At 29 Rue de Lille, you find the very old Bistrot de Paris, staffed by the kind of traditional waiter you hope for, and where Phil could enjoy classic roasted French farm-raised chicken and a mound of pommes purée, and I could test the beef tartare and order a wide selection of vegetables. The wine list is good and they also offer Alain Milliat nectars. There are many traditional dishes on their menu.

Before our (adult) children joined us we did dine in a couple of more expensive restaurants which really just highlighted what talent we have and great value we offer in New Zealand. Our main courses are nowhere near €44 and generally better than what we experienced.

chefAlain Milliat emailed us he had entered the restaurant game as well, so we decided to take Helen and Thomas there one night. His chef, an Englishman by the name of Jon Irwin, has an interesting pedigree as he has worked for a couple of French greats, including Pierre Gagnaire.

Alain has gone way beyond a bijou boutique in which to sell his luxury range of artisanal nectars - though it is apparently a 'salon de thé' by day. You may order any of those from the stylish display on the walls if you so wish.

Patronised mainly by local chic Parisian 30 somethings, our 8pm arrival was a little early, as most did not arrive until a more fashionable 8.45pm.

salmonFor €29 you select two courses, and for €35 either cheese or dessert can be taken as well. Less if you go for lunch. It's a fixed menu, so the food sensitive and vegan could have a problem, though the gluten-free would have been fine on this menu.

You have a choice of two dishes per course, and they arrived promptly, looking very elegant.

We were also served a delicious little amuse bouche which was salmon-based. This is not French bistro food, but quite fine food at a very reasonable price. We later read the term coined for it is 'bistronomy'.

The entrées were either a generous serving of pulled crab with a fennel sauce presented under a thin layer of sliced apple; the other featured something they called 'mushroom ketchup', which was a tasty, savoury kind of spongy base. Very interesting.

crabThe mains were fish on a black rice or a rare bavette of beef with a delicious confit of onion topped with an elegant version of onion rings. There is a small, but good wine selection - including one from New Zealand.

We let ourselves be talked into sharing yet another dessert...

Incidentally if you come across good restaurants please let us know, as in a few days we do not find everything and are always interested to take note for next time!