26.7.10

Getting My Egg On at Eggs&Co

New signage for Eggs&Co coming soon!

Ever since I was a little kid, eggs, in all its forms, have been a staple of my diet. My gastronomical fussiness growing up meant coercing my parents to prepare separate meals for me when I didn't like what was being served and this often included scrambled eggs and toast. Although incorrigible and finicky, I was content with this arrangement. During my high school years, my father and I would go out to breakfast almost every Sunday to overly simplistic retro diners with waitresses in unflattering hip-hugging dresses and bottomless coffee, you know the type. Yet what these places lacked in originality and aesthetics they made up for in quality. Quality pancakes, waffles and scrambled eggs that I never seemed to be able to recreate properly at home. 
What I've always loved about eggs is their versatility - one of the few foods that can acceptably be prepared for breakfast, lunch or dinner in any one of its forms. A deli outside one of my undergraduate university buildings provided my (almost) daily mid-morning snack of egg and melted cheese on a whole grain bagel. Hard-boiled eggs were regulars in my lunchtime salads, and scrambled eggs and toast were the comforting go-to dinner when the fridge was empty after a full day of class and work. Of course, my palette has evolved considerably since I've lived in Paris but what I find helps to protect the fond memories from my former life (as it feels) is the food that bonded me to others. Fundamental in our construction of relationships, associations and emotions is that which is crucial to our survival. For me, a plate of semi-runny eggs keeps the connection strong. 
 I had stumbled across a review of Coco&Co many months ago, added it to my list of places to try, and quickly forgot about it. The review was stellar, the photos of the interior inviting, but it kept slipping my mind. My friend Céline left it up to me to choose the location for our lunch date on Saturday, saying it was my job as the foodie (a job that comes with a lot of pressure, if you ask me). Despite my inclination to choose a familiar, local spot for convenience, I consulted my list of to-eats and remembered this place. 
On a calm side street off of rue de Rennes, the restaurant, now called Eggs&Co, stands out immediately with its black façade and outdoor display. By the time we arrived just after 1pm, the compact restaurant was packed. Fortunately, there was a counter spot right in the window that was available and we made ourselves comfortable.
 Almost as strong a statement as their menu, the egg-shaped light fixtures, coat racks, wall hangings and touches of red were instantly noteworthy. In case you had any doubt about their theme, you had countless reminders at every turn of the head.
 I've briefly alluded to the fact that the concept of brunching has exploded in Paris over the last several years, becoming just as trendy as the American-inspired burger joints that have become so prevalent. Brunch is usually limited to Sundays (sometimes available Saturday) and costs way too much for what it is. The amount of food usually far exceeds the amount anyone could comfortably eat which means at least 10 euros of your brunch goes to waste with food left on the plate. What's worse, orders à la carte are typically not permitted when the brunch menu is offered. We know that dining out in Paris is expensive, but 20€ for something I could make for 5€ at home? Not interested. Eggs&Co has a different system, however. The brunch menu (as seen above) is offered everyday they're open for business (Weds-Sunday) in addition to their regular menu. 
 The kitchen was right behind us, given that we were seated downstairs near the entrance. I always enjoy having a view of the kitchen in restaurants because, in the very least, I am reassured there is no unhygienic funny business that goes on. With each dish the chef put on the counter to be served, we hoped it was ours. The service was a bit slow but judging by the size of the kitchen, the number of chefs (two) and the number of diners above us, it was understandable. Well worth the wait, however. The people queuing outside clearly agreed. 
 So for an egg lover like me, Eggs&Co was not only a great choice but it made me feel at home. There is so much choice, so many ingredients to include in your omelette or scrambled eggs that I have every reason to make regular visits to try other combinations. I ordered the spinach and goat cheese omelette served with mini baked potatoes with a ramekin of crème fraiche and a green sesame salad with a light mustard vinaigrette. Filling and delightful. 
Aside from winning points for using only free-range eggs (organic would have been better but they are quite expensive in France), their homemade dessert menu sealed the deal for me. Homemade yogurt, chocolate cake, crème brulée, and cheesecake with fresh berry sauce were among the options. Stuffed but still looking for a sweet finish, Céline and I both opted for the well-served fruit salad that came with a small piece of chocolate cake. Hit the spot.
After finishing our meal, I started talking to the owner who encouraged me to go upstairs and take a look around. The main room upstairs was cozy, keeping up with the decorative touches of egg. But it was the next room, the hen house, for which they are most known. Another reason to return and reserve a table!
The owner explained that he parted ways with his business associate with whom he owned Coco&Co and decided to give it a fresh, new name that best exemplifies what the restaurant is all about. Eggs&Co was a logical choice. Only a few feet from the restaurant is another space called Coco&Co Bagels which, he explained, was a challenge given that everything is homemade, on the spot and people didn't want to wait to get their bagels and go. He's planning on reopening the space as a different to-go concept, possibly homemade pasta. I guess we'll all have to stop by in the Fall to see its unveiling.
The owner, seen above, used to work in the music industry before launching into the restaurant business. He has big aspirations, hoping to open up shop in New York and Tokyo. Until then, Paris is lucky to lay claim to this comforting hot spot.
Closed Monday and Tuesday (literally, Coco goes nighty-night Mondays and Tuesdays)
11 rue Bernard Palissy, 75006
Métro: St-Germain-des-Prés
Réservations/Info: +33 (0) 1 45 44 02 52


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