Paris is an expensive city to live in, and it is most apparent to us whenever we eat out during our travels to the other parts of the country and find ourselves with a bill 20-30% or even lower than what we normally pay in the capital. These days, 35e is a good deal for a 3 course meal in a decent restaurant. No wonder the average Parisian, contrary to common tourist perceptions, do not eat particularly well during the week and often subsist on baguettes or worse, cheap frozen meals. Thus the dining deals courtesy of lafourchette.com are welcome news for many including us.
La Fourchette is a website where one can make lunch or dinner reservations online at thousands of restaurants in Paris and other French cities. It is a highly practical service, especially on those days where one needs to make a last minute reservation or has no clue where to eat. Certain restaurants, cheap and expensive alike, also offer promotions and reductions to drum up business. Krishna Bhavan, a vegetarian Indian restaurant that opened up earlier this year in our neighborhood is one such restaurant offering 40% off the bill during dinner hours. Naturally we were a little skeptical since popular restaurants would not need to resort for heavily discounting their menus, but the sizeable crowds during lunch (when the restaurant does not offer the promotion) convinced us that the restaurant was a decent one that merely needed to boost dinner numbers after the office workers who make up the lunch business leaves the area.
Krishna Bhavan is a small chain of Indian restaurants in Paris and its La Chapelle (Paris’ little India) branches are quite well regarded amongst Parisian diners. P was initially worried about not finding much to his liking on the all-vegetarian carte, but with crowd-pleasers such as crispy samosas (filled with potato and some gluten products), biryanis and mango lassis on the menu, the food is accessible to Indian food novices and meat lovers.
For entrées, we ordered the aforementioned samosas, freshly fried and lightly spiced, as well as eggplant beignets called Bajji that we found somewhat laden and bland. The raita and chutney accompanying the entrées, though a little sweet and not as spicy as I would’ve liked were rather refreshing.
Carb lovers might find it difficult to make a decision between steamed idlis or oven baked chappattis or griddle-fried dosas. I chose the latter, and thoroughly enjoyed my cauliflower dosa, the thin, crisp rice-based crepe tinged with a slight sour flavor and the fragrance of Indian herbs. A generous portion of potato and cauliflower made it an extremely filling plat.
P’s thali, a steel tray with several indentations each containing something different (rice, curries, vegetables, dal, even a sweet sago dessert) was a smorgasbord of food, ideal for the adventurous. On this tray, one could taste spicy, salty, sweet, sour, creamy flavors in the same seating. Furthermore, each dish tasted different from the others much to my pleasant surprise, after having visited Indian restaurants where one dish tastes alike to the next. Neither did the dishes taste stale or reheated, another common complaint in Asian restaurants. Again, the spice levels have been dialed down to cater to local tastebuds, but the dishes were nevertheless properly seasoned and aromatic.
The restaurant is not an expensive one to begin with, but with the 40% reduction, our bill for 2 entrées and 2 plats came up to slightly under 20 euros, which is less than a simple salad or a hamburger in the random cafés that line our neighborhood. Definitely a positive first outing at Krishna Bhavan and on lafourchette.
Krishna Bhavan: 46 Boulevard Garibaldi, 75015, Paris