleasant as this was it didn't match the extravagance of the starter yesterday. This of course being more of a nouvelle cuisine version. At least they got the starter right. When it came to the main course though things went awry again. I ordered Quenelles on the understanding from the waitress that it contained no cheese, not any at all, not even the teeniest weeniest bit. It turned up smothered in cheese. Whilst deciding what the French for "you blithering idiot" was one of the other guests said he would swap with me. Problem solved and very nice it was but I did feel a bit guilty he'd been deprived of his first choice. For dessert our French host had ordered birthday cake and the restaurant kindly placed that in the same box as the table booking, so another black mark for Le Charlot. To make up, they cobbled together a couple of desserts and stuck sparklers in them. Passable enough but not exactly the highlight of a birthday meal as the cake may well have been.
Wine of course was drunk but our hosts picked up the tab so that was rather generous as the wine was as expensive as you would expect in such an establishment. That being the case, it ended up slightly cheaper than the night before but nowhere near as good value.

Unfortunately, Le Charlot appears to have done what too many high profile restaurants do and believe it's own hype. This usually means they rest on their laurels and don't see their reputation falling away. Maybe we just hit them on an off night, or series of off nights if you count the booking fiasco as well, but if you have one night in Paris and you want somewhere to eat, La Vieux Belleville is definitely the one to go for!


  • Wot, no frog's legs?

    By Blogger Masher, At 6:47 AM  

  • It is surprising how things go so badly wrong even in up-market eateries.

    As Masher says, no frog's legs? I love those, last eaten in Bourge en Bresse.

    By Blogger Toffeeapple, At 3:32 PM  

  • Indeed. No frogs legs. And not even the temptation to tell the old waiter joke! And I must admit I've never had them. Rarely ever seen them on a menu.

    By Blogger kennamatic, At 5:14 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home