From your Parisian

Sharing my newest discoveries as I float through the streets of Paris. Restaurants, bars, events, all reviewed for you with love, from your Parisian.


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Restaurant Review: Siseng

Okay, so I am hella late on this one! Siseng has been the talk of Paris for a while now and although it was on my list to try, it wasn’t until my friend M told me she had been to the trendy Asian fusion food bar located on the Canal Saint-Martin (and gushed about how amazing it was!), that I decided I had to get over there ASAP! Luckily, it didn’t take much convincing to get her to come back with me last Wednesday night.

Siseng_Paris_beef bao burgerWe arrived at around 8 pm and there was already a line-up of people waiting outside. No surprise there, because like Hansel, this place is so hot right now (sorry…Zoolander reference)! Although I don’t usually like waiting (they don’t take reservations), it wasn’t too cold out and there was no way we were going to leave without trying one of their specialties: the Bao Burger (I will explain what this is in a second). One of the waiters came outside to check how many groups were to be seated and surprise, surprise, he turned out to be a friend of M’s from school. We asked him if we could order a drink to help us pass the time, and he promptly agreed and brought us the menu to look at.

Siseng_Paris_carteI was immediately impressed with their selection of exotic and creative cocktails. I chose a cocktail named after the restaurant (10 Euros), and M chose to skip the alcohol and ordered a Kaffir lime, ginger ale, and lemon leaf syrup flavored green tea (5 Euros). My Siseng cocktail was delicious and refreshing with a generous amount of halved kumquats and coriander leaves floating in a mix of gin, lemon, ginger ale and grapefruit juice.

Siseng_Paris_cocktailBefore we knew it (okay…it was about a 30 minute wait) we were shown to a seat at the long bar lining the wall. The décor was perfect in my eyes: unfinished wood panels and exposed bricks, a spiral staircase in the center of the room, a bar stocked with saké and other drinks, dangling light bulbs throughout, and the most gorgeous light fixture of what looked like entwined birch roots or branches. I also really liked the elaborate graphic art featured on their menus and on one of the walls, designed by Soba (Sophia Babari). The space has a very natural loft feel, and is filled with Parisian hipsters!

Siseng_Paris_interior

Siseng_Paris_decorThe wait outside had worked up our appetite so luckily the food arrived relatively quickly! We both ordered bao burgers (10 Euros) which feature a baozi (a white and fluffy steamed Chinese bun) as the bread. M ordered the Kai Bao Burger (a breaded chicken filet with a basil coconut milk sauce, red pepper confit, a light coleslaw and fresh basil) and I chose the 5 Spice Bao Burger (beef patty marinated with 5 spices, tamarind and caramel sauce, tempura onion rings, onion confit, and spinach and arugula leaves). We also ordered a side of sweet potato fries each (4 Euros), which were just the right thickness and were accompanied by their deliciously sweet caramel and tamarind sauce.

Siseng_Paris_chicken bao burgerThe burgers looked like little clouds floating on the Japanese ceramic plates and biting into them was heavenly! At first, the taste of my burger reminded me a little of the traditional cha siu baos, or BBQ pork buns (that I used to eat all the time back home in Vancouver), but due to the fusion with the other ingredients, they had an amazing and individual flavor. I tried some of M’s burger and it was equally good, but lighter and less sweet. I admit that I slightly preferred it to mine.

Siseng_Paris_beef burgerSurprisingly, I was actually very full after finishing, which often isn’t a usual occurrence at trendy eateries. The beef burger is definitely more filling than the chicken, probably due to the sweetness of the sauce. It wasn’t too long before we felt like we were being watched…and we were: there was still a steady line-up of sad people outside staring longingly into the window. So we promptly asked for the bill and left our seats. There was no need to prolong their suffering!

Siseng_Paris_exteriorIf you don’t mind a wait, then this place is definitely worth a try for a burger unlike any other in Paris. They equally have a range of other dishes, such as a bo bun or a bento, but right now it’s all about the bao burger! I’ll definitely be back this summer to enjoy a burger and a glass of their watermelon juice (or another of their yummy cocktails) along the Canal Saint-Martin! Yes, they do take-out! Can’t wait!

