Pascalline Pelletier has owned and run the L’Epi d’Or restaurant since January 1987. A neighbourhood bistro, I love it for serving tasty, unpretentious French food and evoking countless happy moments. I refer to hilarious tête-à-têtes with Christian Louboutin whose flagship boutique is a few doors down, unforgettable dinners thrown by the antiquaire and gallery owner Pierre Passebon and, of course, my final lunch before my twin daughters were born in 2001. (Since they were two months premature, I had no idea that their birth was so imminent!)
Naturally, I have sent friends to L’Epi d’Or and few haven’t been delighted by the experience. As with all culinary establishments, the exacting standards stem from the patron. Not only is Pascalline there day and night greeting her customers and clocking the courses/plates that leave the kitchen but she’s a veritable fiend for fresh, locally produced superior ingredients. Others with her success might settle to have fish, meat and vegetables delivered (read: dumped on the pavement outside the place). Mais pas Pascalline who either drives out at dawn, seeking and buying the best or she relies on her Top Secret list of suppliers who raise sheep for her in Provence and so forth. “I could save money by not being so choosy,” Pascalline admits. “But using inferior ingredients isn’t an option because how could I possibly serve my clients what I wouldn’t eat myself?”
"Pascalline is a veritable fiend for fresh, locally produced superior ingredients..."
It’s easy to understand what she means. Indeed, I still lick my chops remembering my first L’Epi d’Or dinner back in 1992. Encouraged by Pascalline, I began with the egg dish – Oeufs Cocotte à La Lyonnaise – followed by the mutton cooked over seven hours aptly named Gigot à la Cuillère and ended with the melt-in-the-mouth Tarte Tatin. True, I waddled out afterwards but remained in the merriest of moods.
L’Epi d’Or is located at 25 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Paris.
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer who covers fashion and lifestyle as well as being the author of Sam Spiegel – The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Understanding Chic, an essay from the Paris Was Ours anthology, the soon-to-be released Tino Zervudachi – A Portfolio – as well as the Chanel book, for Assouline's fashion series.
Robert Beck is former New Yorker currently based in Paris. Also known as C.J. Rabbitt, he is the author and illustrator of several children's books, including The Tale of Rabbitt in Paradis, Un Lapin à Paris and the soon-to-be-published A Bunny in the Ballet.