Paris Dining: Les Pipelettes
29–31, rue Brezin, in the 14th Arrondissement. 09 81 29 27 32.
Open Tues–Fri, 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
The 14th Arrondissement tends to fall off the Paris dining map, with the 9th, 10th, 11th or the 17th and 18th up north grabbing all the attention with new openings. But it is a charming district just a hop away from the center and has some hidden treasures, like this little épicerie-cum-restaurant that I stumbled on one rainy afternoon.
I was stopped in my tracks by a sign that seemed to say “Psst! Let me let you in on a secret!” and a witty, rhyming name (pipelette: gossipy woman; emplettes: shopping; dinette: a light dinner). A bright blue low table with a rattan chair beckoned one to come in from the rain.
The cute girly tone carried over to a cozy interior with teal-colored walls and floral wallpaper. Girly is not really my thing, so it was reassuring to see one of the owners chatting away like an old friend with a group of diners about food and their products.
Les Pipelettes, I learned, was started by two friends, Aline and Agnès, converts to the food business and eager to spread their love of quality, artisan food. Restaurants that double up as food shops, or vice versa, seem all the rage these days, but at les Pipelettes I was glad to see products that I wouldn’t find in Monoprix or an organic shop. Among the Pralus chocolate, Thiercelin spices, Paimpolaise spreads and Marlette pastry mixes were also syrups and jams from le Jardin de Lydie, a brand of jam from Ile de Ré boasting almost 80 percent fruit content, which I had heard of but never tried.
There were no scones on the menu that I could have the jam with, so I settled on the café gourmand (€6). The first thing that stood out was the coffee, round and decent. The trio of desserts included a lemon tart, a financier and a pear-and-ginger clafouti. While the lemon tart was smooth and none too tart (for fans of mild lemon tarts), the financier and clafouti, I suspect, could have done with less time in the oven. Tea, from Betjeman & Barton, was served in a handsome individual pot, and my friend was very happy with her floral tea and very generous slice of lemon tart.
Les Pipelettes does light lunches as well, and one can mix and match salads, quiches, soups and a plat du jour (between 13.90€–18.50€). Velouté of chickpea, vegetables and lemon; parsnip, caramelized onion and mesclun tart; and Scottish smoked salmon with Caviar Volga caviar for nibbles sounded promising. Certainly I’ll be back to try the brunch (€21) on Saturdays, which includes fresh bread with Yves Bordier butter and Jardin de Lydie jam, scones and salmon/charcuterie, etc. Or better still, the breakfast, which includes freshly squeezed juice, bread from a neighboring bakery with butter and jam. And early birds take note: les Pipelettes opens as early as 8 a.m.!
So the next time you find yourself in the neighborhood—say, after a visit to les Catacombes—keep les Pipelettes in mind for your Paris dining options.
In a nutshell: freshly prepared food and an ever-changing menu. Good breakfast and brunch options. Swing by to pick up carefully selected food items.
Price check: breakfast, €7.30–€10.50; lunch, €13.90–€18.50; brunch on Saturdays, €21.
If you like the sound of les Pipelettes, you might want to check out Epicérie Musicale, a deli-cum-épicerie. Read the review.
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