I have been to Le Bal two of the last three three of the last four Sundays, for several reasons. First, there is the coffee, about which much has been written already.
Then there are the scones.
I could stop there, really, and go home happy.
Or I could stay and order the kedgeree, a dish of curried rice with smoked haddock, topped with an egg. Last weekend I was going to order the pancakes but called an audible and reverted to the trusty bacon and eggs.
I got to try the shortstack anyway; the hungry guy sitting across the table (who possesses the metabolic rate of a hummingbird) ordered two items, which is actually not as gluttonous as it sounds: Brunch at Le Bal is in no way obscene. This is not a hash-slinging, four-egg omelet affair that brunch so often is, but smart and cheerful cooking, simple and sophisticated at the same time, bright and fresh.
The pancakes were tender and fluffy, if a bit plain jane. I would have paired them with the fromage blanc and rhubarb compote that was on the menu (there’s always next Sunday) but my friend ordered the green bean salad, tossed with red onion confit, vinaigrette, and topped with eggs, sunny orange yolks barely set.
Dessert was a lemon posset with big piece of tender shortbread that crumbled wonderfully (and frustratingly – these crumbs are too good to waste).
I had never heard of posset before. The dessert as it’s now known evolved from what was, historically, a drink of milk curdled with ale, often used for medicinal purposes (or, if you’re Lady Macbeth, mixed with poison for less benign ends). This modern form contains only cream, lemon juice, and sugar, a sort of eggless custard — though technically a cheese, I suppose — and appears to be the worlds easiest dessert to make. At Le Bal they add plenty of vanilla bean seeds, too.
I like to go early; the only thing better than this food is enjoying it in the sunny, pre-rush quiet, which starts deteriorating around noon. they open at 10 for coffee and scones. Brunch service starts at 11:30.
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.
Read more about Le Bal Café at Paris by Mouth.
See all my Paris food photos on Flickr.