The number of vegetarian and vegan-friendly places is on the rise in Paris, which is an accomplishment for a country that prides itself on its enduring love for all things rich, creamy and meaty (I’m thinking specifically of chicken cordon bleu here with a cheese platter to finish). The call for meat/dairy/gluten-free products and places is growing at such a rate that several chefs and restauranteurs are going against the grain to open establishments en masse that meet the demands of the organic, vegan and other Intolerant-subsets that reside – or come to fritter away their time and money – in gay Paree.
Wanting something light and relatively fast one afternoon as I vintage shopped in the Marais, I stumbled across Bob’s Kitchen on rue des Gravilliers. A small vegetarian cantine-deli, Bob’s Kitchen serves up appetizing soups, salads, sandwiches, grilled vegetables, smoothies and fresh fruit/green juices alongside fabulous looking homemade cookies, maki handrolls (with mango…mmmmm) and morning goodies like gluten free pancakes and proper NYC-style bagels.
Owned by an American-French duo, the kitchen opened a couple years ago following the success of Bob’s Juice Bar on rue Lucien Sampaix, and has become a favourite amongst those “in the know.” I sauntered in around mid-afternoon to a deli bustling with clientele and slid onto a wooden stool next to the galley. I scanned the handwritten menu and began to salivate.
It was almost instantaneous.
I watched as the orders came out and marvelled at the heaping bowls of salad and the sandwiches that fought to contain their insides. Since I like to mix things up I went with the lentil soup and threw in a green smoothie for good measure. What? My hope was that the soup would nourish while the smoothie would provide the pick-me-up I needed to carry me through to dinner later that evening.
To cut to the chase, I chose well. The lentil soup was stew-like in its consistency, which I welcomed on that grey and dismal Parisian day. Seasoned with chives and a smattering of herbs, it tasted like something that could have come from my mother’s kitchen: filling, comforting and wholesome. The smoothie a green juice in fact, with cucumber, celery, parsley, lemon, ginger and apple…and it was fantastic. The type of drink perfect for a day on the run and need your 5 a day in liquid form or if you’re detoxing and don’t have a juicer of your own.
Affordable and inventive, Bob’s Kitchen is a great little place to stop in for a light breakfast or lunch that’s vegan and vegetarian-friendly. It’s a homey establishment with communal seating, an open kitchen and amicable, fun-loving staff who are comfortable conversing in both English and French. Not only do they seem to enjoy their jobs, but they do their damnest to help you make a selection that will quell your appetite, make you feel healthy and keep you coming back for more.