Inventive tapas, interesting wines and an easygoing crowd make Cazes a cut above the average neighbourhood bar.
A neat cross between a neighbourhood bar and something rather more ambitious, Cazes stands out from the crowd without overdoing it. The welcoming canteen-like dining room around the semi-open kitchen could belong to any Paris café, but look closer – the blond wood bar, voguish lighting and lively wine selections scribbled on the windows suggest there’s something more going on here. And indeed, the daily tapas menu elicits a double-take: beetroot pesto? Dandelion soup? Beef ceviche with kiwi?
The food mostly works surprisingly well. The flavours are kept bright, strong and simple, to make the small dishes pop. Caramelised baby turnips on a bed of strongly-flavoured salad greens was intensely dressed, while a warm slab of lamb terrine with a piquant bell pepper chutney tasted like an extra large and lovely meatball. That beef ceviche with kiwi even managed to persuade, the fruitiness and char creating a sort of tropical barbecue feel – a shame the whole was over-salted. Warm fresh bread on the side and a scoop of wild pear ‘tiramisu’ to finish – fruit and cream with a toasted crumb topping – all added up to a fun yet grown-up meal. The crowd is mostly young professional without being pretentious – and a crowd there is, with the one waiter and one chef run off their feet.
Wine is mostly regional French, with astute nods to natural vintages, and a good selection by the glass. There’s also a dedicated menu for cheese and charcuterie – so if you don’t fancy kiwi, you can still have a top notch light supper. Prices are around €4-€12 per dish, with a three course set lunch for €13.
Rue Joseph de Maistre, 18e
|Opening hours:||Tue-Fei 11am-3pm, 6pm-12mid; Sat 6pm-12mid|