This is just the sort of place that was missing in the Faubourg Saint-Denis neighbourhood, a popular corner of the 10th arrondissement that is quickly opening up to gentrification as new restaurants, gourmet fast food joints and concept stores try to outdo each other. Between the hot dogs, hamburgers, Kurdish kebabs and organic chicken'n'chips, young restaurateur Nicolas Lacaze had the bright idea of setting up a joyously down-to-earth old-timer bistro.
The décor gets it right: bar, scruffy tiles, wooden bistro tables and chairs, and an open kitchen ruled by a chef who has defected from the Café des Musées. The long dining room is packed with a varied clientele – you might find neighbourhood locals, hipsters, old-time foodies and the merely curious all enjoying, say, a free-range chicken fricassée with mushrooms and white wine, served sinfully creamy en cocotte.
Menus are at €32 or €36. The dishes have the feel of a local Parsiian bistro, with a generous terrine coexisting happily with fresh Utah Beach oysters, followed by veal cooked in Xeres sherry with a solid gratin dauphinois. The servings are generous, the cooking sensitive, the flavours strong – making Bistro Bellet a serious proposition.
It's only open in the evenings, but even with romantic lighting this is better as a place for groups, as the noise levels hike up quickly. But you can't have everything – and this is a good, well-balanced bistro, which is more than enough for us.
|Venue name:||Bistrot Bellet||Contact:|
84 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sat 6.30pm-12.30am|
|Transport:||Métro : Château d'Eau|