Ph: +33 (0) 1 40 41 93 95
Saveur Veget'Halles is a little gem that's a short walk from Place Marguerite le Navarre, near the Chatelet tube station and the Les Halles shopping complex in Central Paris. In a city where it's comparatively hard to find veggie options, the restaurant serves vegetarian and vegan food, loosely based around soya and seitan as ingredients.
We visited on a Monday evening, and the restaurant was pretty full. In typical Parisian style, us tourists were offered the lousy table by the door, but when we looked askance, were directed to a quieter nook behind a gauzy curtain. There were only two waiting staff on duty for about 25 guests, but they were fairly efficient , if a bit swamped with orders.
We decided to try one fixed-price menu and an a-la-carte main. For his starter, R had a dish of 'beignets de legumes, sauce chutney' --- fried, battered vegetable slices with a fruit chutney. This dish was a cross between an Indian bhajiya and a Japanese tempura. The batter was flavoursome and the vegetables inside well-cooked. The oil used was certainly of a good quality, as the dish felt light and simple and definitely not greasy. The fruit chutney, with tiny bits of aniseed in it, worked surprisingly well and really lifted the dish to a higher level, despite its simplicity.
For our mains, R had the 'poulet vegetal avec sa sauce echalote' - mock-chicken with rice. Besides the rice, the dish consisted of tiny, seared chunks of soya served with a smattering of salad leaves, a couple of slices of cucumber and tomato, a small bowl of shallot sauce, lightly fried, tiny chunks of turnip and carrot, and a dollop of mashed potatoes. The soya chunks had a nice texture and really worked, as did the shallot sauce with the rice. R thought it was all incredibly filling and quite tasty too.
My main consisted of an 'aubergine basilic au lait de coco et poulet vegetal' - the equivalent of a thai curry with aubergines and soya chunks. This came with brown rice, lightly fried, vegetable chunks, another dollop of mashed potato, and salad. The sauce for the curry was absolutely delicious, but it needed a bit more seasoning for my palate. I couldn't get enough of it and couldn't help stuffing myself even though I was quite full.
Despite our best intentions, we had no room whatsoever for dessert; so I'm going to have to go back to try the puddings. Our bill added up to 37.6 euros. The set menu was about 15 euros for two courses and my main was another fifteen. We also had a soft drink each, of which R's raspberry sparkling drink was fantastically refreshing. I'm not sure I intended to spend 40 euros for dinner for two at this tiny place and in hindsight given the conversion rates, it does seem a bit expensive especially given it's not a particularly fancy place and the service although pleasant wasn't particularly memorable. That said, I didn't feel particularly miffed when I left after paying, as I was really stuffed and the food was of a high standard. Both R and I really enjoyed our dinners. Saveur Veget'Halles is therefore a restaurant I would recommend if you aren't on a very tight budget and if you are looking to have a very hearty, really tasty and properly veggie meal in central Paris.
41, Rue Des Bourdonnais 75001, Paris