About

"The reluctant Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Le Vraymonde -- Restaurant Review


4, rue d'Anjou
75008
Tel: 1 83 96 88 70
Metro:  Line #1 Concorde
Website:  http://www.buddhabarhotelparis.com/uk/buddhabarhotelparis-official-site.php#buddhabarhotelparis-official-site.php

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  1.5 - Star...............................................................€€€........................................................... 2 - Bell

We love to explore, so a friend selected this restaurant "Le Raymonde" which is part of the International "Buddha Bar" hotel chain that includes bars and restaurants. I usually don't like eating in hotels because I find them too "artificial"and generic.  Don't get me wrong, some of them can be extremely beautiful, classic, and decorated to the 9's, but I for one am one of those types that like to explore neighborhood restaurants.

No doubt about it, the hotel is beautiful. As you entered the red lights, and the Asian theme are undeniable. It almost feels like what Old Shanghai was like in the 40's, almost half expectedly waiting to see an opium den. We were seated in the terrace since it was a beautiful mild Spring day.


As we waited for our friend we had some aperitifs and perused the menu. The menu was quite pricey, but they did have a "pre-fix" lunch special which you could have all 2-courses for 29€ (entrée, plat) or add a dessert and it will cost you 39€, which seemed reasonable. We also perused the wine menu, quite extensive, and also very, very pricey.



ENTRÉE:

Two of us got the Rouleaux de printemps aux petits légumes, sauce soja sucrée (Spring rolls with vegetables, and sweet soy sauce).  In French, the word that comes to mind is "fade" (bland), this had to have been the most boring, blandest fresh spring roll I have ever, ever tasted in my life. It was presented beautifully, but the sweet soy sauce was not complimentary at all, and the accompanied cabbage mixed salad had absolutely nothing on it, that I could discern.  It tasted like I opened a pre-mix bag of cole slaw mix eaten right out of the plastic bag. I finally had no choice but asked for some hot sauce, which I'm pretty sure was sriracha. Thank God for sriracha, it was the saving grace to an otherwise bland, boring dish. I think just adding some ginger would've improved that sauce tremendously.



One person got the Gaspacho de légumes verts (Cold gazpacho soup made of green vegetables). Anything cold, you have to have a little heavy hand with the spices.  Again, "fade", "fade", "fade". It was edible, but you really needed to add pepper. Our friend added sriracha as well to give it some semblance of something other than green glob.  Plus, I might be a little nit-picky, but they really should have strained the soup (broth portion) to give a more smooth consistency.  I couldn't discern if I was eating a piece of vegetable or if it was just not blended well.


PLATS:

I had the Pressées de canard, pommes grenaille et jus de canard (Pressed duck with apples and duck jus). The presentation was beautiful. It was encased in a leek. One person thought it was inedible, while I thought it tasted like "pulled pork" and I wanted so desperately to put it in a bun with barbecue sauce and call it a day. So for me it would've been passible in a sandwich. The potatoes were good.  After douching the duck with some soy and sriracha and pretending it was BBQ sauce, I was able to eat it.


One person had the Filets de rougets sautés, caviar d'aubergine (Red mullet fillets sautéed eggplant caviar). Surprisingly the fish was actually good, and was cooked perfect to my liking. But the mushed up eggplant that the fish sat atop was disgusting. I really disliked it alot.  It was not only bland, but it was visually not appealing. It looked like gray matter.




Lastly our friend had the Curry de veau, riz madras (Curried veal, with madras rice).  OK, you've noticed I've been using the word "fade" alot, oh-my-god, this was quadruple "fade". I tasted absolutely no curry. Actually, I tasted no spice. All I tasted was a thick yellow glob with meat. Our friend had to literally douse it with sriracha to give it any semblance of a madras dish. Horrible!







Lastly, we had a cheese plate rather than a dessert. After eating the food, I'm glad we did not order the desserts. I can only imagine what it would've tasted like. The cheese plate had a nice variety and was nicely presented.  The cheese plate, the bread and butter and wine were our saving grace.








SUMMARY:

I don't normally like Asian food cooked by Europeans who don't make an attempt to keep some of the characteristics of the original dish. Granted, I want them to put their own twist and personality into their food, but to lose its soul and identity is unforgivable.  I've known many an Asian Chefs in Paris who've added their Asian sensibilities to French cuisine, and it has been some of the best food I've ever tasted. I just wish they would get it right at the Buddha Bar, since that is their signature/identity. Oh well.

The service was excellent.  The terrace is lovely. The indoor restaurant is very nicely decorated and has a very warm feeling.  The "looping music" they had playing was a bit noisy and annoying, but I think that's to attract a younger crowd.  Will I go back for the food? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But I may go back for wine or cocktails, since that's what they're known for.



And, the price point was absolutely insulting. For 4-glasses of wine, plus a bottle of Samur Champigny, a half-bottle of Sancere, and 2-coffees with the menu our bill came to a ridiculous 215€ for 3-people!

Lesson learned, 'BEAUTY IS SKIN DEEP' and it applies to food as well.



2 comments :

  1. Randy, I love your reviews. They give credit where credit is due which is only fair, but when a restaurant presents poorly prepared food you don't just say you are disappointed, you explain why - and make suggestions on what they could do to fix it. So should I for some mysterious reason find myself in Le Vraymonde I now know to order some wine, choose the fish, ask to sub in the potatoes for the egg plant, get a plate of cheese for dessert. However, truth be told, life is too short to pay for such a meal. Maybe I'd just go enjoy the courtyard with some wine and cheese. What a pity! - A

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your kind words. I really hate bashing restaurants, but it's inexcusable, especially in Paris and for that price point!

    ReplyDelete