Monday, September 20, 2010

El Fogon (Paris, France)

Before going to have our last dinner in Paris (heading back to Bangkok); we decided to go have an apéritif at a very popular hang out. La Palette a café/ bar in the 6th arrondissement which has been there for many many years. The location is great; very close to the St. Germain church.

La Palette is always buzzing with a young and hip crowd. It it easy going and basically a nice place to have a drink. The staff there defiantly maintains old-fashioned Parisian traditions that haven't changed much since the days of Picasso and Braque. A bustle of comings and goings makes La Palette an insider's version of a battered, artistically evocative Latin Quarter café.

We had a glass of white wine.

The key reason why we chose La Palette for an apéritif was because it was walking distance to our restaurant.

Address: 43 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
Tel: 33-1-43-26-68-15

The restaurant for our last dinner in Paris was the 'one & only' El Fogon. El Fogon is the Paris 1-star Michelin restaurant that puts Spain on a plate. Chef Alberto Herraiz chose to put a certain geographical distance between himself and his native Spain. This distance paradoxically results in a 'purer' more authentic cuisine liberated from the need to be exotic. He has created a whole new approach to tapas. Spain old culinary tradition. (

We chose the 44euro rice menu vs. the 35euro tapas menu. We wanted to have a more hearty dish rather than just tapas for dinner.

We love Spanish wines for their purity & drinkability. The Paisajes was a modern, declassified Rioja at its best. Purple in colour, it delivered a classic nose of cassis and blackberry. On the palate, the wine was full-bodied, ripe, nicely balanced and firmly structured. The wine had a long finish. Oh; and I do have to mention that the new labels coming out of Spain are very artistic, eye-catching and involving. The labels are so nice that they have become talking points. Typical of Spain to be in the forefront of wine labeling. They already did it with their fashion, architecture and of course, food. However; we thought the wines on the wine list were damn expensive; especially when we know the true cost of Spanish wines...but we did not let the price ruin the dinner.

The amuse bouche was cold water melon with seasonal herbs. You would think this is way too simple; but the amazing thing about this amuse bouche was that it was refreshing and the flavours woke up our palettes for the dinner to come.

The first dish was a mix of tapas. Each tapas stood out on its own in terms of colour, texture and flavour. Nicely done.

The next dish was a cup of cream artichoke. A lovely & simple way to cleanse our palette before the main dish. The soup was creamy, velvey & rich in flavour.

The main dish was Paella with Seafood. We actually had a very bad experience in Madrid where supposedly we were suppose to have had the best paella in Madrid; which turned out to be the worst thing we ever ate. It turned us off from paella for a very long time. However; we were told that the paella at Le Fogon was out of this world so we had to try it.

The rice was cooked to perfection; it was soft on the outside but yet had a slight crunch to it in the middle. The seafood was so fresh and tasted to good and the sauce for the paella was perfectly incorporated with the rice & seafood. Not only did it look like a masterpiece when it arrived on the table; it tasted wonderful. We ate the whole thing which could have fed a family.

The Jamón ibérico hanging in a glass case like a piece of art. Genius!

Overall; the service was really good. The girl who was serving was very patient in explaining the menu and the details of each dish. She was pleasant and knowledgeable about Spanish wines (which is a good thing). The food was amazing. I would have to agree that this is so far the best Spanish food in Paris.

Address: 45 Quai des Grands Augustins
75006 Paris
Tel.: 01 43 54 31 33

Valet parking service, except on Sundays.

Le Fogón is open every day except Monday.
Tuesday to Friday: 7pm to midnight.
Saturday and Sunday: noon to 2.30pm and 7pm to midnight.

Nearby car parking:
Rivoli Pont neuf: 4 rue du Pont Neuf, Paris 1st.
Mazarine: 27 rue Mazarine, Paris 6th.

Saint-Michel: line 4
Mabillon: line 10

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