This former Les Halles bistro, located only a 6-minute walk from the Louvre, is a Parisian institution. Founded in 1935, it was held by two owners until the two-star chef, Jean François Piège, took over the business in late spring of 2018. It reopened after renovation on June 15.
An authentic bistro that seems to have stood the test of time, with classic bourgeois cuisine; it's something you must experience if the phrase "traditional French" awakens your appetite.
Woodwork and mirrors, moleskin benches, bistro chairs, period floor tiles, a beautiful zinc bar, colonnades decorated with copper mosaics: the whole spirit of the place has been renovated in line with its history.
It is here that was called the "belly of Paris," with people swarming around the Les Halles district, the curious and tourists mingled together and rushing about. We concluded our business and went to eat. La Poule au Pot, which had been open until the end of the night, also saw singers, musicians, directors, and comedians. 750 copper plaques on the woodwork testify to the passage of Johnny Hallyday, Jacques Brel, Georges Brassens, Mick Jagger, Joan Baez, Francis Ford Coppola, Cliff Richard, Jean Gabin, Lino Ventura, and many others.
Jean François Piège began his career alongside Alain Ducasse, who he collaborated with for twelve years. In 2010, he opened Brasserie Thoumieux, which won two stars the following year. In 2015, he opened Le Grand Restaurant at 7 rue d'Aguesseau, which was also granted two Michelin stars in the same year. Jean François Piège and his brigade know the score.
Here, we can eat authentic bistro cuisine, as before. Jean François Piège has composed a list of 300 dishes that illustrate the classic French culinary heritage on which he will rely to build his menus throughout the seasons. "I did not revisit any of these dishes, I just found them. Sometimes it took me a lot of time and testing. As if all these recipes had their secret. For a simple stew of veal, for example, each cook, mother, grandmother put in their own touch. I had to guess," he said.
You will have no excuse for leaving your Eggs Mimosas behind, accompanied by chives and crackers, finely chopped, and served with period dinnerware: € 4
The Duck Galantine (€ 21) is also well-interpreted and perfectly seasoned: a poultry loaf with pistachios, surrounding a lobe of foie gras and accompanied by radishes, to be enjoyed on roasted toast.
Also difficult to resist are the frog legs with parsley and garlic (€ 34) which have practically disappeared from menus. These amphibians come from a beautiful pond in Drôme, the native home of Jean François Piège.
The Veal Blanquette is finished off with a creamy sauce accompanied by small vegetables and mushrooms and steamed rice.
Merlan Colbert is breaded and deep-fried. Gourmands will season it with a nicely seasoned Béarnaise sauce, and the wisest ones will prefer a bit of lemon. Served with homemade fries.
The selection of desserts is small, but you can find not only vanilla ice cream with gorgeous, crispy, caramelized pecans (€ 16) but also a pie plate of childhood dreams (€ 16) with scents of chocolate, apples, or blackberries, accompanied by a rhubarb ice cream which sublimely ends this Gallic meal.
It will be necessary to wait until this winter to taste "The" poule au pot (chicken in a pot) that François Piège will serve us when it is in season.