West Country Girl

There’s a new girl in town. And she owns a small crêperie which has been getting lots of good press in the food magazines, in spite what some might feel is a relatively obscure address.

table and charis business cards

To me, though, it’s not all that obscure because I go over there all the time, as it’s located near one of my favorite buildings in Paris, which I keep walking by thinking that one fine, lucky day, there will be a A Vendre (or A Louer) sign up so I can move into one of the fabulous retro apartments. (And as a bonus, I could have fresh crêpes whenever I want.)

paris

I kept meaning to ask owner and crêpe-maker Sophie Le Floc’h how she came up with the name West Country Girl for her French crêperie, located in the nondescript passage Saint Ambroise. But it’s an address I’m happy to travel to, even if I wasn’t apartment-hunting, because she’s a true Bretonne and really know how to fry up a crêpe.

She offers a number of crêpes and buckwheat galettes, and like her, I prefer the simpler ones.


We both agree that things like vegetables and other frou-frou additions detract from the taste of the crêpe. So while you can order crêpes filled with camembert & bacon, chèvre & spinach, salmon & pine nuts, bacon & mushrooms, or andouille sausage (which they say, correctly, that you have to be French to appreciate) from the menu, I usually stick with complète, a buckwheat galette filled with ham and melted cheese with a fresh egg, sunny-side-up, broken on top.

salted butter caramel

If you don’t order the reasonably-priced prix-fix menu at lunch, or even if you do, you can start with homemade rillettes of sardines. But there’s so much food in the lunch menu that I had, which includes a glass of sparkling hard Breton apple cider, it’d be hard to eat much more. Unless you get there on Wednesday, the day the fresh oysters arrive from Brittany.

And when it comes to dessert, I like to keep it simple too, preferring butter and sugar, perhaps a squeeze of tangy lemon juice, or a swirl of dark honey. But when I saw the deep, darkly-sweet vat of homemade salted butter caramel she was mixing up, I couldn’t resist. And the decision was sealed with a warm, sticky swirl.

frying crepes brusing butter

Lastly, the coffee I had was really good, which is a sign of a thoughtful restaurant owner. The care that they take with the final coda on the meal is the last impression that’s made before you walk out the door and here they draw shots of Illy espresso, and they do them right. Hence, I’ll be back.

salted butter caramel west country girl

Do be aware that often on Tuesday nights, the kitchen may close and a local musician might come and play, with the bar open and the tables pushed aside in case anyone feels like dancing. I haven’t been, but Sophie’s eyes glimmered with excitement when she told me about it. It sounds like a pretty fun time, if you ask me.

sophie

Just don’t misbehave. You don’t want to end up like the radio.

signage handcuffed

Although I can think of a few things worse than being handcuffed to such a charming crêperie.

West Country Girl
6, passage Saint Ambroise (11th)
Tél: 01 47 00 72 54



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30 comments

  • Wow, I’d like to climb into that container of caramel and roll around, but it looks so thick I’d probably have trouble climbing out :-))

  • Lovely photos and a fantastic and very unusual house style setting she has there. Shame she is serving crêpes though, which are possibly my least favourite foodstuff on earth!

    And you really like that apartment block? There are quite a few similar ones dotted around the city.

  • Hahaha! A radio in cuffs. That’s hilarious!

    Those crepes sound amazing!!!!!

  • “West Country Girl” is a song by Nick Cave. In the same year (1997), the Charlatans released “North Country Boy”. If Sophie is looking to open a second place, that would be a complimentary name!

  • Wonderful! This is actually next to my doctor’s office. I will have to stop by on my next visit. Love a simple crepe with just a sprinkle of sugar. Have not tried the buckwheat galettes yet but will expand my horizons. My boyfriend will love the illy coffee. We scour the city looking for a good place for illy coffee. We may just cross the river to see West Country Girl this weekend.

    Thanks David for the great write up!

  • David I can always count on you for a new post every few days — thanks so much. Now if only Sophie would open a second location in San Antonio TX.

  • That picture of caramel being spooned onto a crêpe? Food porn at its very best… Good job.

  • A complète and a caramel buerre salée is exactly what I had for lunch today at Breizh Café; we’ll have to check out West Country Girl for a comparison test. Poor us.

    And it seems to me that a bretonne is a French west country girl, in fact about as far west as you can get in the hexagone.

