Neighborhood : Chartrons Transport : Tram B, stop : Chartrons
So I passed by this partially hidden doorway about a month ago and thought : that’s intriguing. The name of the restaurant translates to The Scarf – see what I mean? The entryway and hence the name of the restaurant are partially covered by ivy and when I finally did walk in several weeks later, I realized I had found myself in a locale that in my ignorance I only know to call a kind of Bedouin tent transposed into a solid structure. Carpets and mosaics adorn the walls, colorful and shimmering and warm and yet…full of mystery.
Veggie option : Vegetarian couscous (around 14 euros) – and what a couscous it is! – with big chunks of carrot, potatoes, a few tubers and chickpeas in a savory broth (which my tastebuds confirmed for me was vegetarian, though it’s worth double-checking before you go) and a generous bowl of couscous to go with. The harissa, my friends, was just enough fire in the belly with a solid flavorfulness (garlic and onion?) I have never known before in a sauce of this kind.
The dessert : LEGIT. Baklava and other pistachio and almond paste-based pastries (around 3 euros) are presented on a dessert table. In mounds. Opulence is the word here. Your host (and perhaps the owner?) will invite you to go up and choose the ones you like.
- If you plan to go on a weekend (Friday or Saturday), you should definitely reserve to be sure to have a table when you arrive, the place is small and popular. If not, plan to go either right when they open or after the dinner rush which ends around 10pm.
- A bit pricey for a veg couscous.
- You feel like you’re being served in someone’s home, and that’s a good thing.
- Best veg couscous I’ve had in a looooong time. And I am a couscous person, so trust me on this one.
- Only one option végétarienne. BUT if you’re feeling in the negotiating mood, I’d be willing to guess that they could make a plate of Chectouka, a kind of middle eastern scrambled eggs with tomatoes and spices without the meat or as a side (?). My friend ordered this and I can say the few bites I had of it were mighty tasty.
- Dessert price is spot on.
- VEGAN friendly (to be verified)…BOOM.
In short : In Post-colonial France, couscous has been propped right up there with foie gras and the baguette as part of the French culinary tradition — isn’t it time we could get a veg couscous that is not just the lamb couscous without the lamb? Check this place for it.