One reason I hold a special place in my heart for Alec Lobrano and his book Hungry for Paris is because his guide to Paris restaurants led me to Le Timbre, a tiny establishment tucked away in the 6th arrondissement. After my first lunch there three years ago, the restaurant quickly became a favorite of mine and a regular stop on my itinerary when showing friends and family around the city. Each time I went to chef Chris Wright’s restaurant I knew that I would enjoy happy hours of eating at the tiny tables that line the space whose name- literally “the stamp”- commemorates the cozy size of the dining room.
English by birth but francophile by choice, Wright’s cuisine was inspired by his childhood travels in France, particularly in the southwestern regions of the country. Wright’s menu proposed hearty servings of fresh fish and typical meat-and-vegetable dishes along with nods to his native land, such as a Stilton and sherry dessert. Despite the odd foreign cheese or charcuterie, the restaurant remained a typical French bistro, its simple menu exemplifying the joy that comes with enjoying quality ingredients and leaving the table well fed and happy.
This year Wright left the restaurant business retiring from Paris to a home in Cantal, and Le Timbre was taken over by first-time restaurant owners, Agnès Peyre and Charles Danet. The end of Wright’s reign in the kitchen is a loss to those who are reticent to embrace recent changes and trends in the Paris dining scene. The unabashedly protein – and butter – powered meals that make France such a fun place to eat are slowly giving way to fixed menus that offer a subtle array of ingredients that look good on a plate and are meant to be married in the mouth.
The new incarnation of Le Timbre is in keeping with this new culinary tendency – offering a little of everything, but not a lot of any one thing. Vegetarian, gluten-free, or allergy-prone eaters will be happy to know that the kitchen has no problems adapting their menu to suit any diet, and Peyre is an eager guide to help guests choose a wine to go with their meal. The set three-course lunch menu, (26 euro) concentrates on seasonal produce and fresh products.
A starter of butternut squash soup welcoming a poached egg kicked off an autumnal meal. As a main, a filet of sea bass was presented on a bed of sautéed leeks, accompanied by a bowl of clams in a fish bisque. The homemade vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and almond cake with clementines arrived just in time, the decadence of cream, chocolate, and cake a welcomed end to lunch.
The restaurant’s dinner menu is an enticing option for those looking for a traditional French meal. Three fixed menus are proposed (34/41/49 euro), the first being a three course meal with a meat as a main, the second adding a fish course, and the most expensive including homemade foie gras.
Le Timbre as we now know it may take some time to come into its own, but both Peyre and Danet are genuinely dedicated to preserving the spirit that their predecessor established. I expect the wine menu to grow and possibly become more daring as the pair delves more into natural wines. One of the few interesting dining options in the area, set snugly between Luxembourg Gardens and Boulevard Montparnasse, Le Timbre is convenient for visitors and anyone looking for a tasty meal on the Left Bank.
Le Timbre – 3 Rue Sainte-Beuve, 75006. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 49 10 40
- Emily also reviews the delicious restaurant Inaro, perfect for local, artisanal, and organic small plates.
- Here are a few more trendy and affordable Parisian bistros to test out.
- Girl’s Guide to Paris also features a review of Le Timbre – check it out here!