Café de Paris sauce is a complex butter-based sauce served with grilled meats.
When it is served with a beef rib or sirloin steak, the resulting dish is known as “entrecôte Café de Paris”. It’s actually Café de Paris butter — which of course melts to a “sauce” on the hot sirloin steak (Entrecôte) it must be served with — which was devised by chef Freddy Dumont in 1941, created specifically to be served with sirloin steak.
The sauce was first popularised in the 1940s by the Café de Paris restaurant in Geneva, then owned by Arthur-François (Freddy) Dumont, and entrecôte Café de Paris remains the restaurant’s speciality. The Café de Paris attributes the origin of the sauce to Mr Dumont’s father-in-law, one Mr Boubier. Today the restaurant also ships the sauce to several other restaurants which serve it under licence: the Café de Paris in Lausanne, the À l’Entrecôte in Sion (Switzerland), the Brasserie L’Entrecôte in Lisbon and Porto, and the Entrecôte Café de Paris restaurants in Dubai, Kuwait, Riyadh and Stockholm.
A closely similar sauce is also served by the Entrecôte groups of restaurants operated by the descendants of Paul Gineste de Saurs in Paris, Geneva, Toulouse, Lyon, London, New York, Beirut, Doha, Dubai, Riyadh, and other cities.
General Ingredients and Prep.
Both the Café de Paris and the Entrecôte groups of restaurants consider the sauce’s ingredients and method of preparation to be a trade secret.
The Paris newspaper Le Monde reports that the sauce as served by Le Relais de Venise – L’Entrecôte is made from chicken livers, fresh thyme and thyme flowers, full cream (19 percent butterfat), white Dijon mustard, butter, water, salt, and pepper.
According to Le Monde, the chicken livers are blanched in one pan with the thyme until they start to turn colour. In a second pan, the cream is reduced on low heat with the mustard and infused with the flavour of the thyme flowers. The chicken livers are then finely minced and pressed through a strainer into the reduced cream. As the sauce thickens, the butter is incorporated into it with a little water, it is beaten smooth, and fresh-ground salt and pepper are added. The London newspaper The Independent, however, reports that the proprietor of Le Relais de Venise – L’Entrecôte has dismissed the Le Monde report as inaccurate.
The Café de Paris serves its entrecôte on a bed of the sauce, on a platter kept hot atop a trivet with a warming candle in the base. Initially the sauce is a stiff whipped froth, tawny in colour, but as it melts down to a liquid it reverts to its natural creamy pea-soup-green colour. At the Entrecôte groups of restaurants, the sauce is served as a creamy pea-soup-green liquid from the outset rather than as a whipped froth, it is less prone to separate, and it is less salty.
Café de Paris Sauce Recipe
- 1 kg soft unsalted butter
- 60 g tomato sauce
- 25 g Dijon mustard
- 25 g capers in brine, rinsed and coarsely chopped
- 125 g French shallots, finely diced
- 50 g curly leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 50 g chives, finely chopped
- 5 g each of dried marjoram and dill
- 5 g fresh thyme leaves, lightly chopped
- 10 French tarragon leaves, lightly chopped
- pinch of ground dried rosemary
- 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
- 8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon each of brandy and Madeira
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 8 white peppercorns, finely ground
- juice of 1 lemon
- finely grated zest of ½ lemon
- finely grated zest of ¼ orange
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- To make the Café de Paris butter, beat the butter until creamy — either by hand or on low speed in an electric mixer. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine all the remaining ingredients before adding to the butter. Mix again with a large spoon or on low speed in the mixer
- Place a double thickness of foil 20 cm in length on a workbench and place half the butter along the closest edge, leaving about 5 cm free at either end. Roll into a log shape about 5 cm in diameter, twisting the ends to seal. Repeat with another length of foil and the other half of the butter, then refrigerate until set.
- When the sirloin steaks are done, slice and divide the Café de Paris Butter between them and place under a hot salamander until melted and slightly coloured. Serve at once.
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