Poulette (which means “little chick” in English), is a truly beautiful bijou restaurant in central Paris, matched with a short but delightful sounding menu pasted in the window. I rarely choose a place on the basis of appearance alone, but Poulette was so charming and alluring with its colourful tiled walls that I just had to check it out. So on the spot I walked in and reserved a table for later that night. Turns out my instincts for booking were well founded as by dinner time it was fully booked.
When presented with the menus, I noticed that rather unusually the main courses (aside from the chef special), required that you order your accompaniment for your meal separate to your desired main dish. A nice quirk I felt, allowing for more flexibility with your meal. Anticipating that the duck rillettes (€8.00) starter might be quite plentiful, we ordered one to share between two and followed it up with the chef’s special for my friend, steak and fries (€19.50) and for me, filet mignon with a mustard sauce (€13.50) and fried polenta slices (€6.00) on the side. Other sides included pureed squash and hazelnuts, or house fries or dauphinoise potatoes.
The duck rillettes (pictured) were pleasant, and while the texture was perhaps ever so slightly dry, the dish was lifted by a hint of an almond taste and sweet onion confit. The portion was indeed large and ideal to share with a little extra bread, I would certainly order this again.
My pork filet mignon however was less appetizing, it was even drier and I did not feel that the mustard dressing lifted what essentially felt like a piece of pork that had been dumped on my plate. The polenta was probably even worse and I only ate half, yet I noticed that several people around me were eating and appearing to enjoy the same dish so perhaps it just disagreed with my palette, or they were equally matched at disguising their feelings as I was.
A little bit disheartened, I tried a bite of my friend’s, and clearly I had just ordered the wrong thing. His was perfectly cooked, subtle in flavour but spot on and the fries were great. I was instantly a little jealous and begrudgingly attempted to finish my own.
I am undecided if I would return, the atmosphere was ideal for a Paris dinner; intimate, busy, charming, bilingual and friendly. But the experience was somewhat marred by my meal, so maybe if I returned I would play it safe and just order the steak and chips.
Address: 3 rue Etienne Marcel, 75001, Paris
Metro: M4, Etienne Marcel
Phone: Tel : +33 953628917
Open: Monday to Saturday, 12:00 to 14:45 and 19:00 to 23:00