I have been to Le Bal two of the last three three of the last four Sundays. It’s a problem.
The coffee is fantastic, the scones perfect. 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. Or the bacon and eggs, a trusty standby. The pancakes are tender and fluffy, if a bit plain jane. They’d be good paired with the fromage blanc and rhubarb compote that was on the menu (there’s always next Sunday). The green bean salad is a good choice, tossed with red onion confit, vinaigrette, and topped with eggs, their sunny orange yolks barely set.
For dessert last weekend we had a lemon posset, a sort of eggless custard, with big piece of tender shortbread that crumbled wonderfully, and frustratingly; these crumbs are too good to waste.
I’d 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 world’s easiest dessert to make. At Le Bal they add plenty of vanilla bean seeds, too.
They open at 10 for coffee and scones. Brunch service starts at 11:30. My advice? Go early. The airy calm starts deteriorating around noon.
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.