On a late Friday night (actually it was Saturday morning at 5am), after clubbing, my friend ans I were hungry. But in Paris, only a few restaurants are open in the middle of the night.
Since 1946, Le Pied de Cochon has not closed its doors at all. It’s open 24h/24. So we naturally decided to head there. It was neither empty nor crowded; a mix of locals and tourists. At night the menu only offers a selection of dishes from the full menu but fortunately, the onion soup was there, waiting for us.
Au Pied de Cochon is also famous for its gratinée onion soup (French speciality), pig dishes and its… seafood. From the New York Times’ Travel guide:
« Their famous onion soup and namesake specialty (grilled pigs’ feet with béarnaise sauce) still lure visitors, and where else in Paris can you get such a good meal at 3am? Other specialties include a platter named after the medieval patron saint of sausage makers, la temptation de St-Antoine, which includes grilled pig’s tail, pig’s snout, and half a pig’s foot, all served with béarnaise and pommes frites; and andouillettes (chitterling sausages) with béarnaise. Two flavorful but less unusual dishes: a jarret (shin) of pork, caramelized in honey and served on a bed of sauerkraut, and grilled pork ribs with sage sauce. On the street outside, you can buy some of the freshest oysters in town. »
The secret of the French gratinée onion soup lies in using beef stock and the slow caramelizing of the onions.
From Simply Recipes: « The trick to a great French onion soup is starting with good stock. French onion soup is usually made with beef stock. I’ve made delicious soup with stock from the leftover rib bones of a rib roast. Another important element is the proper caramelization of the onions. Caramelizing onions take at least thirty minutes of slow cooking the onions over medium high heat. The browning, or caramelizing, of the onions brings out the sweetness in them. »
That said, if you happen to go to Paris (clubbing or just sightseeing), if you are hungry don’t forget au Pied de Cochon, open anytime of the day. Their onion soup is perfect to warm you up in the middle of the night.
Au Pied de Cochon: 6 rue Coquillière, Paris 1er. Tel: 01 40 13 77 00. Web (nice website!): www.pieddecochon.com French onion soup: 7 euros.