When we first decided to stay in Paris we took advice from our French Guru, En as to finding, not necessarily the most popular but the more interesting places to dine in this city. As soon as he told us about L'AOC we knew it would be a place we'd have to visit - and on visiting the website and finding out more, we're actually going to be dining here twice.
AOC refers to Appellation d’origine contrôlée - controlled designation of origin and Restaurant L'AOC sources those top rated ingredients - be it produce or wine.
When you walk through the door you're greeted by a lovely sight - assorted meats happily turning on the rotisserie. The decor is as you'd expect a French bistro to be - leather and wood, close set tables, check cloths.
Menu choices at lunch are a al carte or a menu of the day - an extraordinarily reasonable €21 for 2 courses (lunch only) or €29 for 3 courses (lunch and dinner).
Working our way through the menu was easy but as we are not well versed in French wines our choice took a little longer but we finally settled on a 2005 Vin De Pays D’OC Domaine Philippe Chesnelong "Les Creisses" which you can see in the decanter below.
Terrine du Chef
I do so love the pig shaped board but even better that it was that gorgeous slap of terrine accompanied by a dollop of caramelised onions. You'll also notice a large jar of cornichons by the bottle of wine in the previous photo, that was served with this terrine. Perfect seasoning, fabulous meat, well studded with pistachio - this alone would make a brilliant lunch.
Oreilles de cochon en salad
Paalo's choice was a pig's ear salad - he had expected strips of deep fried crispy ear but this was something completely different. There was no hiding the fact that this was ear. The pigs ears have been poached in a court bouillon leaving them with a sometimes crunchy, sometimes gelatinous texture depending on which part of the ear you were eating. This collection of odd shaped bits was simply dressed in a white wine vinaigrette.
Oh bread, must not forget to mention the fabulous little sacks filled with fantastic Poujauran bread that we enjoyed through the meal.
L'Onglet de Boeuf
A beautiful piece of meat, served with onions and roasted potatoes (the potatoes sit at the bottom of the rotisserie to cook)
Served rare with a beautifully seared exterior, it was fantastically tender. Great flavour.
Paalo's choice was a Black pudding and this was quite different again - it was very loose structurally but the flavour was superb.
Charlotte au chocolat
Short pastry topped with thick slices of apple and doused in an almost savoury caramel. The thickness of the apple slices surprised me as I most associate a tarte fine with ultra thin slices of apple. I also enjoyed the fact that it wasn't overly sweet - the vanilla ice-cream worked well to cut through the intense caramel.
Inside the charlotte - it sits on a short biscuit and is made from sponge fingers that surround a rather dense chocolate mousse. Once again, not overly sweet.
To finish - coffee and a little financier.
We were very impressed with the meal - the quality was exceptional and for the price an absolute bargain. Paris has the reputation of being an expensive city but seriously a meal like this in Melbourne would cost a hell of a lot more.
14 Rue Fossés St Bernard
75005 Paris, France
Tuesday - Saturday 12pm to 2.30pm and 7.30pm to 11.30pm
01 43 54 22 52