Restaurant Details:

82 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 06 62 54

http://www.siseng.fr/

My Rating:

4 kumquats out of 5

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Restaurant Review: Come a Casa

Yesterday was a beautiful and sunny day in Paris, but after the sun had set I had the chance (or the desire) to stay in and write about Come a Casa, a cute little Italian restaurant in Paris that whisks you away to the warmth of Tuscany…if only for a few hours! My friend C raved about this place last summer, so since then I have been dying to give it a try!

come a casa_paris_tableLocated in a quiet street in the 11th arrondissement near Voltaire métro station, you are immediately drawn to this restaurant by the words Come a Casa (which, if I’m not mistaken translates to “like at home”) written in cursive on a bright green facade.

come a casa_paris_exteriorInside, you will find a very small and quaint room (reservations are recommended as seating is limited to about 20 people or so) that reminds you of a rustic farmhouse with an exposed stone wall, a pale green barn-style door concealing the bathroom, a large and well-stocked wine rack made from wooden crates and a tiny kitchen, clearly visible behind a counter cluttered with colorful vintage earthenware plates. Your Italian hosts for the evening are Flavia and Gianluca and together they have really created a cozy environment where you can sit back and enjoy some homemade Italian cuisine.

come a casa_paris_interior

come a casa_paris_kitchenWe were shown to our seats at a small table against the wall and immediately started browsing through the short but sweet menu. In regards to food, the choices are simple with only 3 main courses offered each day: an eggplant gratin, lasagna of the day, and a daily special. There is, of course, a more than adequate selection of appetizers, desserts and drinks (lots of great Italian wine!) to accompany your main course.

come a casa_paris_menuWe ordered a bottle of Italian red wine (I can’t remember what it was, as I have a terrible memory…especially after drinking, but it was around 30 Euros) recommended by Gianluca and to start, a plate of Chianti marinated beef carpaccio on a bed of arugula and grilled vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms and extremely juicy cherry tomatoes!) topped with shavings of Parmesan (16 Euros). The fine slithers of beef were divine and mixed perfectly with the vegetables that glistened with olive oil.

come a casa_paris_saladThen came our main dishes: porcini mushroom and provolone cheese lasagna (15 Euros) and the special of the day, which was ricotta, radish and asparagus ravioli combined with chopped asparagus and bresaola and mixed with a radish infused olive oil (16 Euros). My lasagna was delicious and not at all heavy like traditional meat lasagnas as it was filled instead with mushrooms, carrots and zucchini and topped with fresh basil. I tried a bite of ravioli which had a definite kick from the radishes, something that I had never tasted in a pasta dish before and found to be very refreshing. Both meals were extremely satisfying due to the expertly combined ingredients and the perfect portion sizes. We sat there chatting after our meal, trying not to be distracted by our neighbors, who we were almost brushing shoulders with (as I mentioned before, there’s not much space, but you soon adjust to this familial feel), as jazz music played lightly over the hushed conversations.

come a casa_paris_lasagna

come a casa_paris_ravioliGianluca returned to ask us if we wanted dessert and of course the answer was YES, as my friend C had said the tiramisu (8 Euros) was beyond awesome! I now have a confession to make: I’ve actually been here twice: the first time with my friend V and the second with the bf, which is why I didn’t specify at the beginning of this post. I know…I’m sneaky like that! Anyways, the first time I came with V we ordered a tiramisu and we were kind of disappointed as the mascarpone cream was too light and frothy and reminded me of egg whites. This time, however, it was how it should be: velvety, rich mascarpone cream mixed with coffee and alcohol soaked lady fingers and covered with a blanket of cocoa powder. I was happy to be able to report to V the next day that it was terrific the second time around, and we agreed that everyone has the right to an off-night!

come a casa_paris_tiramisu

Upon leaving I was already thinking about what I’d like to order next time, which is a positive sign, IMHO. So next time you’re in the mood for some creative and delectable Italian food, drop by Come a Casa, where there’s always something good cooking in this humble but homey kitchen!

come a casa_paris_cover menu

Restaurant Details:

7 Rue Pache, 75011 Paris

+33 (0)1 77 15 08 19

http://comeacasa7.tumblr.com/

My Rating:

4 glasses of Chianti out of 5


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Fast Food, Fast Review: Bob’s Bake Shop

I had the immense pleasure of taking a day off work last Tuesday, which gave me the chance to wander around Paris on a weekday and check out a place I have wanted to try for a while now: Bob’s Bake Shop!

