La Jacobine invites the good and the bad – reviews that is. Prior to ever having read any of it, though, my partner and I stumbled into this quaint little bistro in Paris’ rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts, near the Boulevard Saint-Germain. As with all that is Parisian (note: Parisian, not French), it is perhaps rather simplistic to call this bistro quaint. All of Paris is infused with this rustic glamour, of lights and wistful accordion sounds and crepe stall owners blowing you kisses in a creepy yet French sort of way – it just is, and it’s just right.
On our first night in Paris, away from Asia, and before Paris had really opened her bosom to us, La Jacobine was a dining of exquisiteness. We found pleasure squeezed into tiny booths; there is no privacy when having meals in Paris. Every one smells everyone else’s dinner, looks on. I don’t believe Parisians envy much, but we sort of did.
Looking back La Jacobine wasn’t that sweet Paris bistro where we rediscovered la révolution in food. It was a pleasant, authentically rustic (coming from Asia) place where we dined, as weary travellers, on our first night Paris. And we were mighty glad to be there.
Obligatorily, we had escargots for appetisers. Then, my partner ordered for himself a delicious plat, the filet mignon de porc a la moutarde a l’ancienne. Doesn’t that just sound lovely? I can imagine it rolling off the tongue in French. But it’s just pork filet mignon with mustard sauce. Now it sounds a little crass, commercial and so mass, but it doesn’t mean it tasted any less than wonderful. It’s also something that is relatively easy to cook at home, which dimmed the first night dining experience somewhat.
What really interested me, however, was the cassoulet au confit de canard. What little foreign language I know – and this is the same across Japanese or Italian – is almost all related to food, and canard I knew to mean duck. What we guessed – wrongly, and were kindly informed by the maître d – was that the cassoulet was not a French cousin of the casserole. This was the dish that I was most surprised with at La Jacobine. Duck confit stewed in a juicy, fatty stew, with sausage and white beans, became an amazing combination in a bowl that I ever had the pleasure to discover with a fork.
59-61, Rue Saint André des Arts 75006 Paris