Lunch at the Trocadero, Paris at Le Wilson Restaurant
Mummy Bird, His Nibs and myself had gone for a short break to Paris, in the same week that King Charles and Camilla decided to visit the French capital; great minds think alike, and all that! The traffic had been beyond horrendous, thanks to the complete ineptitude of the French police in controlling the flow of traffic. Roads and bridges were closed on the spur-of-the-moment, so all vehicles were desperately trying to find alternate routes, but all that happened was total gridlock! Thankfully, the second day was slightly better organised, and police were out directing traffic to (sort of!) keep it moving. It won’t surprise you, therefore, when I say that our scheduled coach tour of the city wasn’t really going to plan!!
In the end, we decided to cut our losses and go for a long lunch a la Paris . Just across the road from the collection of museums, sculptures, gardens and fountains (an area called the Trocadero – a very popular spot to grab some great piccies of the Eiffel Tower, sadly not very wheelchair friendly) was a lovely-looking, awning and conservatory-pimped restaurant called ‘Le Wilson’. From the pavement it looked as if a wheelchair could be accommodated, and a quick conversation with the staff confirmed that this was indeed the case, as they happily ushered us inside.
We could’ve joined the chic Parisiennes in the topiaried outer areas, but it was just a bit too chilly, when sitting stationary, for Mummy Bird, but the table we had still gave us opportunity for people watching. A very dapper (and handsome, it must be said) young chap in his black and white uniform came over to get us sorted with drinks: Evian water (8 Euros) and a bottle of Sancerre (44 Euros), and then left us to peruse the menu.
With it being lunchtime, Mummy and I both opted for salads; I had the Niçoise (19 Euros), Mummy had the Parisienne (17 Euros). The Man Bird went for the Bavette Steak in Shallot sauce, with Fries (19 Euros), and we ordered an extra portion of Fries for Mummy and I to share (4.5 Euros).
Now, I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that salad isn’t exactly an exciting food choice. Ordinarily I’d agree but, on this occasion, there were a few factors influencing our choice: the weather (it was a warm-ish day, especially in the restaurant itself), we were likely to be sat for a long while again on the coach (didn’t want to feel bloated or sluggish), and salad vegetables have a pretty high water content (again, pretty useful when you’re on a coach and haven’t brought a bottle of water with you!). Both salads had the usual suspects in: crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, and cool cucumber, but there was also thinly sliced radish and sweet peppers in the mix.
My Niçoise salad had beautifully crunchy green beans in, joined by a plentiful amount of Tuna, tangy Anchovies and a quartered, hard-boiled egg. The dish was colourful, which stimulated my senses straight-away, and when I took my first forkful, I was rewarded with clean, crisp flavours and a multitude of texture. If you don’t like Tuna or Anchovies, you’d hate it, but if you like them then this salad would’ve ticked all your boxes – I know it was hitting the spot for me!
Mummy had gone for the salad Parisienne which had Egg, Ham, and Emmental cheese in it. Like my morsel, this was a pretty meal that packed in plenty of taste and texture, but the flavour profile was very different to my choice. The ham was superbly satisfying and had a wonderfully rich flavour that paired well with the nutty, buttery tone of the Emmental and the creamy texture of the egg. Like mine, Mummy’s bowl seemed to be never-ending and she sat back with a satiated sigh, patting her tummy as she finished her last morsel!
His Nibs was clearly in need of some filling protein, hence his choice of Bavette Steak. One thing the French are good at is cooking Beef, and the piece that made its way into The Man’s tummy was beautifully juicy and tender. Served simply with a thick, oniony sauce, this tempting morsel didn’t need any accompaniment other than the slices of baguette that our lovely server brought over in a basket, and the thin, crispy French Fries. Dibbing into our bowl, Mummy and I quickly agreed with His Nibs that the fries were super-tasty; the spuds themselves had a great natural flavour that the frying had enhanced, and they weren’t oily in the slightest.
Whilst we’d been chomping away, we’d also been slurping at the wonderfully crisp Sancerre and the young chap came over a couple of times to ensure that our glasses didn’t run dry, either with water or wine! There was also a really friendly lady on the restaurant floor (I assume the shift manager) and she’d come over to check that we were enjoying ourselves at Le Wilson; she was also the one who tempted me and The Man to have dessert!
I have always loved a classic Tarte Tatin, so when I spied it on the menu (11.5 Euros) it was a dead cert that that was going to be my sweet treat. There were also Crepes with Chocolate, Crème Caramel and Profiteroles on offer, and I thought that one of these would be His Nibs’ choice, but it was the Crème Brulée with Brown Sugar (11 Euros) that won out.
Both desserts were generous portions, even by my gluttonous standard, and we eagerly dug in. The pastry on my tarte was deliciously buttery and rich and the deep layer of softened Apple hadn’t been overly sweetened; instead, their own natural sugars had intensified during baking and provided a perfect level of sweetness in my mouth. Thickened cream added even more indulgence, as well as a contrast in temperature, which stimulated my senses.
The Crème Brulée was served in a dish the size of a tea saucer, so probably twice the size of our British portion – I think this should be the size that our restaurants adopt, going forward! As The Man Bird thwacked the caramelised sugar top, that glorious, clean cracking sound could be clearly heard and we all smiled with happiness. Under the gently smoky, charred sugar top was the most impossibly silky, vanilla crème, whose bewitching tendrils caressed the palate and left you wanting more.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay longer as we had to make our way back to the coach pick-up point, ready to hit the shopping outlet; it had, however, been a most enjoyable couple of hours spent eating and drinking delicious fare as we watched the hustle and bustle of France’s capital’s inhabitants. Hot Wings happily given to this superb Paris restaurant.
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