I started my day at 6 this morning, jumped on the Eurostar to Paris, dropped my bags at my hotel and then ended up in a dark edit room for seven hours with my friend Manu working on the latest National Geographic programme. I had forgotten some medicine, an adaptor, my pjs, toothpaste, and the charger for my iphone and ipad. This, in spite of double checking, realising what I still needed to pack and then blatantly forgetting to do so. Now I’m looking at the contents of my suitcase (the ones I remembered), with horror. Why didn’t I bring my cute new black leather jacket and the leopard scarf that goes with it so well? Heels, I should always bring heels to Paris, it makes me feel much more elegant. I meant to change money and get some oatmeal before checking into the Eurostar. It wasn’t until I was through immigration that I remembered. What is going on????
Finally back at my hotel this evening, making my way through rush hour on the Metro and a driving rain, I could barely be bothered with dinner. Truth be told, I almost popped into the MacDonald’s by the Metro station just so I wouldn’t have to leave my room again. I asked the man at the front desk of my hotel if he had an recommendations and he pointed me to a couple nearby restaurants which I investigated, but even my appetite seemed to be failing me as the menus out front of each sounded heavy and unappealing. On the verge of giving up I wandered through Monoprix thinking I’d scrounge up some takeaway to snack on in my room (and pick up the missing toothpaste).
Just when I’d truly given up on my day, I came across the very appealing looking Albion. It’s tucked away on a little side street not two minutes walk from my hotel. (This is where the man at the front desk should be pointing his guests!) Not just a restaurant, Albion offers a fantastic selection of wines for sale and I was seated among the bottles at the front of the restaurant. Thinking I wasn’t terribly hungry I ordered the fillet of brill with clams, smoky bacon, mushrooms and cabbage. Oh, my! It was fantastic. Really, really good. The fish was sauteed until a golden crust had formed, the clams and smoked bacon added saltiness and a light cream sauce finished the whole thing off. I asked my waiter what was in the sauce because I thought perhaps a dash of sherry or something else sweet. No, just a reduced chicken stock he said. I could have eaten that dish twice.
Now I was regretting not getting a starter, but never fear, dessert saved the day. It was a creme Anglais tart with a lemon ice milk, a shiso leaf gel and black pepper. Absolutely amazing. The tart itself was packed with flecks of nutmeg and delightfully creamy. Somehow it all worked together superbly.
Blindsided by the goodness of it all, I stumbled back out into the rainy Paris night and into bed (t-shirt having to do double duty today in lieu of pjs). However, I couldn’t sleep before sharing my treats with you all. It’s been a day to forget in most respects but Albion has a secure spot in my Paris restaurant rotation.