Tag Archives: soya paris

Paris for vegetarians (really)

6 Sep

Man Woman have the luxury of living in London, which means we’re so near to Paris it’s kinda rude if we don’t drop by every now and again.

What we often do is rent an apartment, raid the cheese section of the marche d’Alligre in Bastille, near the fabulous tiny pokey down-at-heel wine bar Baron Rouge, buy bucketloads of bread from the boulangerie on the corner of Rue des Martyrs and Rude de Cochorot, stock up on red wine and laze in our apartment when we get hungry thinking how it can’t get any better.

But not this time. We found places that cook food we can eat – really eat.

Fuxia

When in doubt,  look for the Italians. At least they will always do a tomato sauce pasta. And lo, Fuxia did much more. We discovered soon enough it was a chain (alack), which served oddly different sized portions at different locales (Rue des Martyrs – generous; Canal St Martin – stingy as all hell).

Man Woman ate pretty fantastic mushroom risotto and veggie cannelloni – all of which sounds pretty standard, but which was a slight step above the bog standard risotto that gets begrudgingly offered to plant-eaters at most otherwise omnivorous eating establishments. The cannelloni was decadently soggy, with a nice picante cheesey topping while the risotto at first had the look of tinned mushrooms, it ended up having that amazingly earthy borderline-truffley flavour of really good mushies. Topped off with a little coffee degustation with mini tiramisu, panacotta (both of which Woman realised she doesn’t really like in the first place but can appreciate) all was good. Particularly when the bill came in at €47. Not bad stuff.

Fuxia (Epicerie), 51 Rue des Martyrs, 9e, Metro: Notre Dame de Lorette, Pigalle or Cadet

Soya

Speaking of not bad stuff, Soya, is very good stuff.

In a street where it appears not much is happening, but where you suspect a lot is, Soya is a great space – all white walls, industrial metal and wood columns – but gloriously unpretentious.

We went for the menu formules, which had the kind of veggie fare that makes vegetarians happy and meat eaters willing to make the sacrifice. We had a mini mezze as a shared starter which brought a new meaning to the value of dips – who knew hommus could do such things? – followed by the torte and plat of the day, both of which were massive. There was an element of blandness to the torte, but I’ll put that down to being worthy and healthy and I’ll happily overlook it.

When you’re otherwise consigned to cheese and white bread, Soya is an amazing little respite – chilled, hearty and totally accepting of your disinclination to eat foie gras, which is truly a special place in gay Paris.

20 Rue Pierre Levée, 11e, Metro: Republique, Oberkampf

Chez Marianne

Now for the falafels. Chez Marianne is in the Jewish quarter on the Right Bank, tossed in among boutique stores and amazing Jewish bakeries. It’s an odd nearly standalone building, covered in some creeping plant and whose interior features many pictures of Marianne at various stages of maturity and with various levels of decolletage on display. Even on the wine (advise against ordering house).

But in any event, don’t eat inside. It’s over-priced and what you get is a large plate of dips. Blah.

But the falafels – for which you must pay inside and line up at the little drive-thru style window outside – are quite something. Made fresh to order, a normally quite surly falafel maker will take your receipt, then proceed to deep fry those green chickpea balls of goodness, mixed with lovely fresh shredded cabbage and wonderfully fried up eggplant. Stuffed into what in Man Woman’s dream world would be a wrap, but is, in reality, a pita pocket the icing on this humble, wondrous falafel cake is that you can top it yourself with endless pickled chilies, gherkins and hot chili sauce.

You then sit down on the stoop of some building nearby, which is thankfully apparently always closed, staring at a closed market with the words Libertie, Egalitie, Fraternitie, above it and think, this Paris lark ain’t so bad for plant-eaters after all.

2,rue des Hospitalieres-Saint-Gervais

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