I don’t know a single French person who has never made a joke about the food in England (me included). However, when I lived in England, I was actually pleasantly surprised with the food! I surprised myself enjoying a nice Shepherd’s Pie and looking forward to Sundays for a delicious roast dinner with yorkshire puddings. And what is better than a fry up for brunch? OK I don’t like everything though and I still look somewhat disgusted when I watch my British husband eat toasts with Marmite. For skeptical French people and British food lovers, there is a new restaurant in the 2nd district – L’Entente – that could seduce you as it serves the best of British food cooked with French products. What a good compromise. The place really has the perfect name, a reference to L’Entente Cordiale symbolising a diplomatic agreement made a century ago between France and the UK to improve their relations. The great brasserie opened at the beginning of the year and is already a massive hit. It had a lot of press in England with articles in The Independent or The Telegraph. They are proud and it’s a little revenge for the Brits! They can be proud since the Brasserie has even welcomed some celebrities, among them the former president François Hollande. The owner, Oliver Woodhead is originally from London but has been living in France for 20 years now and is the perfect person to mix the best of the two countries after working in many restaurants in New-York and Paris (interview below).
We had the pleasure of spending an evening at l’Entente for a 3-course meal. First of all, the place looks absolutely amazing. It is very classy. I have no doubt that a former president can go there for dinner! Don’t worry though, it is not too posh either, simply elegant. I strongly recommend to start your meal with a Gin & Tonic. It is one of the best I’ve had in Paris! The dinner menu is great with the right amount of choices – not too many (a good sign for me that the products are fresh!) but still enough to make you hesitate! I started with a very nice Rabbit & Pork Terrine, Chutney & Toast. Excellent and very filling. The portion is extremely generous! As a main, I had a classic : the iconic Bangers and Mash with 3 French sausages served with delicious mashed potatoes. Another success. It is very hard to have enough space for dessert after that but I went for Lemon Posset & Shortbread, another classic. It is not only very nicely presented but also very tasty even though I must say that I generally skip desserts in England (sorry!). It can seem a little bit expensive but the quality is clearly excellent so that’s what you pay for! Next time one of your friends make fun of British food, take them to l’Entente to prove them wrong! It is also a very comforting place where you won’t be thinking about Brexit and it will remind you that there is indeed a great bond between the UK and France and that the best comes out when we work together hand in hand! The place will definitely please everyone, from tourists to French people or Expats in Paris. Longue vie à l’Entente!
Practical Information :
13, rue Monsigny 75002 Paris
+33 (0)1 47 42 92 35
Interview with Oliver Woodhead, the founder of L’Entente :
-How did you start using FUSAC?
Firstly, I used to find my apartments in it and then later, my flatmates.
-When and why did you come to France?
1998, Gap Year, to further my French a little. Never went back.
-What was your first job in France?
Working for the Host Broadcaster for the 1998 World Cup as a Runner for the main English speaking stations. It was Footix all day, every day.
-Where do you come from ?
-How did you come up with the idea of creating a British Brasserie in Paris and how did you become the owner of l’Entente?
I had worked sixteen years in the Hospitality business both here and in NYC, and I spotted this gap in the market.
-Why did you choose the second district for your Brasserie?
I was also looking in the 1st Arr and this was my fourth attempt on a site over three years! A combination of many factors but ultimately, a lack of restaurants that are open 7/7, casual yet excellent, with all fresh, homemade food. There are very few in this sector.
-Can you tell us a bit more about your staff? Are they French or English?
Predominantly British in the kitchen, a hopscotch of all nationalities on the floor, from Americans, to Australians, French & English. Being bilingual is an absolute necessity to work on the floor at L’Entente.
-And your customers? Do you have more local people or tourists?
A good mix of everything, Office Workers, Locals, Tourists, Business Travellers.
-What is the most satisfying thing about owning a restaurant?
When people celebrate their special occcasions & multigenerational Brunches, whith grandparents, parents and the kids.
-What is the oddest request a client has made?
They happen all the time, normally involving odd soft drink mixes. Chacun ses goûts!
-What is your chief characteristic ?
Modesty doesn’t really permit this. My sense of hospitality perhaps?
-Your main fault ? or worst habit ? :
There is always something to do in a restaurant, whether it is physical, administrative or something marketing-related which was booted-into the long-grass a long-time ago, so at the moment, I would say a terrible habit of mine is locking & leaving the restaurant far, far too late in the morning.
-Your favorite occupation other than work :
Fishing, outdoors activities, making logs, visiting the pig farm & family-time.
Shortbread. (do biscuits count?)
-Favorite comfort food?
Black Pudding & Fried Eggs – on our Brunch menu…
Horse’s Neck, also on our menu, my twist, Armagnac & Ginger Ale instead of Cognac.
The original Magnificent Seven.
-Favorite neighborhood to walk in Paris?
-What are you most proud of ?
My Staff and our Menu.
-Who would you invite to the ideal dinner party?
-What do you do to evacuate your stress?
At the moment, a glass of wine or two.
-How do you use the social networks Twitter, Facebook?
Instagram – rather haphazardly, if anyone has any ideas??
-What is your next project?
A forth coming 500 person off-site catering job, a great honour for us, which is slightly daunting, to say the least.