My quest for a hearty salad in Paris
By Olivia Thiessen
Salad is one of those things that I normally avoid like the plague when going out for dinner, but in France they can often be quite exciting, and on the strength of this I went on the hunt for a truly decent salad in Paris.
The place that come up most talked about was Le Relais Gascon so we headed over to the branch on Rue des Abbesses in the heart of picturesque Montmartre. In terms of location it is perfect, in terms of ambience it lacked it a bit in my view (though upstairs seemed a bit cosier than downstairs) and in terms of value, it earned top marks. However, while my friend did well, my doubts about salad as a main dish remain.
As salads are where it is at here, we both opted for one. I chose the Salade du Bérarnais (large salad with garlic potatoes, warm goat’s cheese, lardons, olives and tomatoes, €13.50), whilst my friend chose the Salade Oceane (€14.50), which came with the same salad and potato base but topped with smoked salmon, prawns, avocado and apple. We each opted for a medium carafe of house wine (about €9) too as we knew we would need to work our way through this meal slowly.
Upon arrival they both looked quite similar due to the sheer amount of potatoes served, the salads were indeed huge. I knew before starting that there was no way we would finish. I have mixed feelings about the food itself, whilst it was good, it was too salty for me and I found it hard to eat as much as I did, but maybe I should not have chosen the salad with lardons and goat’s cheese in it and opted for something less salty in the first place.
Having said this, my friend loved hers and what I did try of it seemed less heavy on the salt. I liked that they were served with warm ciabatta breads with garlic, and that the atmosphere was very relaxed.
But I do feel that there are better salads out there and perhaps the novelty of the size of the salads and location of the place are its biggest sell factor, and not quality.
Verdict: needs to try harder – and be a touch less liberal with the salt!
Le Relais Gascon http://www.lerelaisgascon.fr/
6, rue des Abbesses, 750018, Paris Metro: Abbesses, M12 01 42 58 58 22 13, Rue Joseph de Maistre, 75018 Paris Metro: Blanche M2 or Abbesses M12 01 42 52 11 11