A friend invited my mom and I to spend Wednesday afternoon in her quartier (area) for some serious retail therapy. Rosemary Rodriguez who is the creative director of Thierry Mugler, had several vente-privée invites to the fashion boutiques nearby. It was a pity then that we had to cancel our afternoon rendez-vous to allow my mom to take a little rest before dinner and so we agreed to meet her later instead.
We went to Rosemary’s apartment at around seven and had a drink. Her mother was supposed to join us but couldn’t, so it was just the three of us for a mid-week girl’s night. After several cold glasses of rosé Champagne, we brisk walked over to Glou as we were already late for our 9 o’clock booking.
Glou is the hip bistro of the moment in the very trendy Marais (3rd arrondissement), mostly loved (Le Figaro’s food critic Francois Simon) but sometimes misunderstood by those who’ve already been. A partnership between Julien Fouin, founder and ex-editor-in-chief of foodie magazine Régal and now with Cuisine TV, and film producer Ludovic Dardenay, it’s gotten lots of coverage ever since it opened early this year.
We arrived to a very packed restaurant and were led to several seats in the middle of one of the two large communal tables that are the focal point of the place. More New York in style than Paris with exposed bricks, high tables, pendant lamps and metal steps leading to more tables upstairs, the place was nevertheless filled with a very French crowd of chic young things and bobos (bourgeois bohemians). This is the kind of place where English is hardly heard (for now at least).
We settled into our slightly uncomfortable high bar stools and looked through the menu which listed a few starters, sharing charcuterie (cold cuts) plates of jamon Iberico and chorizo which seems to be the IN thing in Paris at the moment as I noticed many restaurants had Iberian ham on their menus. Five or six main courses plus a blackboard (again) of specials. Two things make Glou stand out – the first is the emphasis on organic ingredients and the second is the cruvinet (wine dispenser and storage system) that has a dozen bottles of special wines, 6 whites and 6 reds, available by the glass. That evening for example, there was a Cote-Rotie and a Chambolle Musigny in the reds section alone. My mom chose a glass of Riesling while Rosemary and I let our very amiable server decide on a light Pinot Noir for us.
Our shared starter was the sardinillas, tiny sardines, that were accompanied by lettuce hearts and some sun-dried tomatoes. Served with a basket of sourdough brown bread it was a nice simple appetizer of good quality sardines, nothing more nothing less.
The place was buzzing with atmosphere and quite noisy with most people striking up conversations with those seated beside them which is what usually happens when communal tables are involved. The trio to our left were having their desserts by the time our main courses arrived and were curious to see what we had chosen just as we wanted to know what they were having for dessert. Soon, we were served our main dishes – the fish special of sauteed bar (bass) served with polenta and a split tomato with mozzarella for me, the vegetarian platter for Rosemary and the daurade (sea bream) with bulgur for my mom.
My fish was fresh and simply cooked, served with a light butter-based sauce, Rosemary’s vegetarian platter was composed of five quenelles (dollops) of vegetable purees – aubergine, ratatouille, beets, tapenade and tomatoes. All were light and delicious, again something quite simple made with good ingredients. My mom’s sea bream was the best dish of the three – covered in black and white sesame seeds which made a crispy coating, the fish was light and flaky and served with a tasty mix of tomatoes, peppers, onions and bulgur.
We debated on whether or not to have dessert and finally opted to try one of the few listed as Glou also had two desserts made in the style of other foodie personalities like Irish chef Trish Deseine whose chocolate pudding we finally chose. The typical molten chocolate cake served with a caramel sauce, we split it into three and finished it in a few minutes. Extra flavorful Bio-Verveine infusions (herbal tea) for my mom and Rosemary and for me a bio-cafe (organic coffee) espresso served with bio-sucre (organic brown sugar) and even bio-chocolat (organic dark chocolate) to end the meal.
We enjoyed our dinner immensely and especially the company of Rosemary. The conversation flowed and all throughout the evening and the restaurant stayed packed and noisy with diners obviously having a great time just like we were. Go to Glou for a fun evening with friends, simple Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and lots of wonderful interesting wines by the glass. As it says right under the restaurant’s name – cuisine et vins sympathiques (nice cuisine and nice wines) and that’s exactly what this modern bistro is all about. Nothing more and nothing less.
101, rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris
Tel: +33 1 42 74 44 32
Open for lunch and dinner daily except Tuesdays
*Be warned though that un peu de Francais is probably essential for more efficient service.