After a successful opening on the Right Bank a couple of years ago, Le bel ordinaire is now enjoying a successful launch on the Left Bank with its new brasserie contemporaine, chic mini-store and very select wine cellar not far from our hotels.
Le bel ordinaire has a story that is anything but ordinary – they’ve been able to open two venues thanks to crowdfunding campaigns that have allowed 185 foodies to become shareholders, first on the Right Bank (in March 2017) and now the Left Bank (in May 2019).
In this new venue, the main room is pretty small, and although this summer has seen them insert a new glass roof in one section, it’s most definitely on the terrace that you should try and be seen (and being seen is part of the experience).
Part of the interior is a smart épicerie-cave, which they say has 150 different hand-picked products. We didn’t count, but much of that number is probably the wine selection.
For the initial opening, only dinner was served, but since the team has returned from their summer holidays, there’s a fixed price lunch menu available for 26€ (starter – main course – dessert), which seems like a good deal.
Actually, the kitchen is now open non-stop from midday until 10pm, the wines are all organic, and the feel of the place is definitely that it’s ze place to be. Don’t think that this is all just for show though – the team knows their food and wine, and the bottle of white they suggested for us was absolutely perfect.
There’s no fixed menu in the evening, just a choice between three starters, three mains and three desserts, plus an additional suggestion and some nibbles that you mike like to share.
For example, we started with the fried broccoli with kimchi and smoked cumin which was a phenomenal success – melt-in-the-mouth with a succession of different tastes. Astonishing, and so, so good!
For the veritable starters with chose the beans confits, prettily presented and served with pieces of torn mozzarella and summer truffle. Only the latter disappointed us a little because of its lack of taste, but the presentations and other tastes quickly made us forgive and forget.
Our second starter was raw skipjack tuna, with soybean caramel and za’atar-infused apricots. It sounded enticing, looked lovely, but really wasn’t for us – the mix of sweet and sour was too strong, we didn’t really get a clear sense of the soybean caramel, and, er, we’d forgotten how little we like apricots. Totally our fault – probably dreamy for someone else.
Time for the main dish, and with only three choices it’s perhaps no surprise that we both went for the same thing – gnocchi, basquaise sauce and parmesan – with a 5€ supplement for summer truffle on one of them. The gnocchi were divine, with a satisfying crunch on the outside but super soft within. However, we would advise you to forget the (expensive!) summer truffle supplement – it turned out to be practically tasteless and didn’t add anything for us.
Despite this, the dish looked amazing, and the texture was completely different from other gnocchi we’ve had elsewhere. One last niggle though – at almost 20 euros for just seven gnocchis, one or two more would have been nice.
For once (thanks to the size of the previous dishes) we definitely had room for dessert!
The lemon meringue pie had well-balanced tastes and textures, and came served next to a few dribbles of basil-infused olive oil (surprisingly good!)
As for the choux pastry with red fruit and verbena ice cream, it was equally successful, super cute and obviously very fresh. A success!
The Bel ordinaire has wonderful food, albeit in not particularly copious portions, but cheap it is not. For two people, three courses and a bottle of wine (one of the cheapest on offer) will set you back around 130€ 😳
For a special event, this is probably not a problem, but for anyone on a slightly lower budget, perhaps the new lunch menu (26€ for three courses) would be a better choice. Whether you go at lunchtime or in the evening, you’re sure to enjoy it – just keep in mind that dinner may come to twice the price of lunch. Yep.