Clown Bar has been on my radar since it opened a few years ago and I finally got to have dinner there last week! I was worried I'd be slightly disappointed since it has been so hyped up and is constantly praised - a very high bar had been set. I am very pleased to report that they cleared that bar with ease and I was blown away by my meal!
I'd been on the waiting list for a table and got a call at the end of the afternoon that two bar seats had opened up. **While we're talking about waitlists, I recommend you ALWAYS ask to be added to the waiting list if you have your heart set on a place.** When I worked at Frenchie managing their reservations, I regularly called happy people to upgrade them from the waitlist. It's also how I personally got some of my most coveted reservations.
C and I rocked up to the bar around 8 and ordered glasses of white while we perused the menu - C had a Julien Guillot Mâcon-Villages and I enjoyed a Marc Barriot macabeu. The menu, which changes depending on what is fresh and seasonal, offers a couple charcuterie snacks, four each of appetizers, starters, and mains, and a few cheeses and desserts to finish. We decided on an appetizer, two starters, and one main to share, leaving some room for dessert, of course!
First up, the veal brains in ponzu dressing! I pride myself in being an adventurous eater and trying anything and I figured if I was going to try brains, this would be the place to do it.
The texture is almost butter-like, it spreads so smoothly over bread and really has a rather mild taste. The citrus gave it a perfect kick.
Our two starters were more complex and intricate. The first was raw scallop, smoked ricotta, bergamot, and chickweed and the perfect marriage of flavors literally left me speechless. C and I had been having a lively conversation and both of us fell silent in admiration as soon as we took a bite.
Beautifully presented, perfectly balanced, complementary textures and flavors, fresh and creative, seasonal ingredients - this dish embodies the best of modern French cooking in my opinion.
The second starter of beef tartare on burrata with pickle, pine nut, and dried thuna heart was delicious but paled in comparison to the scallop masterpiece.
The texture of the tartare with the creamy burrata was well done and the slight crunch from the pine nuts added just enough extra depth. The dish was very well executed.
By this time we had switched to red wine. C had a glass of Rémi Poujol's carignan and grenache blend, Le Temps Fait Tout, and I tried Hirotake Ooka's syrah, Le Canon.
I had read about Ooka's wines and was excited to finally try one. The sommelier warned me that this wine is very natural, savage, and can be a little sparkly when it's first opened. I assured him he had nothing to worry about - that is exactly how I prefer my wines.
It did not disappoint. I will be on the lookout for his other cuvées!
Now it was time for the main event. I knew from all the other write-ups about Clown Bar that we had to get the pithivier, a kind of pie. The night we went it was stuffed with foie gras and duck with dates, served with a scoop of apple sauce.
Can you say decadent? It was every bit as delicious as it sounds.
We finished with a chocolate dessert which was good. It was topped with earl grey ice cream which was my favorite part.
Overall, I was impressed by Clown Bar and would welcome the chance to dine there again. The wine by the glass offerings are extensive and I would love to peruse that wine list some more! The interior is also awesome. I highly recommend.
114 rue Amelot, 75011
01 43 55 87 35
Metro: Filles du Calvaire
Open for lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday
Reservations necessary, best to call a few days in advance