Monday, 24 September 2012

The Bottle Shop

Sometimes I miss Britain. Or, to be more precise, I miss British food. When it comes to eating out for the homesick, one of the best spots is The Bottle Shop.

This bar-cum-food-place is part of a small chain of venues with an Anglophone feel. The Bottle Shop does a great brunch on Sundays, the star of which for me is definitely beans on toast (ask for the toast not to be buttered). The roast potatoes aren't too shabby, and there's a great collection of sauces including good old HP and plenty of different hot sauces. Oh, and brunch features a cheap and delicious bloody Mary (ask for it without Worcestershire sauce).

The Bottle Shop vegan tartine

The lunch menu is more limited for vegans, but the staff are friendly and the kitchen is usually happy to make alterations, as in the modified tartine above.

The clientèle is a mix of UK and US expats, along with a fair few locals, each more hipster than the next. Great for a game of ironic moustache bingo. Oh, and if you like star spotting, look out for Lou Doillon.

The Bottle Shop
5 Rue Trousseau, 75011 (map)
Métro: Ledru-Rollin (line 8)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Apéritif croissants

These savoury mini-croissants are great for impressing an omnivorous crowd at a party or apéro. They look and taste like significantly more work than they actually are.

Most organic shops sell vegan puff pastry. The cheapest supermarket brands are sometimes vegan too, albeit pretty unhealthy. Or you could try to make your own if you roll that way.

To make 24 croissants:

2 sheets vegan puff pastry
24 sun-dried tomatoes in oil (about half a jar)
Vegan pesto
Sesame or poppy seeds for the pretty

1. Unroll your pastry and slice into 12 like a pizza. Try to make slices of a fairly similar size:

2. Spoon a small amount of pesto (about 1/2 a teaspoon) onto the fat end of one slice. Top with a tomato:

3. Grab the edge and roll up, moving towards the centre of your pastry pizza. It doesn't matter if your croissant looks a bit wonky - the baking process evens things out. Repeat with all your other 'slices'. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, whatever you feel like. Or just don't.

4. Bake at 180°C for 16 minutes. Your end result will look something like this:

These taste great with other fillings too: tempeh bacon crumbles, mushrooms fried up with garlic, roasted red pepper pieces and capers, etc.

More vegan apéro ideas here.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Tien Hiang

Tien Hiang is far and away my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Paris. The vast menu spans most of East Asia, from nems to pho, via sweet and sour pork and green papaya salad. No eggs are used at Tien Hiang, but one claypot dish contains cheese, and the 'ham' isn't vegan either. Aside from that, pretty much everything is vegan.

The restaurant has recently moved from its hole-in-the-wall-style spot on the Rue du Chemin Vert, and is now located near the trendy Canal St Martin, in the 10th.

Some of the following photos were taken with a phone, so apologies for the mixed quality.

Nems ready to be rolled up with mint leaves inside a lettuce wrapper and dipped in sauce.

Succulent fried shiitakes with crazy good bbq-style dipping sauce.

Thai salad - contains 'ham'.

Lemongrass 'chicken'.

Satay noodle soup with 'beef'.

Claypot with tofu balls.

I've never been disappointed by anything on the Tien Hiang menu. Particular favourites include the Claypot 'beef' with black pepper; the magical fried mushrooms; the 'beef' lok lak; and the lemongrass 'chicken'.

The new location is not only bigger and brighter than the old one, but also in a great spot that lets the take-away option come into its own. If the weather is nice, you can take your food down to the Canal St Martin and eat in the sunshine while watching the bobos go by.

Tien Hiang
14 Rue Bichat (map)
Tel: 01 42 00 08 23
Métro: Goncourt (line 11) or République (lines 3, 5, 8, 9, 11)
Closed Tuesdays.