Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lunch at Carpe Diem Café

This is the last of my reviews of meals in France! And funny enough, we chose this restaurant at random while we were going out (as opposed to most of our other places, which we always went to based on recommendations), because it was close to where we were doing some shopping. It also had fans inside. That last fact was important, because it was incredibly hot the day we went, hence why we were shopping inside of air-conditioned stores, rather than walking and sight-seeing.

The café was fairly crowded, but the service was good, the décor was nice (contemporary), and there was outside seating, inside seating, and a basement lounge. Casual dress, fine.

We order one two-course “formule” with coffee for 17€. It included a main course and dessert. We also ordered three entrées (meaning appetizers, in French). We weren’t feeling too hungry. Heat can do that to you.

This was the only plat that we ordered: a suprême de poulet, crème de champignon, salade, et pommes frites, which was part of the formule. The chicken was good and moist and the potatoes went well with the cream sauce, but overall it was just an average meal. What do I mean by that? I mean that it was fine as a family lunch, or even a casual business meeting, but I wouldn’t take anyone to this place for a date while I was getting to know them. I was unimpressed. Ideally when I go out to eat, I want to leave impressed.

This camembert rôti au caramel de miel, salade de noix (10€) was astonishingly good, especially for the price. I do not like cheese—especially soft cheeses, because their gooey texture throws me off and makes me think too much about their fat content—but this was a discovery. This was excellent. The warm, melty cheese was slightly caramelized and served on bread with the caramel-honey sauce, and some salad and walnuts… The flavors melded very well, and I was impressed. I was very impressed.

This salade de magret de canard aux fraises et fruits (12€) – included smoked duck breast, raspberries, and tomatoes. It was simple, but very good. Given the price, I would order it again, even though I wasn’t wowed, it was solid.

I ordered a gazpacho de concombres à la menthe avec sorbet melon (7€). It was cool and refreshing, and just what I needed on a hot summer day. Complaints? I wish the texture of the gazspacho had been a little bit smoother. The mint and cucumber were a nice combination and the flavors were great, but the texture was just too rough. I really liked the melon sorbet though, quite a nice touch.

This strawberry tiramisu was the dessert that came with the formule. Sadly, though it was very pretty and the idea of it sounded nice, it was a disappointment. I did not like the flavors nor the texture. I can’t even rate it because I disliked it that much. I put up the picture as a reminder that looks can be deceiving.

Carpe Diem Café
21 rue des Halles
Paris, France
Metro: Les Halles
Tel: 01 42 41 02 01

Overall rating for the price: 6 out of 10, average, good for a casual, inexpensive lunch

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