Brasserie Barbès

Restaurants, Modern French La Chapelle
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Possibly the most-hyped Paris opening of 2015, this four-floor bar and brasserie in a gritty quartier has everything to prove

It was never going to be a quiet opening; the shining white façade of the four-floor Brasserie Barbès could be seen by some as a shining light in a traditionally gritty neighbourhood, by others as a load of old hipster whitewash. Certainly, the hordes that descended on the venue since its opening at the end of April 2015 will have come as no surprise to its owners, who have prior form at on-trend hangouts Chez Jeanette and Le Mansart.

We found a gorgeous dining area with a clean industral-look chic, a spiffy dance floor area, a patio and a rooftop (still under construction at the time of writing). But many details troubled – the deafening noise levels, the tightly-squeezed tables, and the indifferent dishes. The service is very quick – you’ll just have time to yell a few pleasantries at your companions (don’t even try coming here on a romantic date) before your order starts to arrive. The menu is a sort of international ‘neo-brasserie’ affair, with things like mackerel tartare with butternut squash chips or lacquered Peking-style coquelet (a young rooster), with a particular emphasis on seafood. Our citrus-marinated seabass carpaccio (€11) was a bit bland and rather mean for the price, while the oily chorizo croquettes (€6.50) should be avoided at all costs. At mains, our sole meunière (€28) was undercooked and had to be sent back, while a seafood risotto (€18) had a creamy sauce but the rice grains lacked bite. For dessert, a slightly stodgy strawberry tart.

It could have been bad luck, or the kitchen could need more time to settle in (at this point it had only been open a few weeks). But overall we can’t recommend the new face of Barbès for its food; especially at around €40 a head. Come instead to take the measure of the building (which really is fantastic), get a drink at the bar or a fresh morning fruit juice, or to let it all hang out on the dancefloor in evenings, surrounded by bay windows. And once the rooftop opens in summer, we can imagine that view over the neighbourhood will be bright – or whitewashed, depending on your point of view.

By: LRD/EH

Posted:

Venue name: Brasserie Barbès
Contact:
Address: 2 boulevard Barbès
18e
Paris

Opening hours: Daily 8am-2am
Transport: Metro: Barbès - Rochechouart
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