le restaurant Lavinia
We ate the best chocolates and macarons of our lives in Paris, but the highlight of the trip got to be our lunch experience in Lavinia. It is actually a 3-story wine shop, where they classify their wines in price categories as “under €50, 50-100, 100-250, 250-500 and over 500″…. The most expensive normal size bottle we
saw revered was a Petrus 1995 for €1.600 and there was even a 5 liter bottle (of something I unfortunately can’t remember) that cost around €8.000. You get the picture.
But then again, you don’t. They also have perfect bottles under €10, wines we know from Italy and adore for their price-performance ratio and they have “le restaurant Lavinia” on the upper floor where you can eat perfectly well and drink any wine you like for the store price! (This is of course only if you are drinking a bottle. They also have some wines by the glass, which have a little mark-up.)
We arrived at the restaurant around 12 and only a few seats at the bar were taken. Were asked if we had a reservation, which surprised us a lot, as we didn’t know it was a “proper” restaurant. We had thought there would be some charcuterie or a tartine, ignorant us. The menu is small but full of seasonal items, changes often and every item comes with a wine-recommendation that you can have by the glass. On that day for some reason we didn’t want to eat a proper meal (maybe because we were so pre-conditioned that there wouldn’t be any) so missed out on all the gorgeous food we admired on neighboring tables, which were, after half an hour, all taken. But still, our choices made us totally happy.
I definitely wanted to try the fresh foie gras with rosemary and fleur de sel. It came with some rocket. This foie gras was one of the best we ever had, it lacked the heaviness we have experienced in many cases and was full of flavor although so simple. We loved this.
This cheese platter was good but the star was the blue-veined cheese you can see on top left: This is “La Fourme d’Ambert“. This was so mild with all the tastes subtle but there; the creamy cows milk, the blue mold, the cellar, the age… We like blue molded cheeses a lot but you can not always eat the very hefty ones, in these cases with gorgonzola we go for the “dolce” version and leave roquefort or cabrales out. The fourmet d’ambert is like a mild roquefort, a beginners version, if you like. We could have eaten more of this.
To accompany this two dishes we wanted to drink a bottle of wine instead of two different glasses. I was thinking about a Sauternes but our great waiter suggested something else: Domaine de Chassorney Combe Bazin from the Saint-Romain appellation in the Burgundy region, an organic and unfiltered white wine from chardonnay grapes, barrel-fermented. This wine reminded us of our secret hero, Josko Gravner, and his very polarising Breg, which he “lets become” in clay amphorae. Not as dry as Breg but definitely something in the same direction and at a more affordable price.
So why was Lavinia our highlight? Because they have great wines. Because they have good food. Because you can combine them without going bankrupt. Because you get perfect assistance. Because French bosses seem to allow their employees 3 hour lunchbreaks and do not mind a bottle of wine consumed, either. Lavinia staff know their wine and have a great concept and it makes us want to weep why there is no such place in Germany. If you love food and wine and go to Paris, visit Lavinia. You will love it, too.