For a completely wonderful country-garden brunch experience, I took the RER A 20ish minutes outside of the city center. My friend Dasha found Le Pavillon Rouge on Instagram, where they advertised a special brunch event with a live saxophonist + DJ and crêpe and omelette stations. We had to check it out!
We were the first ones to arrive for brunch. The afternoon began with music by the DJ alone, then later on, the saxophonist arrived and played in harmony with the DJ’s mix. It was quite entertaining, giving everyone a bit of movement while they ate brunch.
Something I loved about this experience was how interactive it became. Guests wandered around the venue (which is also a tennis club), and got out of their seats for the food stations. The music even encouraged some dancing. Another little element was the Nail Corner, which Dasha and I visited between bruschetta and main course just to digest a little bit. It was such a treat to leave brunch with a fresh manicure!
The menu for the brunch was VERY comprehensive, and arrived in the following order: coffee, tartines, bruschetta, main course, and dessert. The crepe and omelette station were also at full disposal during the entire meal.
We enjoyed mimosas throughout the entire brunch, which were confusingly unadvertised by the restaurant. In fact, when we ordered them, our sever had to check with her colleague to make sure they were available (which was pretty weird, considering it was brunch…). And besides that, we never got any menu for alcoholic drinks. Not only is this losing Le Pavillon Rouge a chance to make a large profit margin, it was also inconsistent with the ambiance. With loud, live music, lots of interactive elements, at a leisurely Sunday meal, in France, a drink or two fits in perfectly, and is almost essential!
The tartines course was a pleasant basket of bread accompanied by jam and butter. At this point, I could have been full, but it was only the beginning! At around the same time, I ordered a mushroom and cheese omelette. It was a lot of fun to watch its creation right in front of me, and it was delicious!
Next course was the bruschetta. I would classify what we were served as more of a mini-pizza than a bruschetta. It tasted very nice as a pizza, but heavier than what I was expecting to eat right before the main course. Nevertheless, I thought it was ultimately a good decision to have one pre-set entrée rather than a list of options. It builds trust with the guests to have confidence in this dish and to take care of the decision making for them. It also definitely saved them a lot of food cost! And who doesn’t love pizza?
By the time it was time for the main course, I was already quite full. Which was too bad, because the food was good. Good, not great. Le Pavillon Rouge’s greatest strength is the experience and less so the food.
That being said, I enjoyed the food. The fries had that deeper flavor that you find in fries from proper restaurants rather than from fast food chains. The chicken was quite well-seasoned, and tender enough to take pleasure from. Dasha’s dish, Shakshuka, was Le Pavillon Rouge’s take on a traditional Israeli breakfast dish. I have never had an authentic Shakshuka, but I don’t think it is usual that french-fry-like potatoes form the base. It tasted good, though.
The best food I tasted at the Pavillon Rouge was by far the French Toast, which was a bit of a shame because by the time of dessert I was completely stuffed. The French Toast was made with two thick rounds of baguette, a bread choice and cut that I had never seen before for the dish. I am sure they soaked it for a long time, because despite the tough nature of baguette bread, it was so tender and fell right apart when cut into. The caramel made any syrup unnecessary. Completely spectacular!
After dessert, we were on the verge of death but still felt the need to try a crepe. They were good, just as any fresh crepe would be. Dasha and I were the first people there, and also the last ones to leave. We would have stayed longer if we could have!
The whole brunch experience was priced at 40 euros, which I think is a great deal considering how much was included. My tab ended up being much higher, however, because the mimosas were 12 euros each. And we had plenty of them. I may have had fewer if I knew their price.
I adored this afternoon at Le Pavillon Rouge. I would say that I will definitely return, but unfortunately, this brunch was a special event that the restaurant only planned for that Sunday. It was their first one of the kind, and I am guessing it didn’t pay off, because they haven’t had one since (a brunch, that is, they did have a similar dinner event). I really hope they find a way to have more of these. Most of the other guests were families, but with their fun atmosphere and instagram-centric marketing, they could gather a lot of Gen Z customers. I am rooting for Le Pavillon Rouge to make these events a regular occurrence. Fingers crossed!