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Bleu Ciel


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Bleu Ciel | The best Chinese buffet thus far

Published by Oat Sitalasai — 4 years ago

Nowadays the term "buffet à volonté" or "all you can eat", is often associated with Chinese food, in big cities, especially in Paris. Unfortunately the specific terms of Chinese Buffet à volonté and All You Can Eat do not always correlate to quality. Let me be your help and share with you an all you can eat Chinese place that I had discovered recently.

Like most of the places I have tried in Paris, I found Bleu Ciel completely by accident. I was actually looking for a place that I could have a lunch and also sit there afterwards for a coffee and use the wi-fi for some work. I think it was meant to be that I had stumbled upon Bleu Ciel. This Chinese restaurant offers lunch and dinner buffets à volonté and also take aways. While I was having my all you can eat lunch, a lady (a very regular by the conversion she had) had gone for the take away option, whereby she chose whatever she wanted from the buffet and took all in a massive box.

First impressions: the place is very small and very clean. To their defence, the restaurant also has the floor above but due to the quieter lunch period (I was there late, around 2pm), they only had the ground floor opened. The first floor could easily seat up to 20 people, so if you’re there a bit later like I was, you should have no problem finding a spot. I was also impressed by cleanliness. Another tag that has sadly become linked to Chinese places and buffets is the lack of cleanliness. This place didn’t worry me at all. The tables are properly wiped every time someone leaves, the buffet is always checked, the glasses are clean and the plates also satisfactory. As good and as normal as this should be, I found that this was a bonus that I really cannot expect in other restaurants.

To my way of thinking, there is nothing worse that buffet food items that sit at room temperature. For both the eating experience and for hygiene purposes, food should have always been warm at the very least. This place somewhat scared me when I noticed that the food items on the buffet were not hot. I was surprised, but then I took a minute to think that perhaps I had come relatively late to their lunch time and that they had already turned off the warmer. This is to an extent plausible, but the safety of the food should always come first. This was when I realised that they have a microwave at the end of the buffet line. Like so many small Chinese take away places where you could pick your choices and the waiter will heat up the food for you, Bleu Ciel took up the same strategy. Since no one ever wants to eat food at room temperature, I made use of the microwave and my food was heated up in 30 seconds. Now that the food is hot, you can enjoy the buffet menu.

I love Chinese food and I was super hungry at the time. I had tried most of the items of the buffet, other than a few like the grilled duck - which looked really good and flavourful, but I don’t like duck - as well as some deep-fried items. This brings me to speak of their great variety. There are so many things you can choose from, this tiny place actually has more options that some bigger places in Chinatown.

For Starters:

  • asian-inspired salad or you can make your own with lettuce, beetroots, and carrot.
  • cucumber, diced tomatoes, corn.
  • sushi!
  • vietnamese-styled spring rolls with salad, vermicelli and prawns.
  • crispy fried wonton with shrimps stuffing.
  • ‘nems’ which are basically deep-fried asian spring rolls, also of vietnamese origin i think.

For Mains:

  • grilled marinated duck.
  • deep-fried calamari.
  • chicken drumsticks and wings, deep fried with onions, garlic and pepper.
  • fried rice two ways: thai (not at all thai, trust me) and cantonese (with ham, peas and eggs).
  • stir-fried noodles.
  • chicken in a thicker oyster sauce with mushrooms and other veggies.
  • not a red sweet and sour pork, but small pork ribs with a brown caramelised thick sauce.

The Uniques:

  • grilled chicken on skewers: really good and a huge size.
  • lightly floured salt and pepper shrimps.
  • fried fish with unknown sauce.
  • fried chicken glazed with sweet chilli sauce.
  • lemongrass grilled chicken.

Extras:

  • dessert section asian options, fruits and biscuits.
  • ice cream! vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.

I would suggest having the ice cream with the sesame biscuit on the side; the quality of the ice cream is not the cheap ones you’ll get elsewhere too.

All the sauces necessary for everything and anything you may choose to get from the buffet - their vietnamese sauce for spring rolls is good here.

Just too many options!

If this place was in a more visible location, I have no doubts that it would be the centre of much interest for those walking on an empty stomach. The location for this place is somewhat hidden. If you do walk out from the metro station République, be sure you look out for the exit that is closest as possible to rue René Boulanger (exits 5 or 10). If you’re somewhat close to this street, you should be able to see the visible signage of the restaurant that’s tucked about four shops into the street. If you have Google Maps with you, pinpointing down this restaurant via 24 rue René Boulanger should be simple.

One thing that I must say on behalf of the restaurant is, please only take what you can finish. As sad as it may sound, some people have bigger eyes than their stomach and tend to go crazy in stuffing their plates with food. I got to see how the event unfold when I was at the restaurant when a group of five French people left an incredible amount of food on their plates. The amount of food that they had wasted could have easily fed three people, and trust me, this is not an exaggeration. Some buffet places will implement a policy where you pay extra for your waste, but I believe this place doesn’t. The restaurant and the five people had a small argument as the amount of food wastage was just absolutely insane. So please, for the love of the good quality food that this place does, do not take advantage of this, because they sure don’t take advantage of you!

For 10. 50 euros, I will surely return to this place. The options that I have as well as the cleanliness and the price for the all you can eat menu will be something that I come back for more. You can also take their business card, which also act as a little loyalty card where you will get a “cadeau” or gift for your 10th trip to Bleu Ciel. Take note that lunch buffet is also served from Monday to Friday, for 10. 50 euros as I mentioned earlier. Dinner buffet is different as you may also enjoy a classic hot pot all you can eat option, for 18. 80 euros. You may want to ring the place at 01 40 18 98 80 for more information about dinner reservation for their hot pot option.

And now for my personal ratings:

Accessibility - 9/10

Price - 9/10

Selection - 9/10

Staff Friendliness - 8/10

Cleanliness - 8/10

Overall - 9/10

Bleu Ciel via Yelp.fr

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