Ok I jest, it wasn’t quite La Reunion, but it was a réunnionnais restaurant in the 14th arrondissement and man was it good.
This was an especially wonderful day because Student Finance finally got sorted out! YAAAAAAAAY! When I received in the email I genuinely started crying with happiness, you may laugh, but this has been the bane of my life since I arrived in November and now that it’s sorted, I feel a lot, lot more settled.
We were umming and aahhing about which area to go to on the Friday, and then Loums remembered a réunnionais restaurant in the 14th, near to Montparnasse of which my mother and father-in law had spoken very fondly, when they lived in the area towards the beginning of their marriage. I got in touch and she gave me its name, ‘Aux Petits Chandeliers’ and there we went!
We kind of knew what to expect, as Loums’ mother is from Mauritius which is right next to La Réunion, and we actually went there on the trip of a lifetime last year to visit his family and also to very much profit from its beaches and culture (this was my second time going on holiday outside of Europe since I was 11 and my first not spending the whole time sight-seeing!). Traditional Mauritian food consists of a ‘cari’ which is fish, chicken, or beef, cooked in the most incredible rich, saffron-y sauce, this is served on its own as the main dish. Rice is used mainly as an absorber so very little is served with the meal and then accompaniments surround these two smaller dishes to give you one big meal, for example, these are, pumpkin purée, mint and coconut paste, sun dried olives, tomato and pistachio purée (which is unreal) and a larger lentil dish for if you have any room left.
We were thrilled that the food which we were served was cooked on the exact same principle, but wanting to try something new, I went with a dish called Romazave, which was spinach, tomato, garlic, spiced stew with braised beef, a small helping which was the same size as Loums’ cari, and with it we ordered rougaille pistache and rougailles de mangues (this was refreshingly spicey) and a bowl of rice for us.
This was an absolutely delicious meal, we were so chuffed, it was light yet rich, the ingredients were fresh and the sauces were obviously just prepared, the service was attentive, there was lots of sega music, and the restaurant itself situated in a cool, student-y but also not that busy area which I think anyone would like. I will just say that the main dish was very reasonable, but the accompaniments and drinks were a bit pricier. It was fantastic and I would definitely go back, but I would be a tad resentful of the price of the sumptuous extras.
After our meal, we knew we would have to make a change in Saint Michel from the RER B line to the C line to go back home, so we stopped off at an Irish bar we love, just next to Place Saint-André-des-Arts and I drank my very first Maker’s Mark. It’s always good to mix it up a bit, and even more so when a place comes highly recommended, it was a really great evening, thank you Marie-Ange for the wonderful idea!