Saint-Germain-des-Pres made me love Paris many years ago. It’s peppered with cool shops, bookstores, boutiques and the like. But it’s the landmark cafés where great old figures of artistic past came to be inspired that really started my love for this area. Case in point: espresso at Café de Flore is so potent, you’ll get your caffeine fix enough to sustain a full day of exploring. Meanwhile, martinis at Les Deux Magots are quite lethal, but it’s a great aperitif to build your appetite at night. Plus, people watching there is fun.
The place is also full of gems around each corner. Like the beautiful Le Bon Saint Pourçain behind the place Saint-Sulpice.
Once named Au Bon Saint Pourçain, it was a much-loved neighbourhood restaurant where locals gossiped and bantered with the owner/waiter for hours. A glass of wine from the Saint Pourçain region was a hospitality fixture any given punter would gladly take, and the food is inspired by traditional homecooked favourites.
Sadly, the much-loved owner was rumoured to have developed health issues and the restaurant, gossip, and wine all came to rest.
A few years later, the much loved bistro re-opened, this time under new management. David Lanher of Racine fame (by the way, I was really sad when Racine in Knightsbridge closed) took over the reins with new staff from Café de Flore in tow. Soon, Le Bon Saint Pourçain came abuzz again and all the regulars and neighbourhood locals once again have a place to gossip, sip, and eat.
Happy endings, aye?
The restaurant is quite cosy and quaint, but there’s a brightness I quite liked.
As soon as I sat, wine from the Saint Pourçain region was poured into my glass (although I didn’t think it was free this time around). Crisp, bold yet light, it was a good welcome.
A wooden board menu was propped in front of me. I love reading French menus to challenge my understanding of the language further.
I had to have the leeks in vinaigrette as this is a dish the restaurant has been serving for a long time. A poached egg (which I do not eat) rests atop a nest of softened leeks and served with a vinaigrette that has the most amazing tang in the world.
The tuna carpaccio came, looking entirely different to what I expected. It was much thicker, and portion was quite big. It was topped with some herbs and spices, plus a hint of Thai vinaigrette. Each slice of this tuna slab was divine; the fish was sashimi grade and chunky. Absolutely delicious.
I love a good piece of bream. Mine was cooked so well with its crispy skin making me so happy and soft flesh melting in the mouth. It came with some cockles and clams, which added a unique saltiness that contrasted with the sweet butternut mash and chestnut emulsion.
You can’t really go to a Paris bistro without trying their roast chicken offering of some sort. Le Bon Saint Pourçain’s priciest dish of the day starred organic poultry. And boy what a serving it was.
This fillet of chicken had such good quality to it with the right amount of fat lining the übercrispy skin and moist flesh. The chard puree was quite intriguing, as well as the wine emulsion on top. Mushrooms garnish the plate as well, but it’s truly the chicken that shines here.
Verdict of Le Bon Saint Pourçain
One for traditional French cooking with a twist? Then this is for you. You pay a bit more than typical bistros and brasseries, but quality is what you get. It’s well located and the vibe is fantastic. You won’t see too many tourists here, perhaps 1 or 2 more tables other than yours. The minute you sit, take in the neighbourhood feel of it all.
The food is good – a mix of traditional bistro favourites hummed with modern-day cooking. It’s not too old school for the cool kids, it’s not too modern for purists.
One for a mid-trip dinner. Reservations needed.
Le Bon Saint Pourçain
10Bis Rue Servandoni, 75006 Paris, France
Ave spend pp: 60€