In case further proof that traditional bistrot fare is experiencing a renaissance in Paris was needed, look no further than La Bourse et La Vie. Opened by celebrated Spring chef Daniel Rose, this bistrot du quartier mixes the attention to product and preparation that people have come to love from Spring with French culinary history and tradition. And it’s a real treat.
I popped in for lunch with a colleague after spending the morning at Haven in Paris’ nearby Opera apartment and was pleased to find the menu, space, and décor induced immediate nostalgia. The menu was relatively short – four entrées, four plats, six desserts – and the wine list perfectly tailored, signs of real expertise and restraint in my book.
The meal couldn’t have begun any better; shortly after dropping off menus, our server reappeared with the largest gougère I’ve ever seen. Light on top with a spongy-yet-dense cheesy center, the only negative was our need to save space for the courses to come. My lunch date opted for a glass of Bourgogne Chablis and tomates et anchois to start, and I a Bordeaux Saint-Émilion and the poireaux vinaigrette. Both were beautiful in their construction simplicity, and equally as pleasing on the palate. My leeks were perfectly tender, bathing in a shallow pool of tangy vinegar and olive oil, topped with hazlenuts and shallot. Though all the mains were enticing – ranging from steak frites to caille frite – we couldn’t turn down the prospect of pot-au-feu de veau. The presentation began with a fried slice of veal brain being placed in each of our bowls, then topped with classic sauce ravigote, an acidic shallot-herb-hard boiled egg combination that traditionally accompanies a fatty dish such as this one. The contents of a stunning copper pot were then spooned in: marrowbone, two cuts of braised veal, vegetables, and their broth. As anticipated, it was wonderful. I savored the dish so much that our server even came to check if everything was tasting as it should.
Another touch of French culinary tradition is added in the management of the restaurant; in “bringing up the next generation,” Spring veterans Andy Fernandez, Harry Johnson, and Marie-Aude Rose have transitioned over and will oversee the day-to-day, with Guillermo Campos leading the front-of-house. The interior was designed by Elliott Barnes, who focused on mixing found items with the original features, all drawing on historic building codes. Bistro chairs from a brocante in Lille seamlessly blend with original mirrors and a traditional zinc comptoir.
One of our favorite addresses of la rentrée, La Bourse et La Vie is a must-visit, especially as the weather begins to chill. They will be serving all meals, from coffee and Marie-Aude baked goods in the morning to à la carte options for lunch and dinner, though a lunch prix fixe is in discussion as well.
La Bourse et La Vie – 12 rue Vivienne, 75002. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 60 08 83. Métro: Bourse. Open Monday – Friday for coffee (8:30-11am), lunch (12-2pm) and dinner (7-10pm). Reservations recommended and can be made online.
- Fond of classic French fare? Check out our review of Le Grand 8 in Montmartre.
- Now that you’ve heard about Daniel Rose’s newest venture, revisit the restaurant that put him on the map.
- For another perspective, take a peek at Alexander Lobrano’s review of the restaurant.