It’s Thursday — so take a breath, keep calm — and just go get yourself a banging soufflé (which is the past participle of the word “breath,” or “puff” in French) — at this cute and classic restaurant tucked into a discreet, pedestrian street behind the Bon Marché.
Here, veteran chef Gérard Idoux, who previously owned La Cigale and worked in high-end Parisian restaurants like Alain Ducasse du Plaza Athénée and Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower, has devoted his life to making the most sublime, fluffiest and tastiest eggy treats of this type in Paris — the soufflé — a French staple which is the culinary equivalent of a little, light ray of sunshine.
Don’t we all need that in our lives right now? Yes? Then read on.
Idoux has also published a cookbook — aptly titled “Soufflés” — which, not surprisingly, is all about how to best make these savoury and sweet puffs of perfection; which originated in early 18th century France as a delicacy for kings and queens, shot to popularity in the 1960s thanks to the likes of James Beard and Julia Child, and have since become staples in kitchens all over the world, as well as food favourites of celebrities from Helena Bonham Carter, to Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve.. Michelle Obama even once famously insisted on learning how to cook a soufflé from Idoux himself.
Needless to say, Idoux has been at the soufflé game for a while (over three decades to be more precise) — so he’s the perfect person to answer that eternal question: “how not to flop” — at least when it comes to pastries.
From cheese, to rich & decadent chocolate, to the golden, caramel salted butter kind; and even an impressive Grand Marnier creation — which (apparently) comes with the bottle placed on your table to add that last perfect touch — if you’re feeling a little less than perky this week, and want a warm place to sit, and a snack which will lift your spirits — then this place is the ticket for a much-needed break from it all, and in beautiful surroundings to boot.
The restaurant itself is super cosy, modelled in the style of an elegant French bistro, and nestled into a courtyard away from the pollution and hustle and bustle of the city, with a sheltered terrace and pretty interiors embellished by French architect, city planner and designer, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, with walls which are adorned with framed quotes by Milan Kundera.
As a massive plus, it’s also one of the rare restaurants in Paris where your table will be far enough from other guests, to allow you some privacy while you tuck into your sweet or savoury treat.
As expected — this place often draws the attention and appetites of everyone from politicians, writers and other famous citizens of a Parisian Left Bank — so you’ll be in top company when and if you decide to dine there — and you might have to wait for a table.. But it’s worth it.
Idoux knows what he’s doing.
Perfect for: A light & uplifting lunch or chilly afternoon pit-stop where you can dine in style and comfort with super Frenchie friends. They won’t be disappointed!
What to order: Soufflé! Salted for main and sweet for dessert — magnifique.
Address: 4 Rue Récamier 75007 Paris (Google Maps)
Trading hours: Monday-Sunday: 12PM - 11PM.