If you haven’t yet discovered the further reaches of the Canal de l'Ourcq – stretching as it does beyond the cosy cluster of shops and restaurants on the Canal Saint Martin and all the way up past La Rotonde to La Villette and beyond – Les Bancs Publics is a very good reason to go the extra mile or so. Newly opened in September 2014, this smart bistro with its inventive menu is easy-going enough to fit with both the area’s alternative crowds and its street art-heavy façades, the shinier pleasures of the avant-garde structures at Parc de La Villette, and the offbeat cultural outpost L’eau et les rêves, a barge-based bookshop moored nearby.
A simple L-shaped space with a busy bar holding fresh flowers and staffed by smiley, attractive people, there are tables outside overlooking the canal on sunny days and an agreeable sense of people enjoying themselves – the extremely conservative pricing and good selection of draught beers may help. It’s a classic affair where the chalkboard menu is propped on a chair at your table while you choose, but the execution of the dishes shows a taste for adventure. So one lunchtime, a starter salad of pickled beetroot and trout roe brought just that – Scandinavian simplicity of gorgeous flavours, top ingredients that hadn’t been messed with and tasted perfect. Another starter of tempura-battered white fish was greaseless and moreish. At mains, a salad of pork belly and razor clams on a fluffy bed of quality foliage was generous and delicious. We couldn’t manage dessert, but we could very easily imagine coming back for more.
|Venue name:||Les Bancs Publics||Contact:|
2 rue de Nantes
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 12.30pm-2.30pm, 7.30pm-10.30pm|
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