James Bond food cepes a la Bordelaise

Where does James Bond eat in Paris? Part 3: Grand Vefour

If not dining at the Caneton, Lucas-Carton, or the Cochon d’Or, when in Paris, James Bond dines at the Grand Vefour, as we learn in the short story, ‘From a View to a Kill’ (1960). The Grand Vefour was established in the 18th century at rue de Beaujolais. In Ian Fleming’s time, under the proprietorship of one Monsieur Oliver, it became a favourite haunt of the literary, artistic and political elite, and was classified in the 1958 edition of the Michelin Guide as a first class restaurant (one category below Lucas-Carton, but one above Cochon d’Or). The restaurant survives to this day, remarkably at the same location.

John Griswold, in his Annotations and Chronologies for Ian Fleming’s James Bond Stories, places the events of ‘From a View to a Kill’ in May, which is just as well, as the Grand Vefour traditionally shuts in August. James Bond would typically have to pay up to 3100 francs for a meal and had the choice of several specialities, among them ortolans, lamproie à la bordelaise, and cêpes à la bordelaise. Fortunately, buntings (ortolans) are no longer served, and lampreys are also off the menu. This leaves the cêpes (or porcini) mushrooms, a recipe for which I present below. The recipe has been adapted from one served at the railway buffet at Angoulême and published in Les plats régionaux des buffets gastronomiques in 1951.

Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 120-150g porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tsp peeled and finely chopped onion or shallot
  • 2 tsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Small pinch each of salt and black pepper
  • Breadcrumbs

Heat the grill.

Take the mushrooms and separate the stalks from the caps. Coarsely chop the stalks and leave to one side. Heat the oil in a frying pan and, over a low heat, gently fry the mushroom caps for 2-3 minutes, turning them over mid-way through, until they have browned on both sides. Arrange the caps in a small oven dish and keep warm.

Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, and, on a medium heat, fry the chopped stalks, onion, garlic, and parsley. Add the salt  and pepper, and fry for 2-3 minutes until the stalks are cooked.

Spoon the mixture over the mushroom caps and sprinkle a few breadcrumbs over the top. (You may want finer and fewer breadcrumbs than I put on my mushrooms.) Pop the dish under the grill until the breadcrumbs have browned. Remove the dish from the grill, if desired add a little parsley to garnish, and serve.

James Bond food cepes a la Bordelaise

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s