Wed 10 Aug 2011
Assiette de legumes (salad sampler).
46, rue des Martyrs, in the 9th Arrondissement.
01 42 82 12 80. Tues–Sun, 9 a.m.–4p.m.
30, rue Debelleyme, in the 3rd.
01 49 96 54 01. Tues–Sun, 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
This adored Paris tea salon, bakery and organic canteen put rue des Martyrs on the food lover’s map when it opened in 2002. South Pigalle was conquered by carrot cake and crumbles baked by (gasp!) an Englishwoman.
There’s a location in the 3rd Arrondissement, too, which is where I met a friend for lunch recently. We got there in the nick of time; the place fills up quickly at midday. A faceted glass facade fronts the old Marais building. The space is long and narrow, with a counter and kitchen along the left and seating on the right, with more in the back. Rose is also a retailer, selling organic produce, teas and chocolates, plus cheddar from Neal’s Yard Dairy. The clientele skews young, female and fashionable, with plenty of svelte moms with their well-dressed kids in tow. It’s a skinny jeans scene, an epicenter of Paris bobo (bohemian bourgeois) tastes.
Sesame tofu salad.
There are salads, a few hot options and savory tarts, all colorful and fresh. To drink, there’s a lengthy tea list, organic sodas and even a few wines, but I chose a freshly made juice of apple, carrot and ginger, the kind of thing that instantly makes you feel good. We ordered an “assiette de legumes,” which was really a sampler of different salads: grated carrot, tomato and mozzarella, cucumber with black sesame. I had the sesame-marinated tofu, thick blocks napped by a rich, satisfying dressing atop asparagus, tomato wedges, avocado and Bibb lettuce. Though it was generous and refreshing, I winced a little bit at the 16 euro price tag. Add that 6.50 euro juice and a dessert, and this light lunch starts feeling rather hefty, particularly since a Rose alum, Kaori Endo, is doing similar and, I think, more careful food nearby at Nanashi for lower prices.
As for the desserts, they are homey—a far cry from the fussy pastries at more traditional Paris tea salons. Dense teacakes, seasonal crumbles, a proper brownie: this is a fine place for afternoon tea. The recipes, by the way, have been canonized in a massive tome published by Phaidon about five years ago, so you can try to duplicate Rose’s famous carrot cake at home if you’d like.
In a nutshell: With fresh, organic savories, charming sweets and plenty of attitude, Rose Bakery is the quintessential bobo canteen.
Price check: Lunch dishes are around 15 euros. Desserts, 7 euros (less if taken to go).
If Rose Bakery sounds good, you’ll also like Nanashi. Read the review.
57, rue Charlot, in the 3rd. 09 60 00 25 59.
Tues, Wed and Sun, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thurs–Sat, 11 a.m.–midnight.
31, rue de Paradis, in the 10th.
01 40 22 05 55. Mon–Wed, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thurs–Fri, 9 a.m.–midnight; Sat, noon–midnight.
Neal’s Yard Dairy