Kid-Friendly Paris: Pássarito Mon Amour
On my usual route to the grocery store a while ago, with stroller and grocery cart in tow, I noticed that a disgusting deserted old space full of rubble and covered in graffiti had suddenly been transformed! (I must have missed the makeover.) There were potted plants and flowers on the sidewalk. I peeked in the window to see beautiful blue and white covered chairs and tiles, bottles of wine, shelves of little tins and cans, dried meats hanging from the ceiling. Naturally anyone would get excited to find that a place like this could be one’s local watering hole/cantine. They weren’t open, but when I saw a little room in the back with toys lined up, I excitedly pushed the door open anyway, dragged the toddler and groceries inside, disrupted the owner César De Sousa who was quietly working on his menu, to ask him a zillion questions. He offered me some wine, a taste of his selection of meats, while my daughter tore up his playroom. His family waltzed in and out of the space preparing for the coming week and I knew this was not just your typical French restaurant. I felt so comfortable and chill and my kiddo seemed to be enjoying herself too. I needed to know more about Pássarito and then I needed to share the good news with friends and fellow mammas.
Ajiri Aki: Pássarito is a wine bar and shop, a delicatessen, and a small grocery store. How did you choose the name?
César De Sousa: Pássarito means “baby bird” in Portuguese slang. It’s a word of affection. For me, the baby birds are the swallow and the rooster. The swallow is a symbol of Portugal and an allegory of a journey and the rooster is an emblem shared by Portugal and France (like the rooster of Barcelos and the French Foot) and stands for my double nationality of French and Portuguese. There is, moreover, 4 real small birds in my place: Dimitri, Mimi Ines, Smarties, and Ulysse.
AA: How exactly would you describe your place and the food?
CDS: Pássarito is a place which speaks to what I am and what I like to share: my love for true farm products and producers, with their own special story.
It’s a wine bar to drink and to eat, and a wine shop, a delicatessen, and a small grocery store. We sell French and Portuguese wines that aren’t available at other stores.
We serve simple, homemade, family and tasty dishes with French and Portuguese accents. For example oeufs cocottes au foie gras, caldo verde, tarte salée du jour, plat mijoté du jour, etc…
The dish of the day depends on what is fresh and seasonal at the market—and the weather!
My wines, cheeses, delicatessen items, and vegetables come, in large part, from farmers who I choose for the quality of their produce and their love for their work.
But the food evolves according to the discoveries I make.
So then you can discover with me perhaps the taste of a Pasteis de Nata, a typical Lusitanian cake, with a coffee (the excellent café of the Brûlerie Caron), a tea (from Dammann Brothers), or a fresh fruit juice, I call it the “pause Lisboète”. Then there are the gherkins from the Maison Marc, the syrups from Quiosque de Refresco, and olive oil from my parents’ Portuguese olive trees. The bread is made by Thierry Meunier, the Fontainebleau from the cheesemaker next door, the Pasteis de Nata by la Pastelaria Belem, and the vegetables are from a local market gardener, Monsieur Martinet.
With a glass of wine, you can try our dentadas (Portuguese tapas) of fish, saucisse, or cheese.
AA: You have any fav items on the menu?
CDS: The Chouriça assada is one of my favorites because it reminds me of family dinners back home in Portugal. For me it’s impossible to have a dinner in Portugal without Chouriça assada for a starter. And also the Cocotte Foie Gras, which took me so long to get it right.
AA: I am mildly obsessed with the interior decoration and design in here. It is beautiful! What was your inspiration behind the design?
CDS: Pássarito’s decor is also symbolic of my “double culture”. It’s traditional Parisian bistro meets Portuguese bar. But I did not want to fall into any kind of a “cliché ”. I wanted a timeless space. Alors, I am happy when people from the neighborhood tell me they feel “at home” and that they have the impression that Pássarito has always been here.
AA: From the family table in the back to the playroom and your family’s involvement, it’s a family affair here at Passarito!! Can you tell us how your family has played a role in Passarito?
CDS: My family has a big role in Pássarito. My companion, Vanessa Adolphe, conceptualized and designed the interior architecture that translated my “spirit,” my father did the renovation work and the furniture, my mother knitted the bread baskets, does the paperwork, and also never hesitates to jump behind the counter to give me a helping hand, and finally my brother looks after the financial side.
But my staff are family too: Maxence, Aurore, and Tiago
AA: It is unusual to find a children’s playroom in such a beautiful restaurant!
CDS: Exactly it is too rare! Since the ” family philosophy” is Pássarito’s base for functioning, it seemed normal that we wanted families to feel good in this place, don’t you think? With the playroom parents can enjoy a glass of wine while their children have some fun. And I have to confess to you that as a” father-to-be”, I think it’s great!
And anyway sometimes the adults are playing the board games in the children’s playroom…
AA: What’s on the menu for the little ones?
CDS: No sausages and chips here. Instead we have green peas with farmer’s butter and smoked bacon, eggs or ham with a homemade daily special—and there is always a special homemade cake of the day! Yum!
Images by Aurélie Possien
10 Rue des Goncourt, 75011 Paris
09 83 31 25 06
Open Tuesday- Saturday, noon – 11:00 PM