One reason to take Eurostar to Paris – brilliant Brasserie Terminus Nord on the doorstep

30 Dec
Take the Metro to the Brasserie Terminus Nord if you're not going straight from the Eurostar

Take the Metro to the Brasserie Terminus Nord if you’re not going straight from the Eurostar

Who would have thought one of the best meals in Paris could be had within steps of the Eurostar terminal at the city’s busiest main line station? Plenty of insiders, judging by the line for tables at Brasserie Termiinus Nord.

The restaurant is part of the Flo chain, which has long specialised in acquiring the city’s great fin de siecle brasseries and preserving with respect everything from their etched glass to their art nouveau panelling to their classic menus.   Many are a bit off the beeaten track, but those with an hour or so to spare before an onward journey to other parts of France can enjoy one of the finest feasts available in the capital on the hop.

This is a restaurant well used to serving travellers fast with no loss of quality. Bags are stowed in a discreet but capacious area right in the heart of the restaurant as you are escorted briskly to your table (a reservation is de rigeur unless you want to squander part of your precious dining time in the queue).

Seafood lovers immediately call for fines de claire or other delights from the oyster menu; I added a few plump crevettes just for the joy of getting a gloop of divine mayonnaise as well as the mignonette, pumpernickel bread and fine Normandy butter which come automatically with every plateau de fruits de mer.

Like most brasseries in the Flo stable, Terminus Nord does a superb choucroute, our normal choice for a main here following an oyster fix.  But as we were on our way to Alsace, with its unlimited supplies of pickled cabbage and smoked pork, within the hour, we opted for other regional specialities. This brasserie might as well be in Marseille, so deliciously authentic is its bouillabaisse, from the rascasse to the garlicky rouille. Liver braised in sherry was another excellent choice, it could as easily have been kidneys in mustard sauce or steak tartare. An excellent Cotes de Provence rose from a well-chosen and fairly priced wine list suited our choices perfectly; those opting for a seafood feast should check out the choice of Sancerre and Muscadet

Our only regret about this excellent restaurant is never yet having had time to sample dessert – a tragedy when real rum baba and crepes Suzette are invariably on offer. But perhaps it’s good to be  left wanting to more; we  now make a point of travelling though Paris at lunchtime for any journey across France involving a change of trains.  Those feeling flush might even consider splashing out £69 for a midweek day fare just to indulge in such a special lunch.  But you don’t have to be a rail traveller to eat here; those lucky enough to be stopping over can enjoy the privilege of a leisurely dinner – or come for a no doubt excellent breakfast from 8 am.

The Terminus Nord is at 23  rue de dunquerque, right opposite the main entrance of the Gare du Nord, tel: +33 (0) 142 85 05 15. For those £69 fares check out http://www.eurostar.com

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