Arrived before noon to the Hotel Le Saint Gregoire where we were greeted by Francois and shown to our room. As soon as we set the bags down, we headed off to St. Germain stopping by Pôilane for a few croissants to eat on our way. We went straight to classic men’s store Arthur et Fox alongside the Lipp for some tailored shirts then to Formes for me to stock up on funky maternity wear to last me through the Marbella summer.
As soon as that was done, we made our way to our lunch booking at Les Fables de la Fontaine. It’s one of the four restaurants ex-Crillon executive chef Christian Constant owns on Rue Saint Dominique in the 7th arrondissement. The tiny restaurant is off a quaint courtyard with a fountain (hence the name). The menu items are listed on a board and focus on fish and seafood prepared by Basque chef Sebastien Gravé.
We ordered the set lunch menu at 35€ (2-courses: either starter and main or main and dessert) and a glass of Brouilly. A few minutes after we ordered, suited businessmen from the quartier started to arrive and soon the 22-seat restaurant was full.
A basket of sourdough bread was given to us along with an amuse-bouche in a shot glass of mousse de foie gras de canard with sun-dried tomatoes, croutons and cucumber. Our starters came after – gazpacho with red shrimps for me and the prawn and oyster tartar with an iodine mousse for A. The gazpacho was perfectly seasoned with bits of red pepper, cucumbers and several large shrimps while A’s tartar was refreshingly cool and filled with flavours of the sea.
There was some confusion with the second course and instead of me getting the red mullet fillets with crispy sardines, artichokes and tomato puree, we both got my husband’s order of the seared bacon-wrapped pollack fish served with green asparagus and Parmesan and chanterelles mushrooms. I was too hungry to wait for the chef to make me the main course I ordered so we both had the same fish dish. In comparison to the starters, the fish was bland and the asparagus and wild mushrooms were the dominating flavours of the dish while the fish seemed like a garnish.
Luckily, the desserts were good – a simple bitter chocolate mousse for A and the fraises de bois with vanilla creme fraiche and red fruit coulis for me. The mousse which was served in a coffee cup was decadently rich while my fruit dessert was served in 4 tiny containers each holding the tiny, sweet wild strawberries, the cold whipped vanilla-flavoured fresh cream, the red fruit sauce and an extra of crunchy ground nuts for texture. We had a nice lunch and decided to go to the Trocadero, walk down avenue Victor Hugo to do some leche-vitrine (window-licking a.k.a. window shopping) then have our post-meal espresso at a café with a view of the Eiffel tower. What a great way to spend one’s first day in Paris.
Les Fables de La Fontaine
131, rue Saint-Dominique
7th arrondissement Paris
Tel: +33 01 44 18 37 55
Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm
Dinner: 19.15 – 23hrs
Open every day
Average price: 45€ including wine
*** Food – simple seafood dishes prepared with flair
*** Atmosphere – tiny but modern, if you’re not used to the cramped eating-style of the French, sit in one of their outdoor tables instead.
**** Service – friendly and efficient