Restaurant Review: Chez Julien, Paris in France
Just a stone’s throw away from the stunning River Seine, in the centre of Le Marais, sits Chez Julien, a pocket of French sophistication. If you’re into truffle, look no further, because that’s what this tiny bistro does best. On almost every dish there’s an option to add truffle, so naturally, we did.
I visited on a sunny spring day in mid-March when the skies were crystal clear. My boyfriend Rhys and I were in Paris for a birthday trip and as birthday lunches go, this one was pretty special.
Aesthetically speaking the restaurant is beautiful, we were seated in a small, cobbled courtyard, surrounded by greenery. It was a total sun-trap. The inside of Chez Julien is equally as attractive and decorated in a traditional 1900 fashion, which creates a romantic feel. We didn’t know this at the time of dining, but the restaurant is a hit with Rita Ora and was also used as a filming location in the glossy American TV series Gossip Girl. I mean if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me!
We kicked off with a glass of champagne, because, when in Paris… Chez Julien’s house bottle was brut and rather delicious. I sometimes find that champagne gets a bad rep in the UK but that’s simply because we have so many average bottles. This bottle certainly wasn’t.
It’s no exaggeration to say I walk marathons during city breaks and that morning alone we had already covered 18km, so it’s safe to say we were ravenous and ready for three courses by the time we arrived.
For his first course Rhys had boiled eggs with a creamy, foamed burrata, poached tomatoes and truffle. On paper it’s a pretty standard brunch dish but the reality was something different, courtesy of the fancy ingredients it was served with. I ordered the smoked salmon and dill salad which was typically French; topped with a mustard dressing, and accompanied with fluffy new potatoes and green beans, it was light and celebrated local French produce.
In true continental style our starters were served with a basket of freshly baked bread which mopped up the remnants of Rhys’ mozzarella beautifully.
When it came to our main courses, I continued with the sea food theme and ordered the almond crusted cod loin, served with parsnip mash, garlic aioli, berry jus and a basil drizzle… And obviously truffle too!
Paris is known for fine art and this plate wouldn’t have looked out of place in a gallery; the presentation was colourful and enticing with bright splodges of pink and green. Most importantly it didn’t just look fantastic but it tasted pretty great too.
Rhys went for a double dose of truffle and ordered the truffle risotto which was drizzled with… you guessed it, truffle oil. Heaven. The rice dish succeeded in having a deep, woody flavour without being too rich.
Rhys and I weren’t planning on ordering a pudding as we were pretty full, but after spotting salted caramel brioche on the menu, that plan quickly went out the window. The dessert was melt in your mouth and a sheer joy to taste. It was decadent, indulgent and worth every calorie.
The bistro attracts a wonderful mix of locals and also tourists; it’s the perfect location for a relaxed lunch but also has the potential to be immensely romantic and charming. We left Chez Julien with a feeling of content; full of truffle and an appreciation for French cuisine. If you’re in Le Marais, I’d really recommend popping by, even if it’s only for a glass of bubbly in the sun.
Address: 1 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004 Paris, France
Phone: +33 1 42 78 31 64