Le Cul de Poule

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‘Cul de poule’ in French is both a come-hither pout and a mixing bowl – and both meanings apply in this tiny restaurant (rumour has it that the trendy term these days is ‘neobistro’) in the Rue des Martyrs.

If the terrace doesn’t look like much, don’t let it put you off – instead head straight inside to the welcoming interior, which is thankfully a million miles from its predecessor, a grotty kebab shop. If you haven’t reserved and the room is packed out, you can take refuge on the first floor – don’t be put off if the charming waitress informs you that it’s ‘un peu spécial’. The walls are decorated by an insane mural drawn by Shoboshobo, and you’ll find yourself lounging on squashy cushions to eat – all that’s missing are togas and bunches of grapes being dropped into your mouth to complete the image of a decadent Greco-Roman banquet.

When it’s time to eat, you’ll choose from a selection of menus (€15 for starter/main or main/dessert, €18 for all three, €10 more in the evening). Though portions are on the small side, the kitchen takes an original and often inventive approach to, say, carrot gazpacho, salmon tartare, sea bream and pasta salads. There’s a worthwhile attention paid to saucing, and the top quality produce stands out – vegetables, for example, come from the famous kitchen garden of Michelin-starred chef Alain Passard.

The limited dessert menu maintains the high standards of ingredients, like strawberries with Chantilly cream. Wines are ‘natural’, in keeping with the ethos, with a glass at €5 and a bottle at €32. Overall, Le Cul de Poule is worth a winning pout, even if the menu could push itself a bit further to achieve real excellence.

Venue name: Le Cul de Poule
Address: 53 rue des Martyrs

Opening hours: Tous les jours de midi à 14h30 et de 20h à 23h
Transport: Métro : Pigalle ou Saint-Georges
Price: De 15 à 28 euros le menu
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