February 13, 2014 by Emma Bentley
Shortly before August 2013, Pigalle’s well-known all-day-and-all-night joint, Le Dépanneur, re-opened under new management.
Situated in trendy SoPi (South Pigalle for those of you not in the know) the restaurant is barely a hop, skip and jump away from the seedy attractations around the Moulin Rouge. However its unique exterieur, large windows reminiscent of either a school bus or an old greenhouse, and the fact that it’s right on an intersection, make this bar-restaurant stand out from its surroundings.
What will also catch your eye is the number of well-dressed bobos sitting outside, smoking, and nursing a tequila cocktail. Oh the idiosyncrasies of Paris life! As you make your way inside, you’ll surely notice the decor. Sleek, modern, with a little beach-house vibe going on. (For those who have an eagle-eye or a fondness for trivia, the same designer also did the Mary Celeste.) Washboard wood meets industrial chrome. This of course fits neatly with the theme of the restaurant – California in Paris. Tacos, tequila and burgers.
We sit down to eat. I choose the CaliClassic burger. It’s good. The meat and the bun are perfect. I remember that it’s Jordan from the Cantine California food truck in the kitchen. I savour the second bite. Unfortunately, that’s where a little niggle crops up.
Did I really need guacamole and mayonnaise? Raw red onions as well as caramelised onions? Bacon, of course, is a staple in any good burger as far as I’m concerned and the Cheddar was exceptionnally tasty too (I’m always appreciative of good Cheddar)… but cheese and guacamole and mayonnaise and pickles and lettuce, tomatoes and… and… and… and… it all seemed a little too much.
Maybe this is an American thing that we Brits just don’t get. Maybe it boils down to personal taste – I know I can be a boring old stooge at times.
In short, I love the vibe, I love the tequila and I love the fact that there’s a vegetarian burger on the menu. (It’s not half bad either, I’m reliably informed.) I like the fact that you can get wine, cocktails and beer alongside burgers and tacos. What I didn’t like so much was the price. 17 euros for a burger seems rather on the hefty side to me, especially when you’ll be paying 12-13 euros for the cocktail. Here’s a suggestion: why not cut down on all those accoutrements and charge me a tenner? I tell you what – that would be such a great combination, you’d find me here every day!
(Price-wise you’re looking at: 4.5 euros for a Brooklyn Lager, 5-6 euros for a glass of wine, 10 euros for a starter, 17 for a burger and 8 euros for a dessert.)
You come because you’ve finally embraced your inner hipster and you’re trying to kid yourself that you’re actually in California… 😉
Essential InformationAddress: 27 rue Pierre Fontaine, 75009 Telephone: 01 48 74 48 74 Website: Le Depanneur, Facebook Opening Hours: every day from 10am til 2am. “Service continu.” Reservations: not necessary. Suggested footwear: embrace your inner hipster
ADDENDUM: I went back today (Tuesday 15/04/14) and am actually very glad I did. You see, let me explain… I had tried to go to another restaurant in the area but was briskly told that last orders were at 14h. (It was 14h05.) Turned back out onto the street, having to quickly formulate a plan…. it was a beautiful spring day, the sun was hot and the Parisians were on their best behaviour…. Le Depanneur.
Maybe it was because it was a fairly quiet Tuesday afternoon – and did I mention that the sun was shining – but the service was really great. (And it’s not often I say that.)
I sat on the glorious terrasse. One Brooklyn Lager quickly became two Brooklyn Lagers. A burger arrived. Still up to its very high standards – and with less “stuff” it seemed too! The whole thing is still over-priced, but given the fact that I spent a very pleasurable hour or so in that spot in the sunshine, I’m more than happy to pay the 27 euros that my bill came to in the end.