Le Grand 8 wasn’t our first choice. There were various other French bistros on my Eat List: L’Hedoniste, where I made a reservation but forgot to take down the address; Le Cornichon, which doesn’t open at the weekends; Albion, the awesome wine bar bistro that was fully booked up when we arrived. We resorted to take that steep walk up Montmatre hill.
Le Grand 8, or the Rollercoaster, boasts natural-wines that are unsulphured and unfiltered. If I am honest, my experience with so-called natural wines hasn’t been overwhelming; often unimpressed by the blunt earthy flavours and curt finishing. But I’m always open to have my mind changed.
No surprise to find a full house in a Saturday evening then, but we were still welcomed with Kamel’s open arms... to wait for 20mins. The blackboard suggests an ever-changing menu with seasonal ingredients.
Ceps Carpaccio with parmesan
This light starter was a probably too light. The thin wafers of cep mushroom melted on tongue, but I didn’t get the diffusion of funghi aroma. It was either the overpowering savour of parmesan or nothing. Maybe just a bit bland.
Seared Foie Gras, Paimpol beans
This, on the other hand, was spot on. The piece of foie gras was an absolute god-send, liquefying in the centre, crispy on the edges, and packed with powerful, pungent flavours. I prefer the classic recipe of pairing heavy liver with sweet fruit with port reduction to add more dimensions to the dish, but I couldn’t complain about this either.
Veal Chop, mushrooms and broccoli
The piece of veal was tender with all juices locked in. Hearty, but a bit slack with seasoning and simply unexciting.
Lamb, potatoes and veg
I like my meat rare, this was well done, I wasn’t given the choice. It could have been any meat, a drier piece of chicken breast even, there was very little flavour to the meat except the familiar watery jus it was sitting on. Just, no.
Was it worth the trek? For me, no. As with all foods, there is always an element of personal preference to it. The mains almost felt like visiting a friend’s house for Sunday roast, and you’d politely eat the protein on plate because you’re hungry. That said, the grilled fish we saw whizzing by looked much more promising. As for the wine, I am yet to be convinced. For some, the combinations would have ticked quite a few boxes. Just didn’t do it for me.
Le Grand 8
8 rue Lamack, 75018
Tel: +33 1 42 55 04 55