Me and my lovely friend A at Mezzanine
Last time I went partying in San Francisco was in April 2009 with L & T, and we weren’t particularly well-behaved. This time it was all so much more civilised. With L’s little sister A in town from London , we met at Chez Papa, just south of Market, for dinner for sixteen, followed by clubbing at Mezzanine.
Chez Papa is a French bistro, the kind of restaurant that doesn’t normally make my list. Pastis et al must be amongst the most over-rated restaurants in Manhattan: I’ve never understood the obsession with faux bistros. It’s just inexpensive everyday food for the French which the English & Americans tart up with Franglais menus, and dodgy brass rail & leather booth fit-outs and then charge accordingly.
But Chez Papa manages to turn the cliché on its head, injecting the bog standard French classics with a shot of West Coast savoir faire. The menu is full of interesting combinations that entice rather than challenge, whilst still keeping their bistro heritage, and the local ingredients are so fresh they are practically marching off the plate.
The restaurant itself manages to looks less like a neighbourhood stalwart and more like a canteen for the chattering classes, whilst still keeping the relaxed atmosphere and convivality of non-Parisian restaurants.
My only disappointment was with the wine list. I baulk at ordering average French wine shipped over great distances, & marked up accordingly, when sitting less than a hundred miles from one of the great wine growing regions of the world.
We rolled out of the restaurant, tipsy and stuffed, and straight into the 1990s at Fake Blood, a Hallloween- themed night at Mezzanine across the way.
There’s little I like more than a banging 90s house night (it makes me think I am a fresh faced infant again), but it’s almost imposible to jump around in the required manner when a) gavage-d with French food b) drunk c) wearing five inch Bionda Castana ankle bootrs and d) jet-lagged to incoherency.
I managed a waltz with Al Capone, and got chatted up by a mummy, before A and I blearily called it a night half an hour later and I jumped a cab back to the peace and grown up calm of the Fairmont.
Chez Papa, 4 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103