On arriving in Paris, my boyfriend and I promised ourselves that we would not make the dreaded mistake of falling into a tourist trap. So what do we do? Exactly that. (Twice I might add).
After a long day of sightseeing, our desperation to sit down and relieve our sore feet drove us into Bistro des Deux Theatres. On first inspection, the price seemed reasonable (for Paris anyway) at 41€ for the set menu. So we decided to take a "what's the worst that can happen" approach, and reluctantly walked in.
On entering, my boyfriend managed to catch the attention of a busy looking waiter, and asked him if there were any available tables. His response - "we only have a table for your girlfriend. There is no more space for men" We should have walked out there and then. But no, we laughed politely at his crassness as he showed us to a table by the window.
We both opted for the set menu, primarily because everything on the main menu appeared on the set menu anyway, but at a reduced price.
An apéritif was brought to our table shortly after ordering. No sooner had it reached the table that a different and very manic looking waiter (the bistro really wasn't that busy) then proceeded to knock my partner's "Kir Royale" over everywhere. I do not recall an apology or even a replacement, but instead the waiter scurried off and returned 2 minutes later with the already uncorked wine. He plonked it on the table - 'plonk' being the operative word as I'm sure the wine we had ordered and the wine we'd been served were two very different things, and off again he scurried.
Not a good start by any stretch of the imagination.
However we persevered, mainly due to starvation at this point. The starter turned up. I ordered an artichoke, salmon and poached egg, for want of a better word, concoction. In fact the most abundant ingredient in this dish was cucumber. The slither of salmon was almost non existent, the artichoke was tough, and the egg cooked to within an inch of it's life, all on a bed of cucumber and for what I can only describe as hard yogurt.
My partner ordered the escargot, which in all fairness, were palatable. But really how hard is it to mess that up. Anything drench in butter and garlic is going to taste good.
Onto the main course. I ordered the scallop risotto. Calling that risotto is an insult to all Italians. You might say, and I would agree with you, why would you order an Italian dish in France. Well believe me, I have learnt my lesson. Once again, cucumber was abundantly present. The rice was certainly not Arborio rice, or any other risotto rice for that matter. All I can tell you is it was crispy. And it swam atop a deep pool of yellow vegetable oil. Balanced on top were 4, very tough, very chewy scallops, with of course, the cucumber.
My partner ordered the steak tartare which he was relatively happy with it. I believe in the back of his mind, he was awaiting the onset of food poisoning, but luckily it never came.
Now for the final course, the dessert.
My praline millefeuille arrived, and much to my surprise, not a shred of cucumber to be seen. Even more surprising was, I actually enjoyed my final course. A new and much calmer waiter had taken over our table, and what had started out as a shambles of a culinary experience, actually turned out to be a pleasant one. My partner had the creme brulee, which was once again 'acceptable'.
Perhaps it was the wine on an empty stomach, but we actually paid the full bill, and left relatively satisfied.
Having said that - we will definitely not be repaying Bistro des Deux Theatres another visit, and we urge you to do the same.
Finally, would like to shout out to the couple sat next to us - it was lovely to meet you, and we hope you found a restaurant that managed not to spill booze all over your bags. If you are ever in Cambridge, drop us a line and we will give you some great places to eat!
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