My recent trip to Paris contained a few highlights, including a man eating my crème de marron-filled crêpe then proceeded to ask me out on a date in the middle of the street, and witnessing a cheese platter to rival every other plateau du fromage in existence.
Arriving late and tired on Saturday evening left my friend Fabia and I ravenous; the Pret and M&S goodies we joyfully ate on the Eurostar had been digested, and we were longing for some red wine and a delightful French feast. After a gander at a recommended seafood restaurant, the packed bar, and unappealing prices led us to roam the Parisian streets, hungry and impatient. In our hangry states, we stumbled upon a fresh-looking and welcoming French-Japanese fare: Nanashi.
The clean interior of the restaurant was proudly presented behind large glass windows, overlooking one of the narrow, cobbled streets of rue Charlot. We were welcomed with crates of fruit and vegetables and fresh baguettes and boules adorning the bar area. A selection of symmetrical cakes line their bakery stand, boasting some classic Japanese flavours such as matcha cheesecake, as well as all-round favourites, including carrot cake. A large chalkboard above the bar explains what is expected in one of their bento boxes, along with flavours of fresh juices they make.
If you are unfamiliar with this Japanese concept, a bento box is essentially a packed-lunch containing rice, vegetables and fish or meat. The brains behind Nanashi used this idea, to create a French-Japanese fusion, serving familiar, Western ingredients in ways we might not be familiar with. Their signature bento du jour boxes are either meat, fish or vegetable-based dishes on a bed of mixed grains. On our visit, the grains, or cereales, on offer were black rice and puy lentils. A side containing a leafy, green salad and their two chosen salads of the day accompany the dish.
The meat-based bento was beef last Saturday, which was succulent and smothered in a lovely, creamy, pepper-y sauce.
The fish was lieu noir or coley and was cooked to absolute perfection – it was flaky and juicy. Accompanied by a minimal, yet highly flavourful, salsa from avocado and kumquat, it was honestly a match made in heaven. I did not expect such big flavours from a simple-looking dish!
The salads were also amazing – the carrots were dressed in a beautiful, vinegar concoction and broccoli stems were cooked with potatoes and some fennel and lemon.
As it was our first evening in Paris, we could not resist a glass of wine – from a varied selection – and a piece of their cake. We chose the matcha cheesecake to share; the contrasting white and green colours proved to be rather inviting.
So what about the service? The waiters and waitresses were polite and prompt, smiled as I attempted to order in broken French and ensured that we have enjoyed our dinner and stay.
The menu, quality of food and service was highly impressive in this Parisian bento establishment, promoting clean and healthy-eating, without being pompous or showy about such prestige. The food presentation was minimal yet elegant, allowing the diners to appreciate the freshness and native state of the ingredients used.
As I was on vacation in Paris, I was not too fussed whether I ate too much cheese or bread, however, stumbling upon Nanashi on my first evening was a blessing – it was my first time at a ‘clean-eating’ establishment. Their down-to-Earth nature, as well as the humbleness of the ingredients used to produce dishes with big flavours, will remain unprecedented.
57 rue Charlot, 75003 Paris or 31 rue de Paradis, 75010 Paris