Sunday, February 10, 2013
An Idyllic Italian Lunch at Caffè Burlot with my Blogging Buddies!
One of the best things about living in Paris is that I know all kinds of interesting people who are involved in all sorts of exciting projects. The only problem is that it's almost impossible to get together with them because they're all so busy. So, when Sylvia (Finding Noon) said that she was going to review a restaurant for the "Girls' Guide to Paris" and asked me to join her, Kristen (The Kale Project) and Ella Coquine for lunch, I blocked the entire day on my calendar. It had been way too long, two months to be precise, since the four of us had sipped wine, chatted and laughed together. I missed my blogging buddies!
Walking into Caffè Burlot, I felt an imaginary summer breeze blow against my cheek. What a welcome change from the grey Parisian day! With turquoise benches, low hanging lights and wispy parlor palms, the restaurant's interior is reminiscent of an Italian trattoria in the 1950s or 60s. Gazing around the room, I spotted Sylvia at one of the marble tables and gave her a quick peck on each check à la française. "I love the atmosphere of this place" I whispered as I settled into one of the cheery yellow chairs. "I just hope that the food is as good as the decor because I already want to come back."
After Kristen and Ella Coquine arrived, the waiter checked with us several times to see if we were ready to order, but since we were so busy catching up on on everything it took us awhile to get down to business. The business of food. When we finally opened our menus, we were initially confused to see the desserts listed first. Where were the starters and main courses? With a knowing smile on his face, the waiter explained that chef Thierry Burlot deliberately put the desserts at the front of the menu after noticing that women always check the list of sweet treats at the back before ordering the rest of the meal. By putting them at the front, he was making it easier for us to know if we wanted to save room for the tirame'su veneziano, mille feuille with vanilla bourbon or panna cotta with passion fruit. What an exceptionally clever man!
Tempted by almost all of the à la carte offerings, I decided to make my life easy by going with the lunch menu (starter/main course or main course/dessert) for 29 euros. My scallop and beet carpaccio starter subtly flavored with lime made me feel as if I was sitting on a terrace overlooking the sun-drenched Italian coast. By the time my polpetine di vitello arrived, I was in such happy spirits that I didn't even care that polpetine are meatballs rather than miniature calamari as I had mistakenly thought. After taking my first bite of the pasta, spinach and meatball main dish, I told Sylvia that she had to try it because the sauce was a simple yet tantalizingly complex combination of tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Mmmm, she sighed, "That's amazing!" And, it was.
Unable to forget the tirame'su veneziano listed at the front of the menu, I was pleased to have saved precisely the right amount of room for my favorite Italian dessert. Even better, the version at Caffè Burlot comes with a generous portion of crème aux œufs that the waiter kept spooning on top of the tirame'su until I managed to show some restraint and say "Stop!".
If you're tired of the wintry weather in Paris, organize a lunch or dinner with your girlfriends at Caffè Burlot. They'll be as grateful to you as I am to Sylvia!
Kudos to our waiter for managing to fit the oversized plates on the somewhat small café tables. It required more finesse and skill than usual.
9, rue du Colisée (just off the Champs-Élysées)
Tel: 01 53 75 42 00
Please click here to see the album of photos that I posted on "Out and About's" Facebook page.