Bouillon Pigalle – Paris – France
God knows I had my preconceptions about this restaurant which, in a short time, managed to get far so many praising articles.
I didn’t push the door of my own but following a family reunion.
Exceptional luck, I avoided the frightening queue managed more than disorderly.
Without corrupting anyone, we were placed on the terrace of the first floor, thus avoiding the noisy lower room.
Last but not least, taking advantage of the “license to kill” that I had recently been granted to me by Her Majesty’s Secret Service, I obtained the server’s agreement to exterminate the neighboring smokers.
So we can start looking at the menu.
Let’s be clear, for Paris the rates are awfully ridiculous. I will explain why at the end of the article.
An aperitif because in a spirit of authenticity, the House gives a chance to some forgotten products such as Saint-Raphaël, Salers or Lillet. It’s so good! I applaud with both hands.
Then the marrow bones. For the price (3.90 euros), you have your small two pieces. Not the best in the world, but we can’t complain. Quality bread (Poujauran) and coarse salt are the necessary accompaniments.
And now the calf’s head. And I bow. Obviously, we’re not on a handmade gribiche with all the love of the world. But still on a quality product. The flesh is very well cooked, with excellent taste. Not convinced that the meat comes only from the head, but I am not a butcher, so I do not insist. Obviously, at this rate, don’t expect brains or language.
But not everything is going well in the best of all worlds. Tartar is a disaster. Flooded with ketchup, you can imagine the effect of eating raw meat filled with sweet tomato sauce. Onions and pickles prepared in advance are carelessly thrown on the meat. It is a challenge to demand Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and tabasco.
But I have to recognize; it will be the only disaster of the evening.
The rib steak is a beautiful piece served rare as requested. The same goes for cold roast beef. The meat is tender and much better than in many famous restaurants.
The desserts are in the same style, of the rather qualitative product, whether for rum baba, chocolate éclair or big profiterole.
So what can we conclude from all this? Does this mean that all the other Parisian restaurants are cheating you by selling plates with the same titles but two to three times more expensive?
Sometimes yes, but there is a recipe.
If the establishment does not shy away from the bread by supplying Jean-Luc Poujauran’s excellent products, it knows how to make cheeseparing economies.
Thus, marrow bones are not sections cut in the center but rather on the head and bottom of the femur. Or small animal parts. They are therefore less dense or too thin for a typical restaurant.
The potatoes are served unpeeled. Tartar condiments are mixed in advance. The butter is extra, a practice that had already made me scream at the Comptoir du Relais.
Most desserts seem to have a ready-made purchased base.
But despite everything, the main thing is not there. Most liquids, wines, beers, orange juice, but also Perrier, Vittel, Coca, and Icetea are served in open bottles at the volumes defined by the restaurant, ranging from a quarter to 3-litre Jeroboam. They thus make a considerable saving on closed bottles (orders, handling, personnel, etc.) by filling the volumes in fountains and eliminating all handling of sealed bottles. These savings offset the lower margin on solids.
We notice the only time-consuming liquid station, the cafeteria, remains with rates that are less discounted than everything else.
This paragraph is by no means a criticism of the method of operation. It is brilliant management that allows us to offer dishes of a sincere quality at exciting prices.
However, there is a reverse of the medal, with some flaws.
First of all, the decor has only an authentic name. It’s quite cold. The lighting is quite disastrous, especially on the first floor. We are waiting for posters other than those that cover the column. All this is profoundly lacking in patina. And letting the ceilings deteriorate is not a solution.
Secondly, there is a need for a high rotation of the tables. You’re not here to sit at the table for three hours.
Come on, a little luxury, there are candles on the tables anyway. But you have to light them yourself. There is no small profit.
Then waiting queue management can be chaotic. Only an experienced professional can do this. A “good” one is indeed expensive. And with a large time range, they need two.
Then, being a waiter is already a difficult job. Under these conditions, we can assume a relatively high rotation due to the abandonment under the pressure of the load.
As for the cuisine, we are more in a chain plate presentation than in Haute gastronomy (which the restaurant does not claim to do).
The fundamental element remains : qualitative monitoring in the supply of products. Today, I must admit that our owners do not seem to have given up and continue to favor quality over an increase in their margin.
My colleague from “restossurlegrill” had been a little disappointed with the red wine he drank a year ago. For my part, the Côte-du-Rhône and the Rosé du Var IGP that I drank were correct.
I go back to my initial feeling and bow to a concept that is a bit marketing but which, for the moment, provides an excellent quality/price ratio.
As Letizia Bonaparte used to say: “Let’s hope it stays that way!!!”
Bill of 120.20 euros for two adults and three children.
P.S.: to those who will retort to me that I’m stupid; that they’ve seen articles from journalists (some very famous) that everything is 100% Homemade, I would like to tell them that this appellation is up-and-coming in marketing. Can you explain to me why the founders do not indicate it on their menu or their website?
Oculos habent et non videbunt, aures habent et non audient, nasum habent et non odorabuntur.
Tel: 00 33 1 42 59 69 31
Addrese: 22 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris