Le Garde Robe, situated within walking distance from the Louvre is a wine merchant-come-bar-come-meal type establishment. These sorts of places are dotted around Paris and present a great way to enjoy dinner as the French do. A mere 3 or 4 tables are found inside and a bar too. Largely propped up by an enormous charcuterie slicer more than anything else. Food for the evening is found on a blackboard behind the bar whilst the wine selection dominates. A wall is crammed with every French grown variety imaginable, the shelves groaning under the efforts to keep the bottles from spilling onto the floor.
Offering reasonably priced dishes and wine by the glass (no more than €7 for the most expensive) and bottle considering our location we take our seats at a high, rickety table. We plump for a mixed charcuterie and cheeseboard, one priced at €15 which will comfortably feed two. It arrives on a slate (as all these things do nowadays). Greeting us with goat’s cheese, a mound of Bleu d’Auvergne, crunchy and mild cheddar and a comté. And not forgetting the meats: a salami, coppa, prosciutto and a foie gras paté*. Barring the foie gras, the dish was a wonderful- if eclectic mix of meats and cheeses. These all paired wonderfully with the ample servings of a sourdough baguette that was continually refreshed as we ate.
To drink we started with a favourite of mine, Beaujolais. This particular number was smooth but carried an intense heat along with it similar to black pepper turning to English mustard at the back of the throat. Behind it was some significant minerality leading to a slight fizz on the tongue, it paired well with the meats. We followed this up with a Carignan and Grenache blend which bested the Beaujolais by a stretch. Silky and deep it was light on the tannins. There was a hint of leather on the nose though but dark cherries on the tongue and heavy with oak. It was close to a black forest gateau. If you visit, Raison D’etre is its name.
The service by the waitresses was polite and at a good level of attentiveness (the speed at which bread was refreshed!) However in places it was a little overbearing with the owner often coming a little too close for comfort and his language despite the barrier was perhaps… scratchy to the point of annoyance. Having said that, Le Garde Robe is worth a stop if you happen to be in the vicinity of the Louvre.
*Foie gras, if you don’t know- is duck or goose liver. The bird is force fed through a tube long past having its hunger sated to fatten the bird whilst its liver swells to up to 10 times its usual size. The liver is then taken and sold whole or processed into a parfait or pate. To me, there’s simply no cause to put an animal through such a level of stress for such an insignificant foodstuff. Many countries have banned the product or tightened controls on its production.