"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Monjul -- Restaurant Review


Address: 28 Rue des Blancs Manteaux, 75004 Paris
Phone:01 42 74 40 15
Metro:  Line 1 to Hôtel de Ville or St. Paul
 Closed Sunday and Mondays
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
  1.5 - Star..........................................................................................................................2 - Bell

We were meeting with a new friend from the UK for lunch. So, I picked this restaurant because it is centrally located. I made the reservations on “La Fourchette” for 1:30 pm.  As we approached the restaurant I realized we had been there before in 2008 when we first moved to Paris. I disliked it then because the waiters were rude, snooty, pretentious, and condescending. But I figure 5-years is a long time, things may have changed.

As we entered the restaurant, it hasn’t changed in 5-years, same décor and same colors.  There was one wait-person, he seemed hurried, as if he couldn’t be bothered and just wanted to get us served and out of there. Keep in mind it wasn’t even a third filled.

At lunch, you don’t have a choice, you basically get the pre-fix menu. He went through it so fast, it felt as if I was listening to a robot on speed dial. I told him I don't’ eat sugar, hence, I do not want desert and I will do it a la carte.

He took my companions wine order, and then just left. Excuse me, but I’m at the table too! you could ask me if I wanted something to drink as well, instead I had to call him back to get my wine order. Not a good start at all.


I had to guess what we got since there was no written menu provided. It was a chicken croquette with a potato salad and pickled cabbage sitting on a bed of pureed pumpkin. I have to say I did like this dish, it was simple and had all the components of sweet, salty, hot, crispy and moist!  Well at least the food was a good start.


We had their version of a “pot-au-feu” however with squash. The meat was very tender, and there was a soft squash accompanied with crispy squash chips. It was also accompanied with a puree of sweet pumpkin. Not a bad dish, the portions could’ve been larger.


I have to give them credit, they did make  me a cheese plate in lieu of the sugary dessert. It tasted like fromage blanc with some herbs in it, not bad at all.

The two others had a “danette” a cream dessert sitting on a bed of whipped cream and a pastry crust and a caramel sauce. It was also very good.

The food was above average. Now this is where it gets weird, we ordered another round of wine, not even 10-minutes after we got the wine, the waiter put the bill on our table. I thought, this is NEVER done in France, unless you’re in a cheap tourist area or a café.  10-minutes later, still not finished with our wine, it was about 2:45 pm, remember, I had lunch reservation for 1:30 pm, and we were basically told to rush, cause they’re closing. My companions scarfed down their drinks and off we went. This is unheard of France to hurry and rush your patrons. There was definitely a disconnect between the food and the service!

Here's how our friend pretty much summed up the experience, akin to being in the military or a boarding school,  you will follow this schedule:

  1. 13:30h you will be seated and allowed exactly 10-minutes to be comfortable
  2. 13:40h you will be given an entrée
  3. 14h you will be given your plat
  4. 14:15h Dessert 
  5. Bill presented to you, regardless if you're finished eating or not
  6. And, if you ask for an extra glass of wine you have precisely 15 minutes to drink it.
  7. 14:45, we are closing, therefore you must shovel any left-over food or scarf down any drinks remaining

Will I go back? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!! I don’t care how good the food is, for me it’s about the WHOLE experience, from start to finish!  I'll leave it for the tourist who don't mind being rushed!

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