I think it was destined that I eat here. I hadn’t planned my first day’s lunch, after arriving by train from Brussels around 1pm. The evening before, Tara, sister of Maya, who I suspect has a lot of good travel recommendations, had said that I must try Le Soufflé on rue Mont Tabour, and it stuck in my mind. What’s not to like about a good soufflé?
I called up to find out if I could get a table of one – the gentlemen said I better get there right away. I wasn’t sure how long it would from the Marais neighbourhood to get there on a Vélib (free bicycle) but it turned out to be not long at all..
There’s a special for lunch with a salad (nothing special), a savoury soufflé and then a sweet one. Oh, with a glass of wine. For 25 Euros.
So, I started with a foie gras and prune soufflé. Honestly, it was kind of weird, the sweet stewed prunes, and bits of foie gras, but it was kind of tasty too. And the soufflé of course was amazing. Light and airy and eggy.
The whole atmosphere of the place is pretty charming too, a high waiter-customer ratio, bottles of liqueur on display, a bottle of champagne on ice. I couldn’t tell how many people were locals, and how many tourists.
I did find this couple fantastic, and although worrying about invading their privacy, they really are gorgeous, n’est-ce pas? Carefully and colourfully dressed, a bottle of scotch next to them (I’m assuming that they’re regular customers and that the scotch is a bottle assigned to them, like they do at bars in Japan).
It sort of captures the spirit of the place too. For dessert, I opted for pear and chocolate which turned out to be pieces of baked pear, with a rather lot of chocolate sauce. It was good.
I don’t think I’d come here regularly, but it was a great taste of Paris to start off with. When I got back to the little apartment I’ve rented (through feel paris – terrific!), I picked up a book in the selection left for visitors, ‘Paris to the Moon’ by Adam Gopnik, a New Yorker’s experience of living in Paris for 5 years with his wife and kid. I read through the intro chapter, and lo, it finishes with him listing restaurants that he ate in while his kid slept, and not only does he mention Le Soufflé but it’s the only one he describes in depth, ‘the old couple across the neighbouring banquette, who had been coming here for forty years, there with their blind dog. The waiters in white coast, the owner in a blue sports jacket, and the smell (aroma is too fancy a word) of mingled cigarettes and orange liqueurs.’ Spooky!