I was staying in the 5th arrondissement, very close to Notre Dame, and I went in search of real French cuisine. I found an idyllic little place on the corner of a cobblestone street with tables out front. In January I sat inside, ordered and was quickly brought a glass of really good red wine and a bowl of French onion soup.
It is a memory that remains with me. One who has raised his beautiful head several times over the past year as I wanted to return to the Paris I remembered when it was, of course, impossible. So when I tried a Bistrot at Home food box, there was only one option for me, the Classic Bistrot Box: onion soup, beef bourguignon and caramel pudding with whipped cream.
It had been 25 ° C during the day, but while the weather was a little different from my winter in Paris, I was ready to taste France in my own apartment and I was not disappointed.
Bistrot at Home has several club themes including ‘date’ and vegetarian, and ordering for delivery was pretty easy. On Friday morning, the box arrived at my door with a bottle of Don David Reserve Malbec 2019.
More affordable than some of the food boxes on offer – a classic three course box for two will set you back £ 40 – I expected the difference in quality to be noticeable, but it just wasn’t.
The box arrived with less frills than the others I have tried, but it was well packaged and was fairly easy to figure out and heat up. Much less efficient than some, that’s for sure. We found that we had to heat most items for longer than the stated time to bring them to an edible temperature, but that wasn’t too much of a problem.
The French onion soup was rich and sweet and brought me straight back to Paris and to the little restaurant in the 5th arrondissement. French onion soup can, on occasion and even in Paris, be watery, but it was perfectly thick, and the crouton of bread and cheese completed the dish. It was easy to achieve: just bake the baguette in the oven and put the soup in a saucepan on the baking sheet. I could easily have had another bowl immediately after the first one.
The beef bourguignon was also easy to deliver. The apple puree is reheated in a skillet until it’s as smooth as you would expect from a restaurant, and it tastes like it too. Meanwhile, the beef, carrots and bourguignon sauce are baked at 200 ° C. No thrills, but lots of flavor.
The star of the meal was the bourguignon sauce, which was deep, rich and a bit fruity. It was up there with the best I have had. The beef, while the flavor was good and the cut was fine, was slightly dry. I prefer the slow cooked beef to melt, but it wasn’t quite there and just a little tough.
And finally, the sticky caramel pudding. Okay French doesn’t occur to me when I think of caramel pudding but it was a wonderfully sweet ending, with the caramel sauce melted at the bottom of the bowl and served with a refreshing, light and whipped cream. mellow.
The word that clearly comes to mind for this meal is “rich”, but that’s what makes French cuisine so rich. The red wine completed it well.
In this weather, I can’t help but think that I should have gone for the vegetarian box, which included a vegetable tagine as a main course, and which was maybe the right choice for the heat, but I didn’t. just couldn’t resist the opportunity to eat like I was back in Paris.