An apple a day

I’ll admit- I’ve had a checkered history when it comes to apples.

There used to be a little red delicious propped every day in my lunch box next to a ham sandwich. I’d say about 50% of the time I ate it. The proportion that I ate it was in an inversere relationship to the amount of apples that were floury and pappy and fell apart on your tongue like a sad sandcastle. Every recess there was a round of Russian roulette with the first bite.

Then in my final year of high school I went a little nutty. The diet I adopted while studying and honing all the elements of my type A personality consisted of half a bag of Turkish bread which would be dipped in bad Nescafe in the senior study and anywhere between five and sometimes up to seven tiny green apples that were quickly crunched between classes.

There were a few things about that year that involved overkill and I haven’t really been able to eat green apples since- so it would take a pretty special place to coax me back to the fold.

Pomze is just the place. On Boulevard Haussman in the 9th, just up from the Miromesnil Metro station Pomze is a bar, shop and restaurant devoted to apples.
They love them. They love them cooked, they love them in cider ( say with me… sid-err), they love them in juice, with six different juices made from different kinds of apples. They love them in the chutneys, jellys and jams they make there and they love them in their most alcoholic of forms, in a diverse and dangerous range of Calvados.

We couldn’t help ourselves. We’d intended to go for juice and a pastry, but it was close to lunch time and it was sleeting again and there was a set menu for a fairly reasonable price and….

Upstairs in the restaurant there are a range of little dining rooms, spiraling off each other. Decoration consists of fishbowl sized vases, with bobbing apples and little splays of caramel apples next to black and white prints of apple orchards.
The novelty value of all of what follows shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s like a Where’s Wally of fruit.

You can find apple in the slightly sweetened butter (!) that they serve with baguette to start.

In the three ‘degustation’ of cider that you can have to accompany your meal.
It’s there in a caramelized poached arc above the textural nest of shredded brik pastry and rocket, bedded down with fried feta. It’s there in the slightly sweetened balsamic vinegar that makes that entrée a real party pleaser.

You can find it mixed in with the terrine of beef tail and then again in the side accompaniment and marinade of the duck breast I had for main.

They trick you a little with the slow poached pork. You think there’s a disc of fruit nestled ontop, that’s got the most intriguing texture you’ve ever seen- maybe dehydrated, then reproached…? But no Wally- it’s daikon- the fairly bland Japanese radish that’s been braised in apple juice and cider along with the pork.

You’d think it would be all over-sweet, but it’s not. They balance the flavours and up to here, apple becomes more than an unsung hero that you find in a discarded lunchbox.

When it comes to dessert there’s apple and strawberry cheesecake and an oozing chocolate fondant with a couple of kernels of apple buried inside like nuggets you have to dig through the mud for.

The Calvados that comes at the end is so strong that I have to help the Hungry One with his scarf when we get to the street outside.

All in all- for novelty value and the quality of the food, it’s been one of the most fun places we’ve found here.

I think it might even be enough to get me back on the apple cart.
Boulevard Haussman, 75009

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