We were already sitting at Christ Inn’s waiting for our entrance, when a couple of foreigners arrive. The restaurant owner will serve them with the menu in hand and ask if they speak French. The couple nods and she says – “Pas grave, J’arrive à traduire le menu” (no problem, I’ll be back to translate the menu). At that moment, the owner’s son says “And the show starts” and all the other longtime customers in the house burst out laughing.
She comes to our table, serves the wine almost to the mouth of a very small bowl and says: “I think I put the same for both, they don’t have to fight over the wine” and laughs.
After 10 minutes the owner returns to the foreign couple and begins to translate the menu. In French. Yes! In French and with incredible onomatopoeia of Quá-Quá for the duck, Nhoic-nhoic the pig, Muuuu for ox and so on. Thankfully, there was no horse on the menu. Then she translates the cuts of each meat showing the parts of her own body. Everyone burst out laughing again.
Christ and his owner below right
Our starter arrives, a delicious artichoke, which she made sure to explain that it was supposed to be warm food. We started to eat by the leaves, taking off one by one. The artichoke was delicious and the vinaigrette sauce that came with it was not even mentioned. When we finished the sheets she appears on the table again – “Do you know how to remove the pistils?” He asks. “Yes, you can let us know”. “Ahhh well – she says – because I’ve seen a lot of people choking on them here thinking they could be eaten”.
Next, a French lady complains that the knife is not good for cutting the meat. The owner, in the funniest way possible, says that she is actually the one who is cutting in the opposite direction to the filament of the meat. She takes the knife from the woman’s hand and teaches her the way how the meat should be cut, as a mother teaches her three-year-old son. In this she gets excited and cuts almost half the fillet for the woman and leaves it in pieces.
The place is a French jewel. The owners then are the relics. The food is magnificent. True bistro food as it should be. French mother’s food, you know? Everything at the right point, right season.
I had an entrecôte with fries and Paulo a canard magret, all delicious. The other dishes that arrived at the other tables did the same thing, each one more beautiful and more fragrant than the other. The place is truly fun and a delight for the soul.
In the end, all the customers looked at each other as if they were old acquaintances, laughing at a good time they were enjoying. Nothing better than a good breast to welcome everyone like in a big full house.
For dessert, I couldn’t ask for anything more classic than a crème brûlée – it was wonderful. With a difference from other places where I normally eat, the cream was cold and the sugar was hot from the burnt. That temperature difference made the cream explode in my mouth.
Nothing better than a mother’s house to make us feel at home! A real place with a heart!
The Christ Inn’s Bistrot is the former Cochon à L’Oreille and is at 15, Rue Montmartre.