We had decided to come back to La Madeleine to visit the church and to go to Maille, the famous mustard shop. On the way, we discovered the Paris-London café right across from the flower shops of La Madeleine. This restaurant is particularly well known for cheeseburgers but the food is good for all the French classics. Not so long ago, burgers in Paris were not only few and far between, but (gasp!) shunned. Today, gourmet cheeseburgers are the latest craze in in Paris, not surprising as frites or French fries originated in France. The chef at Paris-London, Maurice Guillouët, spent ten years with Joël Robuchon and was a chef at the Ritz. “France has excellent bakers and exceptional breads, so she is able to offer the best burger.” The restaurant was packed, with efficient service, very friendly and helpful, with a good selection of beers and wines by the glass in red and white. Guillouët uses Iberian pork belly instead of bacon, with soft cheddar cheese for a delicious sauce tartare. The result is a great gourmet cheeseburger.
Lisa had the the cheeseburger, I decided on the club sandwich. Both were excellent, Lisa definitely made the better choice. Sometimes, in Fench cafés, the bun overwhelms the burger and/or it is over cooked. The was a medium sized burger with a nice soft bun, not so big as to be overwhelming. The servers were particularly nice, no rush and happy to explain the menu. The Sancere by the glass was particularly nice, I don't remember the winery. Altogether, this is a place we would return to, good food, nice wine and great service. Most of the people on TripAdvisor agreed, some complaining about price. A gourmet burger in Paris costs between 10-20 euros, this one coming in about 12 euros, actually a bit of a bargain. Add the location and the regulars who keep this place full and you have a winner.
Over on the right side of the grand entrance into La Madeleine itself, a small door leads into the Foyer de la Madeleine. This is actually a narrow arched passageway, once the sleeping quarters for priests visiting the church, that is now divided into three dining rooms. From the moment the doors open the place is packed with an eclectic clientele; office workers, shoppers, students, pensioners and the odd bemused tourist. For the first visit, you have to pay a one-off €5 ‘membership fee’, and then one of the army of volunteer waiters whisk you off to a table and start explaining the menu. There are a whole host of starters to chose from – mainly classics like oeuf mayonnaise, herring and potato salad, tabbouleh – a choice of two main dishes, say grilled chicken with a lemon sauce, cod cooked with tomatoes in the Basque manner, then cheese or desserts. Even the wines are surprising – Côtes de Thon or the crisp white Picpoul de Pinet hardly break the bank at €8 a bottle. The Foyer is run by a charitable church association, with all the profits ploughed back to help impoverished and homeless people. Even if you don't eat here, consider making a donation.
Official Website: http://www.cafeparislondon.com/
The Slow Place: http://theslowpace.com/2013/03/11/mmm-monday-paris-london/
Out and About in Paris: http://www.outandaboutinparis.com/2012/05/looking-for-different-kind-of-place-to.html
Foyer de La Madeleine: http://foyerdelamadeleine.fr
Paris a Nu: http://www.paris-a-nu.fr/foyer-de-la-madeleine-restaurant-associatif/