La Cantine des Mama’s, worldwide soul food
You often hear that when it comes to restaurants in Paris, everything’s been seen and done. But that wasn’t counting on Dramandra Khassar, who has set up shop in the heart of the Sentier district with an urban cantine featuring a quirky decor and a totally new concept: a tower of Babel with “Mamas” from Africa, India, Tunisia, Iran and around the world who have come to cook up a storm. After a traditional or “fusion” starter, like a Sri Lankan lentil soup (€8) or tempura of exotic blossoms and vegetables (€9), we thoroughly enjoyed Mama Ndeye’s yassa chicken (€14), Mama Dramandra’s shrimp byriani (€19), Mama Fari’s beef and root vegetable maafe (€16), and Mama Rosaria’s “nice and red” Tunisian couscous (€16). The desserts are equally delicious, like the pineapple carpaccio with coriander and Kinkeliba syrup (€6).
And to ensure our taste buds never get bored, the “Mamas” of the house regularly invite guest cooks from around the world to join them on this never-ending culinary journey. Even the beverages follow the theme, with a menu that includes ginger juice, Chinese, Indian or African beer, and natural or organic wines… Groups of 6 or more can opt for a large “Mama’rmite” of couscous, yassa or byriani to share at the long table d’hôtes in the basement opposite the kitchen. The Mamas also give cooking lessons with the option of inviting your friends to join you afterwards to taste the meal you’ve prepared. Generous “thali express” special for two, at €20 per person.