Metro Station: Place de Clichy (Lines 2 and 13)
Type of cuisine: African
Days & hours of operation: Open every day from noon to 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Credit card: Cash only
Au Braisé d’Or is located on a side street off place de Clichy in the 18th arrondissement. It is modest in appearance, both on the outside and inside. We did not go there for the décor however, but rather to try another of Paris’ many restaurants that serve African cuisine.
We made a reservation for 6:30 p.m. on a Friday; for the longest time after we arrived, we were the only customers in the restaurant. The wait for the food was long, but we were prepared for this because the waitress explained that the chef prepares each dish on command, not in advance. This we could readily believe, as the food that finally appeared before us was fresh, filling, and appetizing.
While waiting for the food to be prepared we each sipped a cocktail and I munched on a generous portion of unshelled peanuts served in a bowl. My Lobalaba Akwaba consisted of white rum, lime, and ginger. Served with a straw in a large martini glass, the spicy ginger drink almost set my mouth on fire! My partner’s Coupé Décalé was a beverage made from the syrup of hibiscus, ginger, and rum. She declared that it was bursting with flavor, but not very strong in alcohol. She was so pleased with the drink that she ordered a second!
We did not order a starter, but proceeded directly to the main course. Upon the waitress’ suggestion, I ordered Moyo, an entire braised fish that had been smothered in cooked, sliced tomatoes, bell pepper, and onions. This was truly a fine meal—the fish was flaky, tender, and succulent. It was served with Ablo—four puffy, muffin-shaped cakes made from rice. The cakes were slightly sweet, but otherwise unassertive in their flavor. They readily absorbed the delicious, spicy sauce in which the fish was served.
Following the waitress’ recommendation, my partner selected the Kedjenou, a specialty from Côte d’Ivoire that was prepared in a fashion that is popular in Togo. The dish of braised guinea fowl was served in a light, flavorful sauce containing a hint of tomato and onion. The flesh of the bird was dark—there was no white meat served. The guinea fowl was served with Attiéké, a fine couscous-like side dish. It was the perfect accompaniment for the sauce in which the bird rested.
The waitress placed a small dish of extremely hot sauce on our table, in the event that we wanted to add piquancy to our food. The tiniest dab of the sauce on the tip of the tongue was enough to convince me to stay away from it—forever!
To accompany the meal, I ordered a Flag, a beer brewed in Togo. It is a mild-tasting beer—too mild to match the hearty flavors of the Moyo in my opinion.
We decided to forego the dessert, as the main course was quite filling.
The bill for two, including three cocktails, one beer, and two main courses with side dishes, came to only 42€. A nice price to pay for such a delicious meal!
While we dined, soukous (Congo-Zaïroise music) played over the speaker system.
The waitress was quite helpful—she gave numerous suggestions about the dishes that we might like to try, guiding us away from the heavier ones. As she is from Senegal and the chef is from Togo, she told us that she was in the process of discovering many of the dishes herself. The advice she gave was right on target! We will happily return to Au Braisé d’Or to sample more of the menu.
Tom Reeves has been a confirmed Francophile since he first traveled to France in 1975. A native of northern California, he moved to France permanently in 1992. Reeves’ love of French language and culture inspired him to create Discover Paris!, a travel planning service that caters to Americans interested in cultural travel to Paris. His book, Paris Insights – An Anthology, has been called “the kind of insider’s view of the French capital…that first or even second time visitors pine for.” He publishes a monthly newsletter entitled Paris Insights about history, culture, and contemporary life in the City of Light, and posts daily information about the French capital on Facebook.