Restaurants Gentle Gourmet

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If vegetarian restaurants are on the rise in Paris, vegan can still be a challenge to track down. It’s a tough sell, especially in France: the savoir-faire and imagination required to produce good cooking without any animal products, including milk and eggs.

This American enterprise does well. The sober black and white room, strung with origami shapes, happily looks more like a business lunch venue than a hippy hang-out. And on the menu, as well as the inevitable veggie burger, there are plenty of French-inspired dishes plus flavours from around the world, like Cajun tofu.

We were intrigued by things like a soup with pumpkin, peppers and mushrooms, and a Moroccan salad with chickpeas, roasted carrots, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, which were both very well executed. In contrast, the tofu burger, with an over-smoked taste and slightly limp texture, was a bit of a let-down, as was the substitute cheese tart. Happily, a delicious bourginon stew with root vegetables saved the day.

Portions are generous enough that you might not need dessert, though they offer vegan versions of all the classics – tarte tatin, crème brûlée, millefeuilles. Give the place time to even out the menu and push the kitchen a bit further, and it could be somewhere really good.

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