'La Charcuterie': christmas has come early

© Saskia Vanderstichele
Onze score

End the year on a high note with a simple but exceptional feast. Hurry along to La Charcuterie, a restaurant situated in a magnificent former butcher’s shop.

A grocery that doubles as a diner, located within in a former butcher’s… It’s a sort of a connoisseur’s ultimate dream. Even more so as it is strongly committed to good-quality products. With its stylish, tiled decor, La Charcuterie is reminiscent of Nicolas Scheidt’s excellent restaurant La Buvette. A sumptuous counter, old-fashioned butcher’s hooks, an old chopping block, slicers still in their original state, scales that date back to another time, etc.

Its character is inspired by the slightly coarse setting’s former function. The good news is that the back of the place opens onto a kitchen run by a chef from Brazil who takes great pride in making the most of the artisanal gems gathered by her husband. There is nothing too sophisticated about the place, the approach is that of a cheap eatery where you would go with your buddies.

The food there is top-notch: carpaccio (€18), terrine with Butcher gin (Secreto 07, named after the Rubia Gallega rib-eye steak, made famous by Ferran Adria, which is seasoned with a mixture of seven herbs and matured for seven weeks, freshly made oyster and veal tartare (€12.50), and seared cubes of Duroc pork (€10).

They also have a sublime selection from one of the best butchers in the world, Gilles Vérot in Paris, whose pâtés en croûte are to die for. If you don’t like meat, don’t worry, there is a variety of fine fish dishes, such as the chipirone fricassee (squid and red pepper cooked to perfection, €18), N°2 oysters from Brittany (€12), an incredible taramasalata (€12), and octopus a la plancha seasoned with Espelette pepper (€12.50).

Vegetarian food in a former butcher's shop

If you are vegetarian, you won’t be disappointed either. There is seasonal soup served with delicious bread (€6) and portions of organic vegetables from Potager de la Noire Bouteille (€8.50). When we visited, the chef even improvised three variations on a wonderfully fresh watercress salad. We also like the low-inventory approach adopted by the owner, which consists in working with small quantities of products that sell out quickly, but which are of the highest quality.

The dessert was a revelation that simply has to be tasted: a tourtière landaise (€10), a combination of crunchy caramelised pastry and apple fondant, topped with Armagnac and vanilla ice cream. We also liked the short but well thought out wine list, featuring the excellent Château Cambon 2016 (€30), an intriguing Beaujolais that fits this cheeky joint like a glove.

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