La Balançoire’s devilishly delicious details are a large part of its charm. Big wooden tables hold magnetised knives and forks in pretty patterns, a swing (the ‘balançoire’) sways gently in the doorway, jars of sweets and pickles are dotted about and mixed in with bits and pieces from second-hand markets, all creating an atmosphere of offbeat charm.
But it’s really the big chalkboard menu that deserves full attention, and the wine list. The manager, Antonin, will recommend vintages to match your dishes, and his staff are as knowledgeable and attentive as he is. The food changes according to the season or the mood of the chef, all imaginative versions of traditional French recipes: cream of lentil soup, casserole-baked eggs with mushrooms, caramelised duck cottage pie, French toast with Nutella, caramel poached pear, or a selection of miniature desserts for the indecisive. Before you leave you may well be offered one of Antonin's secret potions: caramel-, jellybean- or bubble-gum-flavoured drinks. All very easy on the palate; much like La Balançoire itself.