Three cheers to L’Entente founder Oliver Woodhead for having arrived at such an apt name for his curiously dainty, all-day- service “British brasserie” near Opéra. An entente is a diplomatic understanding between nations; any understanding, of course, is what British and French cultures have notably failed to acquire of one another over the last thousand years.
Hidden behind an unmarked wooden door near Odéon, Castor Club is easy to miss even for local Parisians. But the discretion is part of the appeal. An anonymous façade leads you into an intimate cocktail bar enveloped in deep green velvet and flatteringly low lighting, with wooden stools only enough to sit handful of guests. Behind the bar, Thomas Codsi, shares inventive yet subtle concoctions with fresh seasonal ingredients. Don’t hesitate to go for signature cocktails like Chirac 95, a twist on a whiskey sour with calvados (along with génépi, spiced apple shrub, egg white, and lemon), or for Turkish Delight (pisco, gum arabic, chartreuse, pistachio cream, lemon and nut meg), and for those less adventurous, a perfectly executed classic Manhattan.
Le Grand Bain is a small plates restaurant on the narrow rue Dénoyez, a Belleville destination for street artists. Helmed by chef Edward Delling-Williams (ex-Au Passage), this restaurant boasts an ever-changing chalkboard menu of small plates and natural wine. Expect loads of choice and loads of vegetables.