Posts Tagged ‘japanese’

No Gnashing at Nanashi

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

A few months ago, Tom and I walked past a cafe that caught my eye and stuck in my brain as a “What is this cafe and should I go there?” kind of place. Completely coincidentally, a few days later I was reading a restaurant review on a Paris blog and realised that they were discussing the place we had walked past and its sister cafe in the Marais. The reviews were good. My mind was set – I would try it one day.

Yesterday was that day, as Tom and I met up with our friend Pip for our regular lunch and shopping outing. Nanashi is an organic Japanese fusion restaurant, describing itself as “Le Bento Parisien”. It is definitely a mix of French and Japanese food using the best of both cuisines and focuses on using wholesome, organic ingredients. I have sampled food from other Japanese  restaurants in Paris and all I will say is that it isn’t Japanese. There were cheese sticks involved and you can only buy meat-on-a-stick or sushi. The French are missing out.

Nanashi restaurant

I love restaurants with chalk board menus

The restaurant is modern and simple and the French aspect of the restaurant is easily seen in the grumpy waitstaff taking your orders (when they feel like it.) The menu is limited and you have a choice of three bento boxes – vegetarian, meat or fish. Tom and I both chose the fish bento (a salmon cake) and Pip took the meat (veal.) The first good sign was the delicious sourdough bread they gave us, upholding the necessities of free bread in a French restaurant. Sometimes it is a relief to not be served baguette.

Nanashi bread

Good bread

Our bento boxes arrived and they were amazing – my salmon cake was full of fresh salmon, potatoes and spices and then coated in a crunchy crust. The bentos came with a delicious quinoa and lentil mix, as well as three different types of salad. It was a meal that made you feel alive and full of goodness. I know some people will look at this and think it is toffee-nosed food for health-freaks but it was absolutely scrumptious and filling.

Nanashi Bento

My salmon bento

I had read about the desserts at Nanashi and wanted to try them so was relieved when my fellow lunchers wanted dessert as well. We each chose something different – Pip had a carrot cake, Tom chose the chocolate and ginger fondant, while I took a risk and chose the matcha (green tea) cheesecake. I am so glad I did.

Nanashi cake

Blurry photo but amazing cake

It was soft and rich and the bitterness of the green tea wasn’t overpowering but softened the sweetness of the cake. I don’t normally choose cheesecake as I find them too excessive but I am currently drooling and dreaming about the day I can go back and eat some more. With regularly changing menus I will definitely be revisiting this restaurant. Plus I have to go and try the original Nanashi which is only a few streets away from my apartment!

A Fun Day in Paris

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

On Friday Tom and I met up with our friend, Pip, for an afternoon of lunch and cultural enlightenment. We went to a market in the Marais district called Marche des Enfants Rouges that has stalls selling food from various parts of the world – Moroccan, Italian, French, African. We chose Japanese as none of us had had decent Japanese food since arriving in Paris. We all had the same Bento box with fried chicken. Not bad but it was still a French version of Japanese food. And it wasn’t cheap.

Japanese

Bento Box au poulet

After lunch we decided to hear towards a contemporary art gallery in the Tuilleries but on the way we changed plans when we stumbled across the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature – a bizarre, creepy and hilarious museum about hunting and nature. But mostly about hunting. There were so many stuffed dead animals in that place – I have never seen anything like it. In one section you walked into a tiny room that had the heads and feathers of three owls spread across the ceiling. We spent most of the time with our eyes popping out of our heads and trying to stifle our laughter.

A highlight of the exhibition was a large room filled with hunting weapons and on the walls were the heads of every possible animal you could possibly imagine. One of those heads was a wild boar with a motorised mouth and eyes that growled and I think spoke French to you when you walked in the room. His eyes rolled around in his head at the same time. It was fantastically awful.

Animal heads

You can see the talking pig in the bottom right of this photo

We left the museum feeling somewhat unsure about what we had just seen – it was an interesting insight into the importance of hunting in the past but it was also just plain creepy. We needed a drink. So we went to La Caféotheque so that Tom could have a hot chocolate, Pip a coffee, and I had a cup of tea. The perfect ending to a fun day in Paris.

Cafeotheque

My new favourite place in Paris