Frenchie Bar à Vins is the more casual ‘cousin’ of the more upscale Frenchie Restaurant across the street. The bar has a no reservations policy and it is rumored to be crazy busy all the time. We therefore headed there not at all sure to score a seat. However, arriving around 10 minutes before opening time there was a not too long of a queue outside so we happily stood there and were seated at 7pm. The waiter later explained that they just recently started staying open in Saturday and Sunday so not that many know about it yet. So we were just lucky.
The bar has a very relaxed atmosphere and it does to some extent remind me a bit of José in London. However, Frenchie is a bit more of a proper sit down meal as there are quite a few high tables, with chairs, so not that many people standing around.
The food is all made to share and it is some sort of mid-sized or larger tapas dishes so a great way to sample many things. It is clear that they have a lot of international guests as well as the menu is also available in English and the staff speaks English. The wine list is interesting: a lot of French wine as can be expected but also some well picked international ones mixed in there. The selection by the glass is also pretty good with 6 reds, 6 whites, 2 sparkling, 1 rosé and 1 sweet (as well as some beers).
Surprise, surprise we started off by sampling the sparkling wine. The champagne from Pierre Gerbais was very much what I would have expected and that was not bad at all. The Crémant de Limoux (Domaine Les Hautes Terres, Joséphine) was however not all what I would have expected. The nose of it was not that appealing but when tasting it I was really pleasantly surprised. It had a very elegant mineral taste and it just paired perfectly with our first dish, the terrine. Before going more into the food we also sampled some of the other wines, a pleasant Pinot Noir as well as red from Languedoc. Neither of these were bad but also not extremely memorable.
The food was really something extraordinary here, the start was a terrine and after that we had a very fresh ricotta tortellini with a pea sauce. Greta refreshing dish that really made me want more. That was followed by a ragu of tender lamb with pappardelle, the flavors were perfectly matched and the meat so tender that it just melted away in my mouth. At this point I was really starting to build up expectations for the dishes to come and when the chicken with asparagus and mushrooms came in I was amazed that it was also so great, this actually competes for the best chicken dish ever but after considering it both S and I still hold the chicken we had at Hedone in London as one small step above. Still it was a wonderful dish. We were now actually already full but we could not say no to a dessert (we did skip the cheese, but they do have some nice British cheese from Neal’s Yard) and went for a fresh coconut dessert with chocolate surrounding coconut and a creamy crust on top. After all that food we were full and very happy.
The service was very friendly and they could make good recommendations for the wines and it was possible to have some proper discussion about the wines and the staff actually all appeared to be knowledgeable about the wines on offer. The only drawback was that the service was a bit slow, I am however not sure if it was too slow. The dishes did not come quickly but I also believe that it is nice to have some time between dishes, and here I believe they were just within the limit of what is acceptable (I did however see some people waiting longer than us, and 30 minutes between dishes is too long when there are at least 4-6 dishes).
All in all I was however very pleased with the quality of food, prices were reasonable, the mostly organic wine selection was also great so this is without doubt one of the top places, on my list, for food and wine in Paris. It also seems very good to head there on Saturday or Sunday as it is not yet that well-known that they are actually open then as well.