Monique and I were recently invited to sample a new line of Mediterranean dishes that Bistrot Mavrommatis, a restaurant, catering, and take-away service, offers for business luncheons and seminars. The tasting took place in the upstairs dining room of the restaurant, located at 18, rue Duphot in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.
We entered the handsome food shop, where I saw several customers at the sales counter ordering take-away, and made our way up the spiral staircase to the dining room. There, on a table on one side of the room, we saw all of the “coffrets” (individual servings of food assembled as a four-course meal) laid out for our inspection. Each assembled meal was arranged on a tray, and each had its own name. All were inspired by Mediterranean cuisine: Italian, Greek, Spanish, Moroccan, French, and Mid-Eastern.
For example, Coffret Petra contained a tabbouleh salad, a cucumber stuffed with tzatziki (thick yoghurt with herbs), thin slices of lamb stewed with cumquats and baby vegetables, Kasséri cheese, a red-fruit crumble, and a bread roll. Each course was protected in its own clear plastic box, which were all carefully arranged on a serving tray. Mavrommatis offers eleven different coffrets, and all of the food (except for the cheeses, bread, and certain desserts) is prepared in its kitchens.
After we viewed each of the coffrets, we proceeded to another table where samples of the food were presented as little appetizers. These we got to taste.
I particularly enjoyed the tabbouleh, a salad made from chopped dill; the aubergine caviar, a preparation of smoked eggplant; the dolma, which are rice- and meat-stuffed grape leaves; and the pissaladière, an onion and anchovy tart. All good…all appetizing. While we dined, cocktail-style, a waiter circulated to pour white and red wines. The crisp white wine called Santorini Argyros – 2012 – Assyrtiko, went especially well with these dishes.
The big surprise came when the desserts were served…and how sweet it was! I tasted baba, a yeast cake soaked in limoncello and served with a small dollop of pistachio paste. The chocolate tart was rich and bittersweet; and the traditional Greek baklava was sublime.
We met the sales director of Mavrommatis, Eric Julien. He and his staff readily answered all of our questions about the ingredients of the food that we tasted. Orders for the coffrets can be made up until 5:30 p.m. on the day before the business event.
18, rue Duphot