Le Bal Café

November 16th, 2010 § 13 comments

I recently found myself having to defend my anti-brunch position to an Englishman who disagreed with me vehemently in spite of the fact that we were sitting yards from a mound of material evidence that amply supported my case (a dilapidated, lukewarm hotel buffet).

Said Englishman also likes to rouse this American by taking credit on behalf of his country for having “invented” the United States of America. I know.

It turns out that the Brits did invent brunch, or at least the word, and now two former Rose Bakery cooks are working on perfecting it at Le Bal. A mere week later, I was forced to reconsider my hardline stance.

They serve scones, yes, and other British specialties: kippers, kedgeree, pancakes, porridge and Welsh rarebit. They also serve one of the best cappuccinos I’ve had outside of Italy. Coffee lovers take note.

“Real bacon,” sighed my friend Phyllis, cutting into a curly slice. I pierced the shimmering yolks of my eggs, cut into a roasted tomato, and mopped up the mess with toast. If only all brunches were this good.

Alas, the idyll came to an end when what seemed to be a busload of people arrived and were practically breathing on our cheese cake. It was reminder of one of the main reasons I avoid brunch: the crowds. Either get to Le Bal early or risk having your foot rolled over by a stroller.

Or pram, if you prefer.

Le Bal Café 6 impasse de la Défense, Paris 75018, +33 (0)1 44 70 75 51. Weds-Sat 10 am – 11 pm, Sun 10 am – 7 pm.

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§ 13 Responses to Le Bal Café"

  • adrian says:

    Did you get a peek at their normal menu as well, the ‘modern British’ cuisine? Be interested in your take on that

  • anne says:

    Well I am British .. so thought I would just google the word “brunch” …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brunch .. reading it says that the term was introduced in Britain 1896 and other sources say it was a reporter for the New York Sun …

    and according to this website Brunch was conceived by a wealthy businessman in Missouri, USA ..

    I do come over to Paris to see friends now and again ,so might just go and have a try .. !

    I came over here via a link someone put on Facebook.

  • Camille says:

    Looks great! How are the prices? My biggest problem with brunch in Paris is that it’s usually ridiculously overpriced.

  • Barbra says:

    Adrian – I did look at the other menus, and would definitely go back for dinner. What I liked, in general, is that they seem to pay attention to detail (rare at the brunch hour, no?), and I’m guessing this carries through to other services as well.

    Anne – Thanks for the info. I’m going to credit the Brits, if only for narrative purposes :) .

    Camille – The prices are fair, I think, particularly considering the quality. The bacon and eggs were €12,that perfect cappucino was €2.50. You can see more on their site.
    http://www.le-bal.fr/fr/category/mh/le-bal-cafe/menus/

  • Camille says:

    Excellent! Thanks!

    p.s. Went to Tholoniat today, not only does the stuff look great, but they have the nicest saleslady in the world!

  • Patrick says:

    Amazing how hard it is to find really well-prepared coffee, even in Europe. The cappuccino looks fantastic. Must try it.

  • Channa says:

    Patrick – The barista’s name is David Flynn, and yes he is the best of only a dozen good baristas in Paris. Parisian coffee is slowly getting better with the likes of Le Bal, La Caféothèque, Alto, and soon to open Coutume in the 7th…

  • Barbra says:

    Channa – Thanks for the coffee intel. If only some enterprising barista would set up shop in my quartier…

  • Bonnie says:

    New Zealand where I live enjoys a thriving cafe/brunch culture with outstanding baristas and wonderful brunch food. I have not visited Paris but am interested in your post. :)

  • Barbra says:

    Bonnie – A friend who has visited NZ often waxes poetic about something called a “flat white”. I wish a barista culture would develop here in Paris… sigh.

  • Katie says:

    Hi Barbara, thanks for the idea. I think I will suggest this on Sunday for rdv brunch…..Rein que pour le flat white. It looks pretty authentic !

  • Paris Bobo says:

    I must go back for a piece of that cheesecake…

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