Butchers in France, like many professions, have their own slang. In this patois, called Louchébem, words are meant to begin with the letter “l”, and end with the letters “em”. Lombem, in that way, means “good”. Tatjana, our Editor-in-chief, and myself, were sent to find out more about the traditional restaurant.
While gastronomy in France has a long history of cooking and eating different kinds of meat — from charcuterie to the infamous veal stew — lately, places tend to stay away from the single-dish eatery model.
Rustique, yet elevated steaks, sirloins and tartares
The second arrondissement of Paris, though, is full of elegant takes on steak and beef. And in a neighborhood full of grills and canteens, low-keyness is a must, if you aim at finding the complicated — and often numerous — ways to conquer a gourmet’s heart. Lombem is one of those secretive places: one of the numerous Parisian passages.
After receiving the menu, with a few advice and explanations regarding the different preparations, came the laborious part: choosing what to treat ourselves with. We shared the Angus beef rillettes with pickles (at €8, definitely one of the more expensive starter options). A rustique entrée that really hit the spot, especially with the refreshing pickles, that brought the nonetheless tasty treat to a more bespoke, balanced place.
Warmth and tenderness
The different pieces are each prepared their own ways. The kitchen only serves two kind: French Charolais or Limousine breed and Angus Hereford Beef. And so, we went for both (other options are available for vegans and non-meat eaters).
Our favorite? The Matured Sirloin Steak (€29, first picture), the meat was matured for 60 days before touching the charred grill. A cooking method that not only braises the piece with an incredible wooden flavour, but also, with the maturation process, really makes a difference. Rarely have we eaten such a tender and savory piece, at least in Paris, and especially at such an affordable price point… To accompany its generous cuts, Lombem offers a side of mashed potatoes, vegetables or rustique fries.
A hint of freshness in meat inferno
Fear not, Lombem isn’t all fire and flames. The place actually serves some delicious, cold and frozen desert and even, delicate cocktails. Because even the toughest butchers have a soft spot for a refreshing drink and homemade mousse au chocolat…
Of course, Lombem doesn’t claim to reinvent grilling. If you ask them, they’ll probably say they’re here to sublime it. That’s a positive in our book! During our visit, on a (very) hot day of June — which some would argue is not the ideal time to enjoy a big chunk of tender, grilled steak — we were there to confirm. Despite the harsh heat, the excellent waiters were there to make us as chilled as possible. In every sense of the word.
“Good stuff” (how we like to rename it) is one of those places you should look for. Unlike, you know, the ones chasing your hard-earned bucks trendy stools and Nordic lighting.
The establishment, hidden in the Panoramas passage, in the second Parisian arrondissement, is both a bespoke meat expert and an affordable lunch option when visiting Paris.