  • My son loves crepes. I have been making them for him every saturday since he was a very little boy. At 15, he still loves them. To get “hors sujet”, would you know if harengs fumes can be found in the US? They are those raw fillets that have been smoked (not the whole fish that is flaky once smoked); they are served with hot potatoes. I have been craving them and can’t find them here (I live in Los Angeles).
    They are not kippers, not canned. Any ideas???

  • Mmmm, those crepes and the caramel look amazing!!
    Unusual name and location, but it does look worth the trip!
    That building looks so un-Parisien….wonder what the inside of the apartments look like?

  • A definite stop on our next visit, and I agree simple is best. It’s not a burrito, after all. I’m looking forward to the cider and oysters as much as the crepes, so several trips may be necessary.

  • The first crepe I cry out for when I’m in Paris is Nutella. Hydrogenated-oil denial kicks in, and for nine gooey bites of chocolate, hazelnut goodness, all is right with the world.

  • Ah, une bonne galette à l’andouille ♥

    Looks like a terrific place, I love the chairs, the smile of the owner and the style sans prétentions !

  • That caramel looks so delicious!!

  • I live around the corner and that is one of my favorite apartment buildings too. Thanks for the crêperie tip!

  • She is from the West Country after all. She is a girl. She might be a country girl. From the West.

    In any event “West Country Girl” sounds much better in French for a creperie (and you know we like when things sound “joli”) than La Fille Du Pays de L’Ouest, ou La Campagnarde de L’Ouest or La Paysanne de L’Ouest… etc etc

    Wish I was there for the crepes, though. sigh, I so miss the good crepes bretonnes.

  • That’s it. I need to learn to make crepes, so I can close my eyes and pretend I’m there!

  • Wow! crepes is a great dish worth enjoying. The French surely know how to enjoy their food with everything done right, including the coffee. I would one day love to visit that obscure little restaurant so I can try their dishes and know first hand what they are like.

    Thanks for a very nice post on crepes.

  • I want to steal that crêpe and that vat of salted caramel… that looks like heaven. Looks like a charming place!

  • Fantastic photos!! I had read about this on Meg Zimbeck’s blog a while back — it was nice to have your take on it.

    Do you know if the crêpe recipe uses 100% buckwheat, or is there also wheat flour in them?

    They look very yummy.

  • Oh yum! I could eat crepes with citron till the cows come home…sighs

  • Very charming place. I’m curious to know why only a French person would like a crepe filled with andouille sausage… and also curious to try it.

  • codfish: You obviously haven’t smelled it! : 0

  • I managed to go there for brunch today. We had the sardine rillettes as a starter. Very good with real sardine flavor and very creamy. Then I had the spinach, salmon, and pine nut crepe and my boyfriend had the bacon and mushroom crepe. Both were a bit too salty but you have to love bacon! Then of course I had the salted butter caramel crepe for dessert. The caramel was a bit lumpy but tasty. The crepe was very buttery and thin. My boyfriend said the illy coffee was excellent. I had the Imperial Early Grey mariage frere tea. Our waiter from Australia was extremely nice and was happy to add more hot water to our tea pot and gave us an extra cup so that we could share.

  • David, j’ai un p’tit soupçon que t’as un p’tit béguin…for the crêpes, of course.

  • Forget the Eiffel Tower. The first place I’m visiting when I make it back to France is this place. And I’m planning my arrival so I can be there on a Wednesday.

  • Hey! That’s my neighbourhood! Have you been to the Jamaican sandwich shop yet on Saint Maur? It’s not killer, but a spanking good deal for the brioche codfish sandwich.

  • 2 die 4

    Service was nice too. We went there two nights in a row, first night was best meal in the two weeks we’ve been in Paris……. and we went to some fancy spots…..

    Try a plain crepe with butter, like crispy nutty lace. mmmmmm…..

  • Hey David,

    I walked by that building yesterday and there is a 5 piece for sale. Can’t imagine what a 5 piece would go for, but thought I’d let you know.

  • I was in Paris for a week and returned to West Country Girl six times. For coffee it can’t be beaten. The service is excellent and the crepes, sublime. Favourites were the poached pear dessert crepe, the salmon crepe and the spinach and goats cheese crepe. Not to mention the plain lemon and sugar. “..filled me with love, up to the brim, and killed me, and rebuilt me back anew with something to look forward to, well, who could ask much more than that?..” Deeeelicious.