Monday, 29 March 2010

Restaurant Review: Ribouldingue, Paris

I was so looking forward to going back to Ribouldingue.  Last time I went my main course immediately went on my list of the the best things I've ever eaten.  It was a pig foot parmantier - the meat from the slow cooked foot stripped off the bone, mixed with a subtly flavoured and creamy sauce, covered in mashed potato, bread crumbs and gratinated.  The result was a rich, comforting, deep set of flavours offset perfectly by the two thin strips of pickled red pepper on top.  So hopes were understandably high - which was why my second meal there was a crashing disappointment.

The restaurant looks wonderful.  It's small, high-ceilinged with baroque metal chairs, white linen tablecloths, off-white stuccoed walls and fresh flowers.  The woman in charge is slightly rude, but when your French isn't very good and you're in Paris things get a bit lost in translation, she was nice enough - in fact positively pleasant, to the other guests.  The menu is heavily offal based and constantly changing, which explains both the pig foot parmantier last time and its absence on this visit.  We started with an excellent foi gras pate with a prune compote.  It was when the kitchen actually had to do some cooking that the problems started.  I ordered sweet breads, one of my absolute favourite things.  Sadly, though they had been floured and fried, they weren't at all crisp and were woefully under-seasoned.  They came on top of a parsnip mash, the creaminess of which left the whole dish lacking texture, given the softness of sweetbreads.  Again this was under-seasoned and the parsnips had been waterlogged when they were boiled.  My girlfriends meal was equally disappointing.  She had veal kidney with potato dauphinois, the same as last time, mainly because the dauphinois was delicious and rich, beautifully spiced with nutmeg, with a good deal of compte giving it an extra dimension.  The veal kidney was to be fair fantastic.  But the dauphinois, the part we were most looking forward to, had split.  I can't even be bothered to talk about the puddings.

I might, if it was in London, give this place another chance (although probably not because of the price), but given it's in Paris, somewhere I rarely go, I doubt that I will ever eat there again.

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