I’ll admit it: the humble crêperie is one of my favorite places in Paris. The food is affordable—usually less than 15 euros for two courses—and the eating is easy. Nothing goes down better after a night of heavy wine “tasting” than a ham-egg-cheese complète. What’s more, the rough decor and the brusque charm of the waitresses remind me of old-time American diners.
Despite all this, I don’t often recommend crêperies for traveling foodies. These places, at least the traditional ones, are tricked out in lace and dark wood paneling. They feel like Grandma’s house, especially if your grand-mère is a sturdy Breton lass with loads of butter at the ready. Crêperies are comforting and cute, but they are most certainly not cool.
At least, that used to be the case. The landscape shifted recently when West Country Girl arrived on the east side of Paris. I suggested the new crêperie for a lunch with Catherine Sanderson of Petite Anglaise, and was relieved to see that the early reviews were right: this place is refreshingly cool. Stylishly retro, the banana yellow bar and cherry laminate tables are balanced by muted decorative painting from Olivia Marie-Debackere. There’s a revolver mounted over the stereo, which is piping a mix of Beirut and other indie darlings. Nick Cave, whose song inspired the restaurant name, is undoubtedly in the mix.
A friendly German hipster-waitress helps Catherine and me sort through the menu options. We both go for the lunch special, at 12.50 euros, which includes a complète, a dessert crêpe and a healthy dose of artisanal cider. The first crêpe arrives and is exactly as it should be: thin, dark and crusty on the outside (a lot like Nick Cave) with oozing (organic) ingredients inside. The subsequent dessert crêpe is slicked with caramel beurre salé—the salted butter caramel that makes everything right in the world. We finish with Illy coffee while debating whether the cute boys next to us are in a band or not.
In a nutshell: Hit West Country Girl for carefully made crêpes with a side order of indie cool. The retro-styled space is just around the corner from the bars of Oberkampf, making WCG an affordable launching pad for a night of east-side debauchery. Either that, or a hangover lunch.
West Country Girl
6, passage St.-Ambroise, 75011
Tel: 01 47 00 72 54.
Open for lunch and dinner Wed–Sat. Tues: lunch only. Closed Sun–Mon.
And if you like the sound of West Country Girl, you’ll also love:
109, rue Vieille du Temple, 75003
Tel: 01 42 72 13 77
Reprinted with permission from the Girls’ Guide to Paris