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Le Jules Verne

Second level, Eiffel Tower, 7th. 01.45.55.61.44. Metro Bir-Hakeim.

Open : Daily 12h15-13h30/19h15-21h30. Average : 100 Euros. Credit : Amex, DC, MC, V.

So wonderfully eccentric and winsomely old-fashioned is the Eiffel Tower that it seems slightly churlish to take a swipe at Le Jules Verne, internationally considered top be one of the most romantic restaurants in the world by dint of its setting on the second level. Unfortunately, however, lunch here were disappointing on all counts. The door man and lift operator couldn't be bothered with a greeting, and once seated at a splendid table next  to the window, we were served stunningly dull hors d'oeuvres of soggy onion quiche and dried out cheese puffs. The silly decor - all black, and rather disco-ey with halogen lamps on the tables - desperately needs a makeover. Ramekins of beef aspic, pureed sea bass and spinach, and new almonds as an amuse-bouche were an oversalted convalescent home-treat, while a first course of gaspacho garnished with tasteless crabmeat brought Heinz tomato ketchup soup to mind. Foie gras served in place of the sold-out goat-cheese-stuffed ravioli was mushy and had little taste. A tagine of pork cheeks came in a rich gravy with baby vegetables and was pleasant enough, as was hachis parmentier made with shredded preserved duck, but the problem with both of these dishes is that haute cuisine restaurants never do bistro cooking as well as bistros do. Thought it was gracious of the restaurant to allow a switch to cheese instead of dessert, the quality was poor to middling. A dessert of rose ice cream with hibiscus sauce was refreshing and original, but the mignardises served with coffee were disappointingly standard issue. All told this meal was a very dated version of fancy french food for foreigners. So is the view worth a meal here? Only if you come for the poor value 51 euros lunch menu with decidedly earthbound expectations.

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