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9 May

A Late Dinner at 202 Rivoli, Paris

The interior is a standard-type fair with dark mahogany-esque tables with linen runners and tiny pots of some plant or other.

My dining companion, Maiken, had taken the liberty of ordering for us, as I had dashed from a late yoga class, and no sooner had I shoved my mat out of sight did my food arrive (don’t you just love when that happens?) and we could begin. I for one was ravenous.

Warm coconut and red curry velouté

We started with the warm coconut milk and red curry velouté, served with crispy prawn skewers and the parmesan and poppy seed sablé with seasonal vegetables in a truffle oil vinaigrette. It’s always tricky when ordering prawns as we never really know whether we’ll be served something that is truly delicious or a rubbery imitation of something that perhaps once was a prawn in a former life. However, I can attest that the prawns were very well cooked indeed, and it is always a delight to have something crisped with proper panko crumbs. Top marks for the service here, too. The velouté was poured by our waiter and was then topped up when we have slurped our way through the first serving.

Parmesan and poppy seed biscuit, served with seasonal vegetables in a truffle oil vinaigrette

The vegetarian option was actually pretty scrumptious; the vegetables were seasoned well and the parmesan and poppy seed biscuit was a crumbly delight. Perhaps a smidgen overkill with the parmesan shavings as well as a very cheesy biscuit but I get it – it’s as much a part of the presentation as it is a matter of taste. Speaking of presentation, the vegetables were turned to perfection, with a selection of artichoke hearts, baby carrots -tops included, and courgettes. I could probably have done without the teeny tiny dollops of balsamic reduction around the plate. Maiken, on the other hand who eats mostly plant based dishes, thought it was a bit bland for the vegetarian starter option.

Sea bass filets, served with butter beans and clams

Sea bass filets, served with butter beans and clams

For our mains, we chose the Just seared bass filet with beans and clams and the seared French filet of beef, with a pasta and chanterelle mushroom risotto. Described as cuit au sautoir on the menu, the French savvy among us would know that this means pan-seared, however, a word to the wise, Google Translate will tell you that this means “baked necklace” (?!). Though I would have expected a fish knife, the fish plate was perfectly delectable. I can’t say much for the “just seared” aspect of the fish because, for me, it was somewhat overcooked but the beans with the clams were as comforting as you’d expect with a healthy amount of the clams to be discovered.

The filet was enjoyable and, as someone who generally avoids risotto, I found the side to be most pleasant. Again a lack of appropriate cutlery, I found my self sawing into my meat without a steak knife, but maybe I’m just that picky. Having asked the waiter to suggest a glass of wine to accompany each of the respective main courses, a Sancerre, Val de Loire 2015 went very well with the fish. Maiken, who generally avoids red wine, marveled at the Chateaux du Hâ, 2012 Bordeaux.

Chocolate mousse served with cream

Chocolate mousse served with cream

As we had arrived late in the evening, we were informed that the chef had in fact departed before we had been served our desserts. I was rather looking forward to the Pistachio Crème Brûlée, and so was understandably disappointed. Nevertheless, my disappointment was short lived as our kind waitstaff presented us with other deserts usually reserved for the Hotel Room service. A chocolate mousse and fruit filled crepe was a touch too heavy after our rich courses but enjoyable all the same. To quote Maiken “MMM! That’s sex!” so not bad at all it seems…

Crepe filled with fruits

DECOR:  ★★★


Anna Deutsch
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