It is a well-known fact that most families spend a great deal of their time in their kitchens and dining rooms than any other room in the house. That is why many home owners spend more on their kitchens than elsewhere in the home. It is a place to entertain guests as well as to show off your culinary skills and wow your friends. A type of kitchen that is becoming more and more in vogue is the bistro-style kitchen and in this blog, we will give some tips and ideas how to transform your kitchen into something spectacular
Many bistro kitchens take on all the 19th Century French charm that they possibly can and feature distinctive detailing. Others prefer to replicate more modern bistro’s perhaps where they eat frequently and feature industrial lighting and subway tiles. There are no set rules and regulations how you should design your kitchen but certain themes are popular, like stainless steel backsplash, vintage seating and marble. In essence a bistro kitchen should be quaint but also modern to fit into a contemporary home.
Marble has the ability to lend itself to traditional kitchen design or ultra-modern, and is perfect for a bistro kitchen design. It also has the ability to exude quality, expense and class and will make your kitchen look like it has been designed by a professional. The most popular choice for bistro kitchens is white marble with grey veins, which is a variation on the classic black and white and a little less stark.
Flooring needs to be practical but should fit in with the overall color design, think about some of your favorite bistros, what flooring do they have? A classic bistro flooring is exposed hardwood and can blend in with any color scheme. If you can afford the real McCoy go for genuine hardwood rather than laminated, it really makes a statement and why skip on this part of the expense. But classic black and white floor tiles scream French eatery and leave the rest of the kitchen to provide the wow factor. In part two of how to design your own bistro kitchen we focus on the accessories, furniture and lighting that go in your new kitchen. And how to really make your space something that will provide a definite wow factor that your neighbors and friends are guaranteed to be jealous of.
There will be tips on how to bring authentic but contrasting ideas into your kitchen to highlight the overall effect you are trying to make.
There has been a radical upgrade of the humble bistro in Paris and these new eateries are being called neo-bistros, where the look, atmosphere and feel of the classic bistro has remained more or less the same but the food has been upgraded immensely. As one diner to Au Bascou in Paris commented, it looks like a bistro, definitely feels like a bistro, and is priced like a bistro…but the cooking is far superior. A rather plain and undescriptive summary of one of the new breed of diners in Paris but quite an accurate one. Paris has always loved its casual dining, almost as much as five-star gastro food, the Parisians love an informal and relaxed atmosphere in their restaurants, as long as the food was up to scratch, and now they have it with the revamped neo-bistros. The big difference between the new dining experiences and a formal restaurant is that the quality ingredients that the young chefs serve are not caviar or truffles but organic vegetables and cuts of meat you may not expect. In this series we look at some of the best new neo-bistros in Paris.
For those who knew the old Astier, things look much the same, the old pine interior is still there, and the red and white check tablecloths are too, but something is far different. The restaurant has changed hands and the new owners have adopted the neo-bistro attitude in their cuisine. There is a new team in the kitchen, with a classically trained young chef from Le Meurice at the helm. There are clever but subtle additions to the menu which elevate the dining experience to a completely another level. The bistro still has a great wine cellar and the famous cheeses, and desserts are as good as they ever were.
Au Bascou has a new arrival in the shape of Chef Bertrand Gueneron who led the culinary team at the rather exalted Senderens restaurant across the city. The décor of Au Bascou is classic bistro, with old cartoons adorning the walls and a rather strange zinc bar. The menu has been completely revamped, many of the dishes created by the new chef himself. For instance, there is a warm fennel salad with prawns, a hearty chestnut soup and a flank of veal braised in carrots and oranges. Basque classics which the restaurant was famous for still exist and a visit to Au Bascou bistro is like making a trip to the French provinces.
Inaki Aizpitarte is the main man behind this stunning newly revamped bistro, it is cool, laid back and attracts both Parisian personalities and a very hip crowd. Le Chateaubriand is so popular that reservations must be made for dinner when the diner will be faced with a menu degustation which is a five-course meal. Firstly, there is amuse-bouche, then an entree, followed by fish and meat courses and all finished off with a choice of cheese or dessert. If you like your cooking avant-garde, then this is the place to go; think of it in terms of drinking oyster broth through a straw! We continue our culinary journey across Paris in part two of this series.
Are you the sort of person who gets hung up over a name? Do the different names and terms of eating establishments confuse you? Well in this blog we attempt to clarify which sort of French dining establishments are called what and the differences between them. In France of course you have restaurants, brasseries, cafes, bistros and salons de tea. Each place is rather different than the other and will serve different types of food and drink in different ways.
A restaurant is somewhere that caters for formal dining, it will offer a large selection of food from a comprehensive menu and have an extensive wine cellar. It is the most expensive way of eating and the décor and service is normally at a very high standard. Some restaurants cater for a particular cuisine such as seafood, or steakhouse, and some serve just one country’s cuisine i.e. Italian, Mexican, French etc.
A French brasserie is a type of restaurant the has the same menu all day, this is occasionally augmented with a plat du Jour. A brasserie usually serves classic French cuisine featuring dishes such as, steak tartare, onion soup, charcuterie, and confit de canard. Brasserie can also mean brewery and the restaurant will most likely serve a selection of good beers as well as wines.
Bistros are informal small restaurants, normally just serving simple local food for a particular neighborhood. Dishes are often cooked home-style using a few ingredients and cooked slowly. Popular bistro dishes are things like, hearty stews and vegetable soups perhaps made from leftovers of other dishes. Normally bistros will be chef owned and small businesses, that are affordable and give great value for money.
A cafe can be a twenty-four-hour affair and is the most common type of place to eat in France. A cafe’s forte is the drink selection it offers which normally includes, coffee, tea, beer and wine. Cafes will open for breakfast and continue serving simple dishes for lunch and dinner. Normally the same dishes are served throughout the day and the menu does not change, dishes could include sandwiches, croques, omelets, salads, baguettes and fast food items. Quite often a cafe will have tables and chairs outside, and in Paris they have heat lamps for the colder parts of the year.
Salon de The
A Salon de the is the most informal dining establishment in France, this type of establishment specializes in drinks more than food, especially tea. Cakes, pastries and sandwiches are available to go with a selection of teas and coffees. Some of these places also provide a small selection light dishes and usually the owner is the cook, waiter and general bottle washer. France is a fairly organized society and especially when it comes to food. The French are a serious foodie nation and like everything in its place, they will quite happily travel for miles for a particular dish or a type of food rather than have inferior somewhere local. That is why they have so many categories of dining establishments, so each place specializes in a particular thing, be it food or drink. It can be confusing to many people such as Americans or English who mainly call eating establishments either restaurants, diners or cafes.