Guy Savoy is one of France's best-known chefs. Three stars and all that. The tasting menu at his eponymous restaurant was well beyond our budget but we did get a taste of the freshness and inventiveness of his cuisine at Les Bouquinistes, his comparatively bargain bistro.
On the left bank, towards the west of Ile de la Cité, it's a sunny, vivid room that, at lunch-time, thrums with action. We were glad we'd reserved when we saw more than a few people turned away.
Almost everyone seemed to be going for the menu du marché which changes daily with a couple of choices for each course. We both went for the duck en brochette, grilled, slightly pink in the middle and faultlessly tender. With it came a salad that I suspect more than one person there will attempt to copy at home. Haricots verts with thin slivers of poached fresh apricot with a sharp-ish, shallot-dense vinaigrette.
We picked the same main too: a slice of grilled salmon trout speared on a length of lemongrass and set on a slice of confited potato. Various interesting items around it included halved caperberries.
Dessert was obscenely good. Peter had a chocolate marquise with coffee ice cream. Mine was a three-parter: a cone of deeply flavoured lavender ice cream garnished with the darkest lavender I've ever seen. Alongside that was a whole poached peach and in a white bowl was a small perfect, and hot, peach soufflé. A glass of wine, plus, as is usual in France, tax and tip, were included in the 29 euro per person tab.