Buvette, Paris

Picking a favourite restaurant in Paris isn't an easy task.

Each street is lined with brasserie upon bistro, the majority of which serve pretty decent grub.

However, some stand out from the rest. Buvette certainly falls into that category.

Buvette is an intimate, all-day joint in the 9th arrondissement with a pretty simple menu. 

The lights are dim and the signage is pretty inconspicuous but don't let that fool you into thinking that it's a hidden gem.

It's not a well-kept secret so when we turned up one Saturday evening, we knew that we would have to wait.

We popped our names on the list and returned 40 minutes later to take our seats at the bar.

They do have 'proper' tables, but groups of four seemed to be squeezed around a standard table for two, so if you can, opt for a bar stool.

The food is, of course, very French, with options ranging from coq au vin to smoked trout, with a couple of veggies thrown in for good measure.

Although these all sounded (and smelled) fantastic, I'd come to Buvette for one thing in particular: the infamous croque monsieur.

We placed our orders and shared a bottle of sparkling red wine while we waited- strange, but surprisingly okay.

When the main event arrived, I wasn't disappointed.

Slices of ham encased in puddles of the gooiest, creamiest cheesy-bechamel sauce, sandwiched between thick slices of cheese-coated toast. Plus some pickles to help you with your 5-a-day.

Admittedly some of the Parisian croque's that I'd had up to this point had been decidedly below-par. 

Toasted sliced white sandwich loaf topped with some grated cheese is okay sometimes, but that's not how to make a proper croque.

But Buvette's croques? These are the real deal.

Not ones to under order or under indulge, we also couldn't resist the gratin dauphinoise that we spied on the specials menu. 

Steaming slices of potato layered with cream, onions and cheese, to go with our slices of bread with cream and cheese. Not a vegetable in sight.

My other friend chose the coq au vin, which he was pretty pleased with.

Seeing as we were going all out in terms of cholesterol and calories, we couldn't say no to pud.

You choose a slice from the stands of tarts, pies and tortes that form the centre piece of the bar display.

In line with the rest of the meal, they don't scrimp when it comes to portion size.

A giant wedge of smooth, sharp lemon tarte, topped with toasty, fluffy meringue.

And the densest of chocolate cakes, served with crème fraiche to cut through the richness (ish.)

Like I said, choosing the best restaurants on the Paris restaurant scene is tricky business.

But anywhere whose menu is centred around cheese, carbs and cakes is a place I want to be, which is why Buvette takes the number one spot in my books.

Evidently it's not a place to go if you're watching what you eat, but if you want to indulge, this is as good as it gets.

There's only one in Paris and if you go in the evenings, it'll be busy. 

They don't take reservations so be prepared to be put on the waiting list and grab a drink at one of the bars nearby.

There's also a Buvette in New York if that's more your area.

Website here.