There are bakeries in Paris, and then there are Bakeries, those that command long lines and equally long magazine write-ups about their bread, the shatter factor of the crust, the creaminess of the crumb etc. Poilane is one of particular renown among the city’s boulangeries for its bread, in particular the miche Poilane that can be bought not just in its stores but also sold by supermarkets and specialty grocers.
The tastiest way to eat this dense, slightly sour bread is in the form of tartines, open-faced sandwiches topped with anything one desires. It can be as simple as a thick layer of Nutella spread or nuggets of seared foie gras atop fig paste, your imagination is the limit.
It is easy to make a tartine with Poilane bread at home, but even simpler to make a trip to one of the two La Cuisine de Bar branches, the first neighbors to Poilane’s St Germain des Prés’ storefront. At La Cuisine de Bar, a slim, modern restaurant without a kitchen that sells solely tartines on Poilane bread, there is more than a dozen choices to choose from.
Each sandwich costs no more than 10e, making it a light meal for the stomach and the wallet. By ordering the lunch formule, with costs 14.5e for wine/water, a small salad with fantastic dressing, a tartine and coffee/tea, one derives even greater value for money.
At the petit prix, portions veer towards the small size, ideal for grazers rather than chompers. Still, both dad and husband were happy about their sandwiches: for dad, a festively colored shrimp and avocado tartine laced with a spritz of lemon; for P, the roast beef tartine loaded with slices of rosy rare beef, spicy rocket leaves and savory sun-dried tomato.
I loved the tartine sardine, simply prepared with mashed preserved sardines thickly spread on the miche, with nary a whiff of fishiness.
Mum’s vegetarian tartine with preserved artichokes and peppers on tapenade was unfortunately rather poorly received, and could do better with a less heavy-handed smear of the salty black olive spread and a way to offset the astringent effect of the artichokes.
Coffee was excellent, especially when one got to stir the sugar in with an edible spoon made of the same batter as Poilane’s buttery punition cookies. We did not linger for dessert but instead ducked into the neighboring bakery for some sinfully delicious apple tarts to go.
With its stores conveniently located near Le Bon Marché and chic Marais shops, this is a good address for bargain hunters during les soldes. What’s more, with lunch being such bon marché, one can apply the lunch savings to their shopping!
La Cuisine du Bar: 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006, Paris France (Another branch in the Marais)