Seafood sharing small plates from the peeps behind the enduringly popular Septime
On rue de Charonne, a few doors down from Septime
To be honest I didn’t really check this out as I’d been running around the city in skin tight black coated jeans, a long sleeve shirt and 6 inch heels; feeling like a sissy ako at first but quickly descending into a sweaty mess. By the time I got to Clamato, I was hungry and tired and just wanted to stuff my face with food and wine. From memory, it’s quite a long narrow room with a sit down bar to the left upon entry, a few tables to the right and spiral stairs directly behind these, with the remaining dining spots in the back of the room. Light coloured wood is used for the ceiling, floors, bar counter and benches; colour comes from the turquoise tables with a bit of jazz peeping through from the tropical wall sconces.
FOOD & SERVICE
We got to Clamato around 7pm (early as they have a no reservations policy) and asked for a table of two. We were told it would be roughly half an hour before we could get seated and offered us a place at the bar. We actually ended up staying here as we had our backs to the huge open windows and welcomed the fresh air on that balmy evening.
Our waitress was Scouse, so she basically took us through the menu in English, which made things a lot easier and quicker. I always feel bad speaking in English and try my best with my terrible French but in this instance it just didn’t make any sense trying to speak bad French to a Liverpudlian! She asked if we were familiar with the way they worked at Clamato (small sharing plates of seafood) and I said yes. Living in London, it feels like every second restaurant is a small plates eaterie. Apparently the Parisians are a little reluctant to share and this whole set up is a bit foreign to them. We ordered five dishes, which just came when they were ready. Service was quite swift and if there was a lull, we’d just pick at the breadbasket.
First plate was the crabcakes: oohhh my, I literally couldn’t fault this; brimming with flavour, magnificently soft on the inside with a thin crispy outer (not too crispy, mind you) accompanied by a peppery mayo pot that made me want to weep with delight.
Second plate was mussels garnished with herbs, marinated in a campari broth with the freshest cuts of tomato that just melted in your mouth.
Third plate, red cabbage and samphire salad with blanched almonds: simple but super flavoursome.
Fourth plate plate, battered Merlan (with a damn fine tartare sauce) with head and tail in tact – no bones, just tender flakes of fish.
Fifth plate, Okonomiyaki: the chef is Japanese, so has thrown in a few local dishes. Squid, fish, onions, leeks cabbage with mayo and barbecue sauce were sandwiched between two thick grilled pieces of pancakes with tuna flakes pulsating on the top of it (due to the heat, they flay back and forth).
No desserts for us here as we had a box of Mori Yoshida treats waiting for us in the apartment.
The bill came to 70 euro including 4 glasses of wine which I think is super reasonable for the quality of food. Don’t be deceived by the laid back vibe, the guys in the kitchen are very serious about the food they put out to the floor. If I lived in Paris, there is no doubt I would frequent this spot.
The staff really set the tone of this place. They are all so unbelievably cherry (but not in a nauseatingly nice way) and laid back yet efficient and attentive. Whilst our waitress was unavailable, we had no problem getting served extra wine and bread from the other waiters. I personally really liked the vibe – it is just so chilled and feels like there is a melting pot of people; varied age groups, natives and foreigners
if you are struggling to secure a reservation somewhere decent and you like super tasty seafood at low prices, in a convivial atmosphere.
Cost: c.€35 per head (incl. drinks)
Address: 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011
Métro: Charonne (11e)
Hours: Closed Mon & Tue. Wed & Thu 7-11pm. Sat & Sun Non Stop Midday -11pm
Phone:+33 1 43 72 74 53
LAST VISITED SEP 2014