It’s hard to eat for cheap in Paris. Heck, it’s hard to do anything for cheap in Paris. I’m about as cheap as they come, but I also love Paris and this leaves me in a bit of a bind. We managed to find super cheap accommodations on VRBO.com and we were staying in the trendy Marais, near Notre Dame. There were two amazing creperies in our neighbourhood, but I’m blogging about NoctuDINE first because they had some of the best cheap eats we found in the city.
When we spoke to the “madame”, she told us that they had only been open for 10 days! A Google search suggests that there must have been a miscommunication or they must have just re-opened after taking over another restaurant in this location because someone else blogged about this exact address with the same name in November 2009, but the food sounds completely different. Can anyone shed some light on this?
We stumbled across NoctuDINE on our way to check out Cafe des Musees and after some debate we decided to try NoctuDINE instead. It was quite early in the afternoon and while the menu at Cafe des Musees looked good, I wasn’t in the mood for something so heavy.
While the first thing that comes to my mind when someone says “crepes” is Nutella and bananas (I really do love that combo!), crepes in France are an even split between savoury and sweet. The savoury crepes are usually called “galettes” and the sweet ones are called “crepes sucrees”.
My crepe was simple: I got the “complete”, which was ham, egg and emmental cheese. The egg was sunny side up and was nice and runny when I cut into it. There was a generous amount of cheese and ham and the crepe was perfectly done with just a tiny bit of crispness.
Richard ordered the “poularde”, which was essentially the same as mine but with smoked chicken breast instead of ham. For some reason his yolk was still fully formed when it arrived while mine seemed to have been broken before arriving, but they both tasted the same in the end!
If you’ve only had crepes in North America, the first thing you’ll notice about many Parisian crepes is the colour. They’re dark brown because they’re made with “ble noir”, aka buckwheat flour, which is actually a style that originated in Breton and was brought to Paris by immigrants in the 20th century. The buckwheat flour gives them a sort of nutty heaviness to them that crepes made with regular flour don’t have. Most of the time if they’re made with buckwheat flour they’re actually called “galettes”. I love these dark brown Breton-style galettes so much more than their whiter, sweeter counterparts. Coincidentally, as I was writing this post Richard called me from home to tell me that he cracked and bought a proper crepe pan so that we could make our own galettes at home!
For dessert we had a more familiar looking crepe. This one was a “crepe sucree”. We chose a classic one: The beurre demi-sel et sucre. It was a simple white-flour crepe with a generous amount of sugar and slightly salted butter folded into it. It was simple, but it was heavenly.
NoctuDINE is a very cute cafe with incredibly friendly staff who are happy to speak to you in English if you’re struggling with your French. There’s a Velib bike rental station just across the street too, so you can hop on a bike after lunch and peddle off some of that butter on the way to your next destination.
57 Rue de Turenne