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When Gastronomy Reaches the Realm of Astronomy

Posted by Martin T. on 05/29/2004 10:18:07 AM

So the reason we only spent an afternoon in Ghent was that we were staying in Paris for a week and our hotel was already paid for because we had had a crazily cheap plane/hotel deal. A part from all the wonderful musueum-hopping and plain walking around this majestic city setting, we of course partook of a few beers. Here are a few highlights:

Taverne St-Germain

Very typical Parisian brasserie, with excellent French "pub grub" and an unusually long French beer list. For lunch, I had the "Andouillette de Troyes" (yes, those were intestines Joris later confirmed) and we proceeded to trying that expansive beer list. We first order Barbe Torte and Bâton de Feu. Two good French beers, nothing outstanding but intriguing flavors nonetheless in a sadly thin body covered with spices. Next flight is more problematic though. We try to order Oc'Ale Blanche. After a few minutes, "Sorry, we don't have anymore of that one". All right then, how about Loirette? After a few minutes, "Sorry we don't have anymore...You know, these small breweries cannot supply us with their beers all-year long". I totally understand that. But can't you update your menu once in a while? I didn't say that out loud, but I sent waves of frustration towards him. I hope he can read eyes. Anyway, we then ordered Mutine Ambrée and Blonde de Bourgogne. We got Mutine Ambrée and Duchesse de Bourgogne. Arggh!! A few minutes later, I finally got the Blonde de Bourgogne. Not that I don't like the Duchesse (quite the contrary in fact) but I can get that one at home, so the adventurous beer-discoverer had taken over my usual self for that day. All in all, a nice lunch at convenient prices for Paris, with a nice beer list which could be updated much more often to avoid these disagreeable moments.

Bières Spéciales

Later on, we went to the Bières Spéciales beer store near the Père Lachaise cemetery. The store was closed from 1 to 4pm but we had gotten there at around 3:45. So we waited in a nearby park until 4-4:15. When we got to the door again, the owner was not there yet (not surprising of course) and we were soon welcomed by a roaming German Shepherd. He gives us a good smell and runs back to an open door nearby. Out comes this rugged, humpbacked fellow straight out of Lord of the Rings. He is the owner of the store! Good doggy!! Very good doggy!!! So we proceeded to meet a very passionate man who is upholding the beer fort in a city where beer is synonymous with afternoon drinks for the lower class. A very good French micro selection in this store, although I admit I was a bit underwhelmed. I was expecting to see at least 75% of all French micros there, but got maybe 15%. Still, more than enough to fill the back pack with rarities and come back with a pleasant feeling of having seen a unique and generous man.

Le Grain d'Orge

Dinner, the night before leaving Paris. Restaurant Grain d'Orge, near the Arc de Triomphe. This is where my title reaches my post. This excellent and warm restaurant is one of the very few outside of Belgium to marry delicate, artistic cuisine with beers to match it. A very special thanks to John White for highlighting this place to the beer community. A few 750ml bottles adorned the desk upon entering and we soon discovered a smallish and adorable restaurant with a chef working his kitchen like a master brewer. The Filet de Maatjes (yes, unspawned herring) was majestuous and the Waterzooi de la mer was simply delicious. There was no beer cuisine though like advertised on the outside menu, no Lapin à Gueuze or Foie Gras de Canard à la Kriek for that evening dinner. Too bad, we'll have to go back another time. We had a bottle of Grain d'Orge with dinner and a Cantillon Kriek before dessert. Note that you have to ask them for another beer as they never offered something else to me or Marie-Eve. The only thing which could be improved from this place in my opinion. The beer list was excellent, basic Cantillons, Rocheforts, Van Eecke products, Angélus, Rouge Flamande from Thiriez, etc. Like John said, no duds at all. Well maybe Mort Subite ;) The dinner menu (appetizer, main course and dessert) was 32 euros, tax and service included. Drinks are not included of course. The only place I have met such good cuisine paired with excellent beer (outside of Belgium again) is at the Fourquet Fourchette, Unibroue's restaurant in Chambly, Québec. A must stop if you like gourmet food and gourmet beer all at once. I know there are a few like that here ;O)

Martin

When Gastronomy Reaches the Realm of Astronomy - Martin T., 05/29/04 10:18:07 AM
        Re: When Gastronomy Reaches the Realm of Astronomy - Loren, 06/01/04 07:29:50 AM
        Thanks Martn, an excellent report - Jeremy Gray, 05/31/04 01:55:57 PM
        Taverne St-Germain - Dick, 05/30/04 04:56:17 PM
                Re: Taverne St-Germain - John White, 05/31/04 07:52:21 AM
                        Re: Taverne St-Germain - Martin T., 05/31/04 09:06:48 AM
                                Courtesy in Paris. OT - no beer - Dick, 05/31/04 10:04:22 AM
                                        Re: Courtesy in Paris. OT - no beer - Martin T., 05/31/04 02:09:07 PM
        Re: When Gastronomy Reaches the Realm of Astronomy - John White, 05/29/04 08:13:53 PM
                Fourquet Fourchette - Cornelia, 05/30/04 11:39:15 AM
        Nice reports Martin... - Bob Johnston, 05/29/04 10:41:32 AM

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