Lobster ravioli with truffles and celery: if this is touristy, well, I’m a tourist.
Here’s another spot which defies the curious adage that tourists and good eating don’t mix. The tight Rue St Antoine wriggles up through the old town and packs the visitors in. (Understandably: it’s the most picturesque part of town.)
Naturally it is jammed with restaurants which, by common consent, are all ‘touristy’ and thus no good. Quite why ‘touristy’ should be synonymous with ‘awful’ I don’t know. (We are, after all, all tourists – even the classiest among us.) At any event, take no notice of common consent. Among the Rue St Antoine eateries is quite a selection of good-class establishments, and Le Mesclun is one of them.
It’s pretty small, with just two terrace tables outside. If the weather’s fit and you like observing your fellow man, do try for these: the people-watching is diverting. Otherwise, go inside. There’s plenty of polished wood and wood panelling, and a slight suggestion of the 1970s, doubtless intended.
The wall lights look like ice-cream cones sliced in half. It’s all rather cosily elegant, with posh table settings - as befits the serving of some ace Mediterranean food. Though perhaps not wildly original, it is infused with contemporary imagination, brilliantly worked and presented picturesquely. Apart from the lobster ravioli, the sea-bream fillet on a white bean ragout and spit-roasted lamb are dishes which stay in the mind. If this is ‘touristy’, then let’s have more of it.