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Steak Café de Paris

March 8, 2010

As some of you may already know, I grew up in Switzerland. Land of cheese, cuckoo clocks, chocolate and Steak Café de Paris. This is my ‘Dying Wish Dish’: A sirloin steak, char grilled to perfection, with this delicious herby butter oozing over it and a pile of straw fries beside it.

The problem is that the bistro responsible for this concoction is keeping its cards close to its chest. After a lot of research, a few beer-fuelled chats with my father and lots of experimentation, I feel I have the right recipe.

The result should be a rich, herby butter with a hint of spice. It should feel like it is both wrapping the steak in a sauce, whilst rounding the mouthful off with a bit of heat, a touch of alcohol and a little citrusy follow through; leaving your pallet ready for the next meaty, buttery bite. It’s a sauce that should both be too much and never enough.

Some will argue that certain ingredients are wrong, or there was never this or that and that it can’t possibly be right without the other. But this is the recipe that brings those childhood memories flooding back and for me, that’s what counts. Oh, and never, ever, ever use ketchup in it.

To make it properly Swiss, you absolutely must serve this with real straw chips and precede with a mixed salad and a light vinaigrette – admittedly the last time I had this was with nothing but the meat and the Beurre Café de Paris: heaven.


  • 125g Butter
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Capers
  • 1 Anchovy
  • 1 Shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 table spoons each of Dill, Chives, Parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp each of Orange and Lemon zest
  • 1 tsp Brandy
  • 1 tsp Pernod (or other aniseed based drink)
  • ½ tsp Tarragon
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ½ a garlic clove – or just a small one
  • 1 pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • 1 pinch each of Marjoram, Rosemary, Curry powder, Cayenne Pepper

Get cooking

This can be done in a food processor. I tend to start with all the herbs (fresh and dry), shallot, garlic and spices. Once these are all chopped finely, I add the butter a small chunk at a time to allow it to combine properly.

After all the butter is in, I tend to run the food processor a bit to ‘lift’ the butter – it will start to increase in volume. At this point I add all the wet ingredients and whiz it a little longer.

Check for flavour and seasoning. If you just have a herby paste, add more butter; it really must be a butter with herbs. When you’re happy with it, layout a large square of baking paper and roll the butter into a long sausage about 1 inch across.

Serving & Storage

You can keep this in the freezer for a couple of months, but I’d recommend getting it out in advance and slicing off the amount required so that it has a chance to soften. Nothing worse than an ice cube on top of a steak!

The steak can be any lean cut. I like to salt and pepper it with a little oil, then put it in an exceptionally hot griddle pan. Those lovely ribs of smoky, caramelised meat are a must.

Finally, let the meat sit for a couple of minutes, then put a round or two of butter on top. By the time it reaches the table, it should already be melting.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2010 3:43 pm

    OMG this looks absolutely heavenly! I think you have done a great job at recreating that dish!

    • March 8, 2010 4:44 pm

      Thank you! It is a great bedfellow for steak – although, technically, the bistro in Geneva makes this as a proper sauce, this is the way it’s replicated across Switzerland. Some would say the king of the butter version is the Café Federal in Fribourg… I may be one of those people.

      • Alfred permalink
        August 6, 2010 10:27 am

        I agree! – tried that long time ago
        in Fribourg!

  2. March 9, 2010 5:28 am

    Sounds like just the kind of thing to try on that wagyu beef steak I keep promising to cook!

    And I like the combination of Pernod and tarragon. You may have inspired me to try something new come cooler temperatures!

  3. Alfred permalink
    August 6, 2010 10:25 am

    Since I am living now for over 18 months in India – where you cant get a decent steak! – I love to read these mouthwatering recipes! – and dream to eat these wonderful dishes by the time I am back into civilasation! – GreatRecipe!
    Enjoyed reading it

    (perhaps another 6 months more tenure here….)

    • August 25, 2010 3:51 pm

      Thanks, Alfred, so glad you liked it and hopefully you’ll get that steak very soon! Best, f/t

  4. davidbroberts permalink
    October 4, 2010 7:59 pm

    Is the Cafe de Paris sauce the same thing as the Relais de Entrecote sauce?

    • October 7, 2010 9:06 am

      Hi David,

      Thanks for the post – I’m afraid it is not as far as I know… but do tell me about the Relais sauce; I *heart* steak with a good sauce!



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