Paris Dining: Caluc
Wed 4 Jun 2014
11, rue des Petites Ecuries, in the 10th Arrondissement.
01 42 47 17 29. Open Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–8 p.m.
Parisians and tripists are all too familiar with crêpes and galettes from Brittany; indeed the Paris dining scene is inundated with (usually ersatz) crêperies. Make way now for calucs, the green crêpes from Aveyron. Yes, you heard me right: crêpes as green as grass!
Caluc is the brainchild of Sébastien and Xavier, who hail from the Aveyron region. Banish immediately all those images of rusticity and hearty peasant food that a region usually associated with aligot and Roquefort will evoke. They’ve taken homey classics and lightened and modernized them to offer really delicious and healthy “fast food.”
This you can guess the minute you step into their restaurant. The design is resolutely modern with quirky touches. I loved the teal walls with two funny masks of the owners, the electric light tubes that contrast with what looks like a stone ceiling and the old-fashioned tiles on the floor, and the cool, slightly masculine decor. Things are also very orderly—all the better to examine the curious green crêpes neatly arranged in glass cases.
The caluc is derived from the traditional pascadou, and is essentially a crêpe incorporating chopped vegetables and herbs such as spinach, parsley and green onions, hence the bright green color. Depending on your relationship with vegetables, this is a good or bad thing, but nonfans, worry not. This crêpe serves as a wrap for various fillings that change regularly: duck, lamb, charcuterie, beef garnished with more vegetables and sauces. Mine—smoked, duck, borlotti beans, Cantal cheese, rocket leaves and a sweet onion compote—should give you an idea of the inventive fillings you can choose from. I was quite surprised by how well the crêpes held in the fillings while managing to be neither thick and rubbery nor paper thin. It was refreshing, crisp and very delicious.
There are more modern variants such as the broussette, a soufflé-like omelet made with brousse cheese, sliced in half and filled with whatever the chef fancies, and served in generous wedges like a much lighter version of a Spanish tortilla. Certainly do not pass up on the farsous, a sort of savory muffin made from sausages and dried fruits. I had doubts about the dry-looking squat thing that looked like something one had forgotten in the oven, but one bite and I could barely stop to take a photo. The inside is terribly moist, and the crumbly sausage meat married very well with the dried figs and pungent thyme.
These are the more unusual offerings at Caluc, but also offered are soups and salads. Thumbs-up for the fact that everything is homemade, from the cereal bars for breakfast to the crêpe batters and desserts (brownies, compotes or baba au rhum with a twist such as Irish whiskey), and tastes really fresh. The healthy grain continues with the farro grain salads and organic drinks. Another thumbs-up, too, for service. The owners are chatty and obliging, and even for a mainly takeaway fast-food place, the cook makes sure everything is cooked just so. Indeed the caluc struck the perfect balance between crisp on the outside and melty on the inside. He even gave me specific instructions on how to reheat my crêpe at home, and when he saw my half-eaten farsous (I paused only for photo-taking purposes), he frowned and worried that I didn’t like it!
In a nutshell: discover a healthy green version of crêpes that definitely trumps pedestrian galettes and wraps.
Price check: entrées, €4; calucs, €9; desserts, €3.5; menus at €10–11.50.
If you like the sound of Caluc, you’ll also like Breizh Café. Read the review.
109, rue Vieille du Temple, in the 3rd Arrondissement.
01 42 72 13 77. Open Wed–Sat, noon–11 p.m.; Sun, noon–10 p.m.
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