The French have a term to describe things we think of as stereotypically British: “so British.” Fish and chips, Agatha Christie mysteries, pints of stout, cups of tea, cozy pubs, bad teeth — all can be labelled “so British.”
Note: The British themselves are called rosbif. The term “so British” is more of an adjective. Last year, I went to an film festival entitled “HITCHCOCK SO BRITISH: 3 Chefs d’oeuvre du suspense.” There’s no denying Hitchcock is British. But is he so British? Are suspense films so British? Your guess is as good as mine.
Anyway, this is all to say that I have found Les Deux Abeilles, a new salon de thé that is charmingly cozy with flowered wallpaper and a gentle, feminine air, serving tea and tarts and cakes that have all the sturdiness of an English meal with the flourishes of the French. In other words, it’s so British.
The lunch formule is 19€ and comes with a beverage — we opted for the ginger lemonade, tangy with a gentle kick.
The lentil salad (top) is part of the set lunch — warm Puy lentils stirred with a spoonful or two of mustard vinaigrette and topped with a subtly spiced curry carrot purée. The feuilleté aux poireaux et au saumon fumé (savory tart with leeks and smoked salmon) is not on the set menu, but it’s rich and savory, the aromatic leeks offset by the salty bite of smoked salmon. Also on offer are hearty salads, omelettes, and quiches.
But who can think about the main course when there’s a cart of house-baked desserts?
It was like choosing between children, but we finally settled on two (neither on the set menu). The lemon meringue tart is a perfect balance of tart and sweet, creamy and crumbly, with a melting meringue topping.
The chocolate cake with almonds is made with deep, dark chocolate that gives it a tiny haunt of bitterness. I loved the contrast of the molten center and the crunch of almonds.Yes, it’s a lot of food. Yes, after eating such an enormous lunch I was tired for the rest of the day. But is there anything more so British than a hearty mid-day meal? The French would argue no.
Les Deux Abeilles
189 rue de l’Université
tel: 01 45 55 64 04
Continuous service from 9am-7pm