Bar à Momos, the first Tibetan Ravioli Bar in Paris
Despite appearances, I did not plan to tell you about the opening of my friend Maurice’s bar in Marseille, but rather about the opening of a Tibetan restaurant freshly established in the 12th district of Paris. For the uninitiated, the momos are raviolis originating from Tibet which, in the manner of the jiaozi of the Han Chinese, are available in an infinite number of ways, stuffed with meat or vegetables, steamed or pan-fried. After the bars with jiaozi, gyoza and others mandoo, the Momos bar intends to impose the Tibetan variation in the capital by relying on traditional recipes and a realization entirely made by hand and at the sight of the customers.
The 218 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine was already home to a deserving Tibetan canteen, the Power Tsang, but the story has obviously turned out to be short. The former owner recently sold the place to a compatriot who decided to revise the space and the concept. For only two months, the Momos Bar presents a soberly decorated room over which the figure of the current Dalai Lama watches over. The strong point of this new space is the opening on the kitchens.
Two seasoned chefs are busy with serenity and transparency. They knead the dough, calibrate the stuffing, shape the momos and play the steamer. Everything is home-made and made to order. A feat made possible by a limited number of covers, about 20. Of course, the name Bar à Momos This would have been a counter like a Mandoobar or a Gyoza Bar, but it’s not so.
Damage. As far as the service is concerned, the boss ensures the blow with shyness, relaxation and efficiency. However, alone, it could quickly struggle if it ends up being sold out.
It is in fact all the misfortune that I wish him so much his restaurant has what to attract the gourmets looking for a new affordable and quality canteen.
In the same vein as more and more Chinese restaurants in Paris, the The menu of the Bar à Momos is contained and targeted. Momos are of course the star of the show with the unavoidable Sha Momos (Steamed Momos). Unfortunately no yak meat stuffing on the horizon but some Beef or the Pork with green vegetables. The 8 Momos are reasonably priced at 8 €. Vegetarians are also satisfied with Tsé Momos (8 €) always steamed and made from of spinach, cabbage, cheese and onions.
We then move on to a list of Soups each time with meat or vegetables. We find the very common Tibetan soup Then Thuk with fresh pasta (8 €). Another style with the soup Thukpa (8 €) where the pasta is this time all in length. The good deal is the Momo formula at 12 € including momos + soup + salad.
With a little tea, it would have been perfect. In all, there are just 15 hearty preparations that are more than enough to organize a meal tasty Tibetan orgy without taking off for Lhasa.
The Meal :
The owner prepares behind his bar two very original concoctions. Son Tibetan milk tea (2.50 €) is successful but is reserved for amateurs. On the other hand, its mysterious Home made tea (3 €) will delight the general public.
I discover, among others, the semi-fermented tea, goji berries, some flowers, candy sugar, a dried jujube and a dried longan (it seems to me). The mixture is fragrant, almost intoxicating. Only the sugar is too present but it remains a matter of preference. I strongly advise you to order it !
As an accompaniment, the Bar à Momos serves a Home made Tibetan bread (2.50 €). Rolled up on itself, the bread dough takes the shape of a pyramid and contains a subtle garlic-based seasoning. A particularly satisfying local staple !
This little Corn and Coriander Soup (3 €) is served as part of the formula. At first sight, it looks like many Chinese soups that I am used to drink where the beaten egg white cooks slowly in the broth. Only, I found it very interesting thanks to the profusion of crunchy vegetables that it contains. The bell pepper and corn add texture to this slimy soup style that is not always appreciated by our compatriots.
Although I liked it a lot, next time I’ll try the enigmatic Coral lentil soup (3 €).
We change of size with this monumental Then Thuk soup with meat and vegetables (8 €) which would sink the stomach of the most cheerful of Sherpas. The broth is great with its vegetable notes and a few drops of chili oil. Although the meat would have deserved a better treatment during cooking, I plunge my spoon without the slightest hesitation into the last of these delicious irregular and melting pastas.
My Momos tasting starts with two baskets of Sha Momos with beef (8 €). They take a classic shape similar to the ravioli of northern China. The folding is neat but keeps the charm of the homemade. The paste is thick and brings chewiness.
The stuffing is fragrant but not very generous and a little compact. This is unfortunately the problem with steaming ground beef. Also, I recommend you more those with pork.
I finish my steam baskets rather seduced but not yet conquered because these momos would deserve some adjustments.
It was without counting on the Tsé Momos (8 €) ! In my opinion, these are the The most remarkable Momos of this restaurant. The folding is similar to that of a Xiao Long Bao. The dough is much thinner and literally melts in the mouth. This melting sensation is accentuated by a stuffing made with a lot of delicacy and containing a little cheese (“French” I am told).
These Momos are named after the fact that they are served with a special chilli sauce almost a condiment obviously made with garlic and that can be lightened with soy sauce and vinegar. Unfortunately, the owner did not want to tell me more about the precise composition of the. Still, the association is quite unusual and the pleasure in the mouth is multiplied.
Not very excited, I still order one of the two desserts from the menu. Arrives to me this Bo Kyi Tsampa (3 €) with a neat but somewhat offbeat presentation. I start the tasting with few explanations on the composition of these curious dumplings. How to tell you.
I had the impression to eat an uncooked cookie dough. You can smell the flour and there is necessarily a fat that is not butter. Even if they are very filling, coupled with the fresh yogurt, it goes very well and I found this dessert surprisingly pleasant ! For your information, these dumplings are made of barley flour, wheat flour, lard, of sugar and Yak milk cheese (or rather dri, the female yak) directly imported from Tibet ! Honestly, I didn’t feel it.
It’s very subtle and the owner specifies that he only uses a little because the food is precious.
Should we go there? ? Yes, because I definitely ate very well there. The dishes are traditional and existed, for the most part, already elsewhere in Paris. Only the quality of their realization is remarkable.
I’ll even go so far as to give it a “coup de coeur” to salute the effort of transparency and homemade food.
With whom ? I go there alone for quick lunches. You should come here with friends for a relaxed meal at a lower cost.
Go back to it ? No problem. I still have a few dishes to taste.
The clientele ? The restaurant seems to be a meeting point of the Tibetan diaspora in Paris. However, many young people from the neighborhood come here for a lunch break or after a sports session.
It’s expensive ? A 12 € formula can be largely sufficient. Even the big eaters will not be able to exceed a bill around 20 €.