La Bourse et La Vie may not be one of the most well known restaurants in Paris, at least as far as tourists from London are concerned, but it is one with pedigree. After ten years of running Spring (sadly just closed – it was superb) American chef Daniel Rose has opened up La Bourse et La Vie (along with one more bistro and a place in New York).
The restaurant is a modern classic French bistro with a menu to match. The Steak au Poirve and it’s brandy heavy pepper sauce is one of the best versions of this classic French dish, and has customers coming for it from across Paris. The real treat, though, is the most incredible Pot Au Feu de Veau. It is so light, so tender, so dynamic and packed with delicate flavour that you remember every detail and nuance of it days later, as you crave more of it.
Their light modern take on the dish that built France, comes with compressed veal tongue and cheek that has been fried until sticky, rich and unctuous. Eaten first, it’s topped with huge chunks of raw garlic and herbs. You then turn to the Pot, ladling broth, two types of veal, soft baby root veg, herbs and cherry tomatoes into the dish vacated by the compressed tongue and cheek. The leftover garlic and herbs mingle in, creating a light and heady mixture. Finally, stirring the bone marrow into the light broth gives hits of rich meatiness as you work your way through the perfectly balanced dish.
The foie gras to start is large, rich and also contains a good hit of brandy. I would argue, though, that it could have been a little less straight from the fridge; it was incredibly cold. It was also huge. There may have been only two slices of the fatty liver, but they were about an inch thick each, making the dish almost too rich. It was easily enough for two and I’d suggest that, if you order it, you do so as one starter to be shared.
A surprise was the rye bread with the Lyon classic, Cervelle de Canut. It’s a sublime concoction of fromage blanc, lime juice, olive oil, shallots and herbs, chief among them tarragon.
The ambiance is relaxed thanks to the dim lighting, small number of covers in the narrow restaurant, a stunning sound track of hits you haven’t heard in years and the two smiling and friendly members of staff.
Price: €120 – 2 mains, 1 starter, 2 glasses of wine and 2 lemonades.
La Bourse et La Vie
12, rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France
Metro ligne 3, Bourse