There was surprisingly good food at this rather unassuming establishment, with its hodgepodge of floor patterns and simple bistro décor.
During the day this quaint little place operates more as a bistro, whereas come the evening it acts more as a restaurant, serving all kinds of traditional French food such as pike dumpling gratin with Lyonnaise sauce, roast veal kidneys with preserved shallots or lamb fillet with tarragon (all €22 each). And the menu is in English as well as French.
I started my meal with the warm terrine of pike perch with chive sauce (€9) and a glass of house red (€5), and followed it with the Lyonnaise dumplings (€22), whilst my friend went for the duck Magret with blackcurrants (€22). The starter was really quite tasty and unlike any terrine I have had. It was very light with a subtle taste, without being bland. The sauce complimented it beautifully too.
It was a considerable portion size for a starter so I ended up sharing it with my dinner date for the evening as I was concerned from seeing the other portion sizes that I would not manage the whole of my main course.
My main was truly indulgent, the Lyonnaise dumplings were light and fluffy, sat upon a bed of cooked spinach and lived up to the French stereotype of containing plenty of butter and cream.
Though they were absolutely delicious, it was a little too rich for me to finish, but I did greatly what I was able to manage and would thoroughly recommend to someone with a better constitution for such cuisine.
By contrast the duck Magret my dinner companion ate was simpler and the blackcurrant jam added the excitement to the dish that, untraditionally, was accompanied by a medley of vegetables. A lighter alternative for the main, yet also delightfully tasty.
For dessert I opted for the chef’s suggestion of pear charlotte (€9). However I have to say it was not anything special. It arrived with a custard type affair and though was a perfectly ok dessert, it lacked any kind of excitement and considering the quality of the rest of the food it was a bit of a disappointment.
VERDICT: I would highly recommend Chez Nénesse but perhaps skip dessert.
Address: 17 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris
Phone: 01 42 78 46 49
Open: Monday to Friday, 12:00 to 14:30 and 20:00 to 22:15
Metro: M8 Saint-Sébastien – Froissart