Halfway between a restaurant and an organic wine shop, La Crémerie serves the most extraordinary French produce that you can either eat in or take home with you. We thought we’d tasted most things in French cuisine, but we’d never tasted anything like this!
photos : JasonW
La Crémerie is one of the places that makes Paris special. No other city in the world has them: converted bread shops or milk shops with painted glass ceilings that hark back to a forgotten time. Luckily, in France many of these period interiors are now protected, which explains why in Paris you’ll see quite a few of them.
If the ceiling probably hasn’t changed for a hundred years or so, the rest of La Crémerie has had shelving tastefully added to house the organic wine they now sell during the day.
Want a better look round? Our little film is just below… (by the way, I was filming over the heads of people so as not to disturb them).
It’s a very small, quaint place, and with only a handful of tables and a few spaces at the bar – where you can eat sat on high stools – it very much feels more like a labour of love than a business. Or rather let’s say that everything in the place looks so delicious, and the staff is so laid back and enthusiastic, that their food and wine practically sells itself!
They certainly know their wine (with a 2,500-bottle cellar I suppose it’s normal), and I always find that quite intimidating. I can tell the the red from the white, but beyond that I’m really no good at the fine details, the regions, the years… I decided to trust the waiter to propose something suitable for me. He chose a glass of Gaillac 2007, and very good it was too. My companion went for the Racines 2005…
And so, after a nice glass of wine and some good conversation, it was time to get down to the serious stuff: eating! I was a little concerned that all the voices coming from other tables seems to be American. Had we fallen into some sort of twee tourist trap? I was to be reassured very quickly. We chose our wine (excellent Côtes du Rhône), received our bread and waited for the waiter to explain what we could order. Any wine in the shop can be ordered to accompany your meal: just add a 6-euro corking charge to the price you see on the shelf.
La Crémerie doesn’t serve any hot food (apart from grilled vegetables – more about them later) and there’s no menu to speak of. It’s all a matter of trust. The shelves are full of produce, as all of what you see can be ordered to eat in.
There are however a few dishes that aren’t on show, and the waiter explained what was on offer. The first thing that intrigued us was a special Italian cheese called Burrata di Corato from the Puglia region. Reading some other reviews on the web, it would seem that only small quantities are received each week (on Tuesday), and that often there is none left within a few days. Lucky for us, it was Tuesday when we went to eat and the Burrata had just been freshly delivered. When it arrived on the table, it looked like something form outer space…
The spoon you see in the photo is a dessert spoon, and the Burrata fills a fairly large plate. Served with virgin olive oil, it is something like mozzarella, but creamier, had a very unusual texture to it – like a soft bag containing something more watery – and an amazing taste, neither strong nor bland. It also wasn’t too creamy, so eating a fair amount of it wasn’t too difficult! We were amazed. I’ve tasted quite a few different cheeses here in Paris, but never anything like this. Note that it can also be ordered to take away (cost is around 20 euros). This is part of how La Crémerie has forged its reputation.
One person then decided – spurred on by the waiter – to try the sardines (or sardinettes, little sardines, as it says on the box), a rare variety that is difficult to find in Paris. They also are sold in the shop…
Personally, I’m not a fan, but I’m told that they were completely boneless and melted in the mouth. Poor fish!
We were now starting to feel slightly full (the Burrata is enough for several people in itself!), but really need to check out some other food on offer, so we tried the raw sliced tuna, served with cream cheese and chives. The tuna really melted in your mouth and mixes with the cream cheese and some crusty brown bread was a real treat.
By now we were definitely having trouble finishing our plates. Unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view) we had already ordered some grilled vegetables. These arrived very very grilled, and we weren’t sure if this was on purpose or whether they had been forgotten. Needless to say, we ate them anyway. 🙂
Finally the savoury dishes were finished, and so was the wine. It’s great to be able to take your time when eating at Le Crémerie, but often this is not an option: they close at 10pm, which is pretty early for somewhere that serves food, and during our time there two seperate tables were asked to up and move to the bar, as other diners were soon to arrive at their tables. Luckily, nobody bothered us, and we took a few minutes to let everything go down before – you better believe it – ordering dessert. My choice was the fromage blanc with honey. I’m a sucker for this seemingly simple dish, but the taste – more like cream than cheese – together with the wonderful honey is just one of the simple pleasures that I adore France for.
My companion went for the little rice pudding, also a great success.
So this is what was left on the table after all that…
Just empty plates!
The staff at La Crémerie are super nice, perfectly able to explain themselves in English and help you out, and obviously love their food. Make sure you book, get there not too late (7.30pm or 8pm at the latest) and go early in the week if possible so you can taste the Burrata! (Note that they are closed Mondays)
If you’d like to check out our full Flickr gallery, you can either peruse the miniature version below or go to the proper Flickr gallery page where they can be seen in much better quality! You’ll also find another English review of the restaurant, and some more photos here.
La Crémerie is at 9 rue des Quatre Vents (just two minutes from our Jardin de l’Odéon hotel), 75006 Paris. Métro : Odéon (lines 4 & 10). Open Tuesday to Saturday 10:30am-3 pm and 5 pm-10 pm. Phone +33 1 43 54 99 30. Website : www.lacremerie.fr