Maki suggested going to Restaurant blanc pierre, a French restaurant on 御幸町通Gokomachi Street north of 夷川通Ebisugawa Street, for lunch when we decided to meet up in early July last year; the place had been covered on a TV show that she had seen before and her friends recommended it as well and since I had never been there before (or much less heard of it), I was all for it. Opened in June 2010, the restaurant has become quite popular and is often booked, especially the weekends, so we had to reserve seats which her mom sweetly did for us.
simple yet sophisticated exterior
The whole place was booked with reservations that day…besides the counter, there are four tables.
We were seated at one end of the counter…that’s the owner chef at work in the picture below.
Our seats were near the doors that lead out to the garden and the restrooms, typical machiya-style.
I arrived first, hot and flurried from my walk from the 地下鉄東西線京都市役所前駅Subway Tozai Line Kyoto Shiyakusho Mae Station, about a 10-minute walk which would have seemed short if it hadn’t been so sweltering outside…I was still trying to cool down when Maki arrived in the same state as I had (she rode her bike from where she lives outside the city!) sometime later.
Although Maki had come with the intention of having the hamburger that was introduced in the TV show that she saw, we both ended up getting the ￥1300 lunch which included パンpan (bread) and the 本日のサラダ：卵のフリット) honjitsu no sarada: tamago no furitto (salad of the day: salad topped with fried egg),
the 本日のスープ：冷製とうもろこしのポタージュhonjitsu no suupu: reisei toumorokoshi no potahju (soup of the day: cold corn potage, or thick soup),
and the 本日のメイン：ナヴァラン(仔羊の煮込み)honjitsu no mein: navaran (kohitsuji no nikomi) (main dish of the day: navarin (stewed lamb)).
Everything was delicious, no complaints here. Although I usually can’t handle lamb because of its smell and taste, I thought the lamb served here should be fine…and I was right: I barely noticed the smell and taste, especially with the help of the rich sauce the meat was stewed in.
After the meal, we decided to have the メレンゲのキャラメルアイスのせmerenge no kyarameru aisu-nose (meringue topped with caramel ice cream) for ￥300 more prompted by Maki’s love for anything caramel-flavored. The subtle taste and airy texture of the meringue and the richness of the ice cream which was a well-balanced mix of sweet and bitter, both melting in the mouth, proved to be a good way to finally cool down.
When we left, the gentle but friendly owner chef, even though he was busy with orders, even saw us outside with another staff member (he did this for everyone)…outstanding service.☺
Maki didn’t give up on her plan to have the hamburger and by the time we made reservations in mid-December to go back to blanc pierre, I was quite curious about it, too.
I arrived before Maki again and was seated at the very seats that we’d had in the summer.
Maki got the 和牛バーガーwagyuu bahgah (Japanese beef burger), ￥1000.
I decided to splurge and see what all the hype was about the フォアグラが入った和牛バーガーfoa gura ga haitta wagyuu bahgah (Japanese beef & foie gras burger), ￥1980.
This was by far the most gorgeous burger that I’ve ever had (well, look at the gorgeous price) and it didn’t disappoint: the fries that came with it were fried with herbs and absolutely delicious. I didn’t even bother eating my hamburger together because I knew it wouldn’t fit in my mouth, so I had the vegetables first (no ketchup and mayonaise here, just some delicious homemade dressing), then the egg and one half of the wonderfully chewy buns, toasted to perfection and which are baked at the restaurant and finally the meat and the other half of the buns while spreading the foie gras on like pâté. It took a while to get through but I was definitely more than satisfied when I finished.
The owner remembered us from last time; maybe it was because we sat in the same exact seats in front of him or maybe it was because of our conversations half in English and half in Japanese but either way I was impressed. He saw us off outside again.
Good food, atmosphere and service…I shall be back.☺