Food File: gourmet Paris, je t’aime


I first opened this book, which is not quite a guidebook, not a recipe collection, not a memoir, but a glorious meld of all three, to pass time on a four-hour train journey. By the time I arrived at my destination, I had booked a flight, earmarked several lunch and dinner destinations, learned what it means when your host serves you orange juice after coffee (you’ve overstayed your welcome, it’s time to go home), and discovered where to go to choose between 15 crus of vanilla pod (Épices Roellinger).

Don’t approach The Paris Gourmet as a travel guide; view it more as the treasured little black book of insider addresses, favourite experiences and lessons learned of an Irish food lover living in Paris for more than 25 years.

Trish Deseine is one of us –

even after all those years in the city, she says she feels Irish, not Parisian: “I think my heart is, and will forever stay, Irish.”

So, she knows us, knows what we like. Our lack of enthusiasm for pretence for the sake of it. Our love of a fun time, just as much as, or sometimes more than, a great food experience.

Deseine shares her encyclopaedic knowledge of her adopted home with a generous heart. Some of the most enthusiastic recommendations are in her “favourite addresses” chapter, where you’ll find tried and tested spots for every occasion. There are recipes, too, including an Elle fashion editor’s Quiche “Lauren” that is reassuringly spiked with cream (single, of course) and cheese (Gruyère, bien sûr).

I am a regular visitor to Paris, and I think I know it reasonably well, but when I read Deseine’s recommendations of where to eat out, I felt as if I was reading about a city I’d never visited before.

So I’m going to pick up my breakfast croissant at Du Pain et des Idées. Flop on to a banquette at Au Bistro in touristy Marché Saint-Honoré for a post-shopping lunch (though it looks like a spot I’d normally avoid). Embrace the formality at Kei to experience Kei Kobayashi’s “Japanified” classic French cuisine. Join “les
Anglo-Saxons” at Philou, and queue for a snack at Gyoza Bar, where they only serve dumplings.

The Paris Gourmet by Trish Deseine is published by
Flammarion, €25