Global brand, culinary superstar and multi-Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno won many a Parisian critic over in March 2012 when he opened his new Terroir Parisien concept in Saint-Germain. Focusing on carefully sourced ingredients and updated versions of classic bistro dishes, the restaurant neatly tied together traditional French notions of authenticity and the fashionable rage for all things local. It seemed promising, then, when a second branch opened on a site beneath the Bourse de Paris (the former stock exchange, officially the Palais Brongniart) in the second arrondissement. The imposing central location makes it a magnet for sightseers – indeed, on the evening we visited tour buses were lined up outside, their occupants presumably planning to return for a slap-up meal after a hard day on the Haussman boulevards.
We ate some good things here, but it's a shame how the neoclassical elegance of the building is completely subsumed by the corporate-feel branding, from the gloomy dark walls to the ugly faux-ardoise typeface on the menu. Sadly, once inside, you could be anywhere. But, to the food: we started with mushrooms stuffed with snails and garlic butter, and one of the daily specials – seasonal asparagus with Comté and hazelnut oil. This last was a delight, the nuttiness of all ingredients elevating the dish above the ordinary. The mushrooms, though proudly sourced from Ile-de-France producers Spinelli, were rather small and dry beneath their garlicky stuffing.
A main course of steak and frites with a side of well-dressed butter lettuce (really, with all the extravagant green frills and lashings of dressing, we ordered it based on looks alone) did the job, but was hardly memorable. And we expected more from a classic comfort dish of baked endives with local ham and a blanket of white sauce – this was good, but we'd hoped for a twist, not something so straight-faced as to be dull. For dessert we shared a hefty piece of brioche French toast with vanilla ice cream, which was as moreish as it should be. But overall, there was a lack of pizzazz for the price, and the buzz. A useful tip, though, for anyone who wants to make their own minds up without shelling out for a full meal – at the 'rillette bar', you can snack on top-notch terrines, pâtés, charcuterie and more, from 6-9pm. You can even order a selection to take away for €24 (enough for four people), perfect for summertime snacking by the Seine.
|Venue name:||Le Terroir Parisien – Palais Broignart||Contact:|
Place de la Bourse, 2e
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat for lunch and dinner|