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This American eatery is located in the new, eco-friendly Halle Pajol (which totally deserves  its own blog post…I will eventually get around to it), giving it a very unique and natural feel. It has a definite North American diner look and the staff speak English and are all casually dressed in loose sweatshirts and beanies, reminding me of coffee shop staff in Vancouver or Seattle.

bobs bake shop_paris_coffee

As soon as I walked inside, the smell of freshly ground coffee (from La Brûlerie de Belleville) drifted into my nostrils while my eyes were drawn to the glass display cases full of good old-fashioned pies, cheesecakes and brownies. I was hungry and craving a bagel so I looked up at the wide choice of homemade bagels and the list of possible ingredients to fill them with.

bobs bake shop_paris_pies and cakes

bobs bake shop_paris_sandwich menu

I was tempted by the Kalamata olive, feta, and grilled vegetable filling (7 Euros), because feta is the best thing ever!!!, but instead chose a classic smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel (8 Euros) from the list of delicious lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarian choices. I equally asked for a fresh mint infused lemonade (3,50 Euros) and a matcha and chocolate chunk cookie (2 Euros) from the pile that were strategically placed on a plate along the counter by the till (it is not possible to resist taking one). Then I sat down by the window at a little table whose color matched my mint lemonade and waited for my bagel to be brought over.

bobs bake shop_paris_interior

From my cozy corner I looked around as soft folk/pop songs like Angus and Julia Stone “Big Jet Plane” played over the noises of milk frothing and ceramic cups clinking from behind the counter. They have an impressive list of other lunch choices available such as salads, soups, tartines, fresh fruit juices and even chia pudding! I glanced outside at the rain and imagined how nice it will be in summer to come here and eat in the sun on one of their large wooden picnic tables. My random musings were interrupted by the arrival of my sesame seed bagel. I took a bite and Wow! It was seriously delicious and filled with a generous amount of cream cheese, smoked salmon, sliced tomatoes and pickled red onions. I hadn’t had a bagel sandwich like this in a long time and tried to eat it as elegantly as possible, but I ended up with cream cheese all over my cheeks and fingers (hopefully no one was watching me eat, as I’m sure it must have looked like something similar to the porridge scene in Beauty and the Beast)!

bobs bake shop_paris_bagel

After sipping some refreshing lemonade I moved on to the green colored cookie and was very surprised by how light and crumbly it was, with large chunks of chocolate throughout and a mild taste of matcha. I was pretty full at this point but considered ordering a slice of pecan pie (4 Euros) before leaving. I hesitated for a moment and finally decided I would save that delight for next time…because I’ll definitely be coming back!

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With a great selection of high quality North American baked goods, I definitely recommend Bob’s Bake Shop. It is bound to please health freaks, or people like me who once in a while feel bad about all of the baguette and fromage they constantly eat and want something a little more wholesome/less fattening! So make your way up to Marx Dormoy métro station in the 18th arrondissement and check out this bake shop as well as Halle Pajol, which has really rejuvenated this often overlooked neighborhood. I think I will be dropping by fairly often for my bagel fix from now on!

bobs bake shop_paris_exterior2

Restaurant Details:

12 esplanade Nathalie Sarraute, 75018 Paris

+33 (0)9 84 46 25 26

http://www.bobsjuicebar.com/bake-shop.html

My Rating:

5 irresistible cookies out of 5!

FYI: For info on Marc Grossman’s two other health food establishments in Paris, Bob’s Juice Bar or Bob’s Kitchen, please see: http://www.bobsjuicebar.com