Saturday, July 29, 2017

Creperie Gigi : For your unique crepe experience.

You must have noticed that among all French delicacies, my favorites are the thin, crispy delights, the crepes and galettes. You can even find my own recipe for making the perfect galettes here. Thus among all my restaurant huntings across Paris and elsewhere in France, the creperies top the list. My quest for some of the best French crepes in Paris has taken me through more than half of the arrondissements of Paris, made me taste some smooth, soft, thin and crispy crepes as well as some biscuit like or rag like crepes. 

Owing to these excursions, my blog already hosts a review of one of the best creperies, the Breizh Café in the 3rd arrondissement. Now it is time for another review of another one of the best creperies of Paris, coincidentally also in the 3rd arrondissement. In fact, both these creperies are situated in historic and aristocratic district of Le Marais, where one can also find some of the best places to dine in Paris.

Gigi is a new addition to the gastronomical tradition of Le Marais. Opened in 2015, Gigi is the youngest child of the team that already has successful restaurants like the Barav, Aller-Retour and Ilot in Paris. But a few months were enough to catch my attention and I have been almost a regular visitor here for over a year now. First let me give a brief anecdote on Gigi and its logo. 

The name comes from a famous French novella by Collette based on a young Parisian girl, Gigi. Moreover, Gigi is also the name of a character in a cult French film series called Les Bronzés. In fact the later reference is more appropriate for a creperie given that the film contains a dialogue which translates as “The crepe Gigi, it’s a fine layer of sarrasin (buckwheat flour) with both sides sprinkled with warm rose petals, it’s delicious”. And you can find this very crepe at the creperie Gigi. This I will come back later. 

Now for the logo, it is really an interesting coincidence that the creperie has almost exactly the same logo (with one more line) as Institut d’Optique where Mitra works. Having introduced the restaurant, now let us get down to the details about what to enjoy here, what’s best of course apart from the Crepe Gigi. 

What I love about Gigi is that not only their galettes are almost perfect in texture and thickness but they also offer toppings that you can hardly find elsewhere in Paris. They of course have the classical Complet which contains ham, cheese and eggs. However instead of the emmental cheese which is generally used, Gigi uses the Comté (you can see the details of this cheese here). And trust me; it makes the Complet taste much better. 

The other combinations are also simply mind blowing. Each combination seems as if it has been perfectly thought up and they never fail to amaze me. Let me give some examples. First my favorite combination, the Chèvre Cendré with onions, spinach, potatoes, nuts and honey. Chevre cendré is a goat milk cheese rolled in carbon ash, thus has a pleasant smoked flavor. The other ingredients enhance the flavor of the cheese and the coating of the perfect buckwheat galette makes the dish irresistible. I do not think you can find this galette anywhere else in Paris apart from Gigi. 

Then there is Mitra’s favorite, the one with Andouille de Guéméné (pork sausage from Brittany). In fact he just loves this topping on his galettes, and has tried it in numerous restaurants in Paris, elsewhere in France and even in the creperies of the Brittany province during our trip (see it here). But as he says, and I second him, the one at Gigi is probably one of the very best quality among all those we have tried. In fact at Gigi the combination of the Andouille with mustard, Comté cheese and a typical crème called the Crème d’Isigny makes it even more delectable. 

Then you can also stumble upon a delicious galette of the day (which changes daily), like we did when we came across a galette with the magret de canard (filet cut from the breast of a fattened duck). 

At Gigi you also have the option to choose 2 types of galette toppings and they serve them in 10 bite sized pieces as an aperitif. Then they also have what they call “salade a craquer” which is mainly the galette topping of your choice and a mixed salad served in a salad bowl made with crispy buckwheat galettes. I however prefer the normal crepes than this salad option, but this is nonetheless something not commonly found elsewhere and you can try it out when at Gigi. The cost of the galettes at Gigi is also very reasonable starting from 9€ and the highest being at 12.5€. 

The only problem one may face at Gigi is finding a place. The restaurant is located in one of the dining hubs of Paris and there is a huge demand for places during dinner time. Though there is both interior and exterior siting arrangements, you may still have to wait to find your corner (they do not take reservations as of now) but trust me, it is worth the wait.

For drinks you can try the cider which is a usual accompaniment with crepes and Gigi offers a wide range of cider, including the classical doux (sweet) and brut and even a pink (rose) version. In winter there is also the option of mulled wine.

Coming to the crepes (the sweet ones), I believe that the toughest crepe is the one that is the simplest, that is the crepe with just butter and sugar. I thus rate my creperies according to the butter-sugar crepe called the Crepe beurre sucre. Here at Gigi they never fail to impress you and their version of this simplest crepe is made with brown sugar and topped with Brazilian lemon juice. 

Then you can also satiate your sweet teeth with the dark chocolate or caramel, both crepes decked with chopped nuts. 

Finally the signature crepe should never be missed when at Gigi, the Crepe Gigi. It is the crepe inspired from the movie Les Bronzés fonts du Ski as mentioned at the start of this post. It is a dessert crepe but made with buckwheat flour (sarrasin) which in itself is uncommon. 

Generally buckwheat is a bit strong in taste and is reserved for salty crepes. So I was a bit skeptical about the Crepe Gigi but after trying it out I must say I just fell in love with it. The crepe is rather very smooth and is layered with rose flavored jam and decked up with rose petals. It is also served topped with cream and it really is an icing on the diverse delicious menu list of Gigi. 

So if you are looking for affordable but exquisite crepes in Paris, Gigi is your choice.   

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