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Bréton-style savory pancakes and cocktails: if the combination sounds a bit odd, that’s because it is. But as I recently discovered, it can also be an eye-opening and delicious one. At the Breizh Café and Cider Bar, the latest location to open from the savvy restaurateurs who have conquered Tokyo, Cancale and Paris, I sampled several creative cocktails. Some made surprising use of Bréton and Japanese staple ingredients such as buckwheat and sake, served alongside “maki”-style rolls also based around the hearty, nutty grain.
In a nod to Breizh’s double roots in Brittany and Japan, where founder and chef Bertrand Larcher has established multiple restaurants and food shops, this latest location in Paris’ Montorgueil neighborhood fuses culinary traditions from both cultures.
In addition to a café and restaurant (see below for more details) the real selling point of the Montorgueil location is its cavernous, intimate cider and cocktail bar.
In semi-speakeasy fashion, you have to walk through the restaurant dining area and then downstairs to the “cave à cidres”.
Either sit at the bar for a more interactive experience, watching barman Francisco and his colleagues whip up some truly interesting cocktails, or sit in one of the deep-blue and grey seats.
Not only can you sample 70 different Bréton-style ciders here, all painstakingly chosen by the house sommelier, Carine.
There’s also a selective but pretty compelling menu of house cocktails, paired with nibbles designed to bring out their strong, distinctive flavors.
The cocktails were invariably artful and delicious, if at times challenging and surprising. One whiskey-based drink featured a strong note of buckwheat, which was an interesting use of an ingredient so associated with the restaurant’s famous galettes. Matcha, yuzu, Soba-Cha and sake feature in several of the Japanese and Bréton-inspired creations.
The most dramatic cocktail of the evening, the “Korrigan”, featured rosemary-infused gin with White Dolin, Cynar and rosemary “fumage” (smoke).
The barman presented it by lifting a smoke-filled belljar of sorts to reveal the bitter, botanical drink awaiting underneath.
To accompany our cocktails, we sampled a couple versions of the maki-style buckwheat nibbles or rolls, hearty enough to make a light meal. The menu for both the cider cellar and the restaurant upstairs was conceived by Breizh Executive Chef Yuji Watabé.
Simple but delicious, the rolls filled with sharp, nutty comté cheese hit the spot, while another version with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and chives was the perfect complement to a strongly acidic, yuzu, rum and pineapple- based cocktail.
Meat eaters can enjoy specialties such as oysters fried tempura-style, French-style sausage wrapped in a Bréton galette, then chopped into bite-sized rolls and galette bites filled with chorizo and comté.
I didn’t try any of the dessert crepes on offer in the cider cellar, but you can apparently order Crepes Suzette, flambéed with Grand Marnier at an open station downstairs, while you enjoy a cocktail, glass of cider or sake.
The Restaurant & Café
While I haven’t eaten at the restaurant at this location, I’m a longtime fan of the creperie’s other locations in Paris– and their savory galettes and sweet crèpes are among my favorites.
Read related: The Best Creperies in Paris, from Savory to Sweet
Open for breakfast/brunch, lunch and dinner, the café and restaurant serves its usual array of gourmet Bréton pancakes, from simple buckwheat galettes filled with egg and cheese and dessert crepes smothered in salted butter caramel, to more sophisticated and eclectic choices.
At this particular location, you can also try some of the aforementioned maki-style rolls.
One version filled with goat’s cheese, organic egg and crunchy, fresh seasonal vegetables is vegetarian-friendly, while for breakfast or brunch you might try a roll with organic salmon and scrambled eggs, herbs and fresh cream.
One sweet breakfast option I’m personally aching to try? A brown sugar crepe smothered with Bordier artisanal butter. Coffee, fresh juices, a large range of ciders and wines complete the affair.
Contact Information & Getting There
Breizh Café Montorgueil
- Address: 14 bis Rue des Petits Carreaux, 75002 (2nd arrondissement)
- Tel (call for reservations): +33 (0) 1 42 33 97 78
- Metro: Sentier (line 3) or Etienne-Marcel (Line 4)
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11:30 am to midnight, Saturday 10:00 am to midnight; Sunday 10:00 am to 11:00 pm; Monday 10:30 am to 11:00 pm
- Visit the official website for menus & more information