‘Buvette’ is a very French term for an American business – a buvette would originally have been a far more down at heel drinking establishment. But behind the evocative name is Jody Williams, a purebred New Yorker, bringing a bit of Greenwich Village to the increasingly fashionable heart of Pigalle.
There’s nothing ostentatious about the interior, all rough brick walls and wooden tables that sit well around the huge marble bar. The menu – the same for both the Paris and the New York branches, apparently – is a selection of small plates and fresh sandwiches, with an interesting wine list arranged by region.
The ‘gastrothèque’ subtitle promises experimentation, and the kitchen delivers, using the flavours of main dishes for smaller versions and pulling it off with charm. Sandwiches at €5 contain things like freshly-made ratatouille or brandade de morue (cod and potato pie), or there are more substantial dishes like excellent coq au vin en cocotte (€10) or spanking fresh octopus salad.
Add in a great bottle of something like a Coeur de Vendanges (€28) and a chocolate mousse with whipped cream (€6) and you’ve got a very satisfying evening. Brunch and lunch also promise to deliver, making Buvette one of our hot tips for an unmissable neighbourhood hangout.