Le Vin Chai Moi, Paris 1 – BKWine Pick

Luc Menier is the sommelier and Sébastien Farré is the chef. Born and raised in the same village, in Chinon in the Loire Valley. Now they are both at the cleverly named and very nice restaurant Vin Chai Moi, just off Place de la Madeleine. They used to have a restaurant in the 20th arrondisement in Paris but in May they moved to this, much more central location. They are still putting the final touches to the decoration, when we were there the first time the parquet was not yet done on the first floor but the second time it was in place.

They have three levels: a small are on street level which they will run as a small and elegant brasserie with just a few tables. The basement can be rented for private functions or tastings. One floor up is the restaurant and a small bar. A three course menu goes for 33 euro and if you pick and chose from the à la carte you can expect 40-45 euro. The ravioli de langoustine is a delicious starter with a creamy sauce, or try the foie gras de canard mi-cuit. As a main course you can try the file de bar (seabass) with penne and chanterelles mushrooms, a generous entrecôte with creamy mashed potatoes, or a souris d’agneu (literally, a smiling lamb, a very tender knuckle of lamb) with curry cauliflower.

If you still have room for desert (please do) you can try their home made baba au rhum (sponge cake steeped in rum, but go easy on the rum, they’ll put the bottle on the table…) or a delicious Grand marnier soufflé.

The wine list is quite extensive without being excessive, with several interesting bottles starting at 24 euro: a very good Saint Romain from Alain Gras for 36 euro (lots of pinot in that wine!) or a white Chinon (unusual!) for only 24 euro. (Open lunch and dinner. Closed Sundays and Mondays.)

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