O…M…G….Where do I start about this place ? I`m sitting here trying to find a way to describe how I feel about my meal at the Parisian Bistro Chez L`ami Louis . Well if you`re a guy and you`ve experienced a good hard kick between the legs then that`s something similar to how you`ll feel when you get the bill in this place. It bloody well hurts real bad.
We had already eaten lunch at 3 star Ledoyen and before we knew it we were heading back out to the 3rd arrondissement area and to Chez L`Ami Louis for dinner. I have to admit I had done no research about “The World`s best Bistro” as my dining buddy Finediningexplorer, being the expert had put our culinary weekend together. He had booked L`Ami Louis weeks ahead in order to reserve our weekend table. There`s only 12 tables in the Bistro and apparently they`re scooped up weeks ahead mainly by visitors from the U.K. and USA. Ex president Clinton , Jacques Chirac , Francis Ford Coppola have all eaten there hence the good standing that the Bistro holds on the World stage.
I won`t babble on too much as i`m actually making the place sound good ,when it really isn`t. So let`s get on with our experience. The first thing that hit me was the size of the Bistro which was rather small and very similar in style to the dining carriage on a grand old express train… but nowhere near as grand as the prices on the menu. Twelve tables and very little room for anything else. Secondly, I observed the waiters, huge “bouncer” types dressed in White – Zero smiles and Zero personality. I can honestly say that within a minute of entering the Bistro I had already decided I didn`t like it. I could smell the bad attitude and very poor customer care from the off.
The Menus arrived without asking if we would like anything to drink .It was just “Menus” and our waiter walked away again. Ohhhhhh my good Lord !!! Are these prices for real ? The first price that caught my eye was Asparagus Spears `64 Euros` ($73 / £50). Were these interleaved with Perigord Truffle ? Nope , they were simply just steamed or boiled then plonked on the plate and that’s it….16 Euros ($18 / £13)… PER SPEAR. My dining buddy Finediningexplorer has eaten in every corner of the globe , including all of the Worlds Top 100 best restaurants. He just looked up from his menu with a look of horror on his face and uttered just two words…..” Oh Shit ”
So what do we order here ? Due to the ridiculous prices we decided to share a Foie Gras starter 62 Euros ($70 / £49) with a glass of Sauternes ( 25 Euros / $28/£20). At least they couldn’t mess that up….could they ? Three very generous slabs of fridge chilled Foie Gras arrived , as solid as a prison wall. To accompany the Pate we got a huge plate of grilled Bread. “ Excuse me , do we get anything to accompany this please….Relishes , Chutneys , Jellies ? Obviously not , the waiter didn`t even look back . The Foie Gras was far too cold , it was dry and really was hard work to eat. One previous diners report summed the Foie gras up very accurately as “Plumber’s putty tasting faintly of gut-scented butter like pressed liposuction” . A bottle of Mineral Water to help wash it down perhaps ? ……16 Euro.($18/£12)
A young American couple landed on the table beside us. Really excited to be in this legendary institution….both foodies and the boyfriend headed up a Pastry section of a high end hotel. Their first comments were “ it`s f****** expensive”. They then ordered the house specials….The dreaded Asparagus and what`s been billed as “The best Roasted Chicken in France”. I quite fancied the Chicken myself but the price drove me away at 96 Euro ($109/£76). I`m certainly not going to order a simply roasted Chicken for that price. Anyways , we chatted with our neighbours , sharing a few foodie stories as we waited for our mains to arrive.
We chose the best of a bad bunch for our main courses. Confit of Duck leg 51 Euro ($58/£40) for 2 legs and also Roasted Pigeon with Petits Pois for 56 Euro ($63/£44). This is exactly how the Duck arrived.
As for the Roasted Pigeon….as you can see it`s an absolute disaster. It actually looks as though it has been placed on the plate and then shot with both barrels. Then placed in the oven to die in its own fat , an absolute disgrace. Nothing to accompany , only potatoes with “Raw” Garlic and Peas. No sauces , No gravy , No anything. To make matters worse , the Pigeon was barely edible , tough to cut and very chewy.
It was just a total restaurant disaster. In the meantime our neighbours had got their Asparagus starter , and their initial comment “What the f*** is that supposed to be” ? I`m glad it wasn`t just us whinging.
Our neighbours legendary Roasted Chicken arrived shortly after. I smirked to myself and sat listening in silence to at least a dozen “F” words as they started to eat the bird. Less than a minute had passed before they summoned the `Bistro Bouncer`….”This Chicken is inedible ….we can`t eat this , take it away please” ….followed by another dozen “F” words. The boyfriend tried to calm things down but his lady wasn`t having any of it. Up she got off her seat to go tell the Chef what she thought of his cooking. Ohhhh dear , at least we suffered in silence like good old well mannered Brits. They paid the bill ( in full ) and left to eat elsewhere.
The house Green Salad for 30 Euros.( $34/£23)……Ouch.
Would I return ? …..Never. Food – Poorly cooked , Slapped on a plate and `you eat what you get , we don’t pander to customers` . Service – I`ll go as far to say pompous and intimidating with a dash of ignorance on the side.
At this point we decided enough was enough , no desserts as we had spotted them at another table looking plain and very boring ( for 25 to 30 Euro ) We paid our bill and left , never to walk into Chez L`Ami Louis ever again. As for “The best kept secret in Paris“ I`ll use a traditional English term….”Absolute Bollocks”. The food writer AA Gill was 100% accurate in his description of L`Ami Louis – “It is, all things considered, entre nous, the worst restaurant in the world “