Soufflé lovers – look no further. Throw away your pans and fly to Paris. At Le Récamier– a chic, upscale bistro located on a pedestrian side street in the heart of St. Germain– chef/owner Gerard Idoux offers delicious soufflés, both savoury and sweet.
The soufflé earns it name from the French word souffler, meaning “to breathe” or “to puff”. It is is one of the most difficult desserts to make because it leaves no room for errors. The first record of its appearance is attributed to chef Vincent La Chappelle, who, in the early 1700s, cooked for Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV. In the early 1820s, Antonin Carême was credited with the invention of the classic soufflé, which was made possible by new ovens, which were heated by air drafts instead of charcoal. Carême crafted his soufflés in non-edible stiff pastry casings which served as molds. Their straight sides inspired the modern soufflé.
Jump a couple of centuries later, and not much has changed. At Le Récamier, chef Idoux creates his savoury and sweet puffs of perfection (the menu changes with the seasons) for locals and tourists alike. Superbly presented like airy and light clouds, each dish is imbued with subtle aromas and tastes. The mushroom soufflé is extraordinarily light and creamy, and absolutely delicious. The classic fromage is also “to die for.” Although soufflés are the restaurant’s hallmark, the menu includes other classic French dishes such as steak au poivre, grilled lamb cutlets, and delicious sea bass.
Please take my advice and save room for dessert. Do not miss the caramel salted butter soufflé – a crowning glory, or the superb chocolate soufflé. The Grand Marnier soufflé, with the bottle placed on your table to add that last perfect touch, is out of this world.
I particularly enjoy dining outside on their lovely covered terrace on a balmy summer night. You will find that the experience of dipping your fork into those heavenly clouds is worth every calorie!
Le Récamier, 4 impasse Récamier, 75007 Paris. Open daily 12PM – 11PM. Tel: +33 1 45 48 86 58