All visitors, ourselves included, have a few major things on their must-do list when traveling to Paris: see the sights, take some Midnight in Paris-esque romantic strolls, soak in the general ambiance of this great City of Light, and of course, of course, try all that glorious food. The baguette, the pastries, the cheeses, the unbelievable chocolate- I could (and have) go on forever. My speeches regarding Parisian cuisine are akin to, “How do I love thee, let me count the ways.” But, there comes a time (about three months in), when you don’t want another delicious crusty tradition and the thought of poulet fermier leaves you uninspired. What you want, what you really, really want, is something that, for some reason, they struggle with here in la belle France. You want spice. Something hot and full of flavor- Mexican, Indian, Chinese- it doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s going to set my mouth on fire, yeah?
I can eat bread and butter three meals a day, every day for weeks on end if you asked me to, and even if you didn’t. I’ve been known to get on kicks when all I’ll tolerate is a carbfest even the Frenchest of Frenchies would shy away from.
And I know, I know. Borderline complaining about a life filled with the Holy Grail of food? Bread, pastries, cheese- le trifecta, if you will? Ce n’est pas possible. Craving chinese food in Paris? It’s akin to needing McDonald’s in Italy or McDonald’s anywhere, really.
But sometimes, nothing else will do, and that sometime had come. I scoured the internet for anything even remotely resembling my beloved India Palace from back home but my search came up vide. If you’ve been following along, you know our little neighborhood is chock full of wonderful restaurants and take-aways that run the gauntlet of Middle Eastern cuisine, and with it was my hope that tucked in a corner somewhere was chicken tikka masala heaven.
Cue Pooja. At first glance it might seem like just another one of the many Indian eateries found in Passage Brady, but it’s so far from it. (Trust me, I’ve tried some of the others and then stopped because there’s just no reason. Why fight it once you’ve found it?) Unassuming and delightful, Pooja serves up great Indian food with friendly service, and yes, miracle of miracles, spice.
Interestingly, each portion of the meal is ordered separately. Chicken tikka is one thing, rice is optional and additional and if you want naan (which you do, it’s only one piece and a bit expensive at that, but man is it good), that’s extra too. Your best bet would be to head over for lunch to take advantage of one of the set menus offered. Bonus points for the throwback lunch tray that it’s served in.
When you’re finished, a digestive stroll through “Little India” as this passage is affectionately named, is just the thing. And don’t worry, Juhlès is right around the corner if you’re having baguette withdrawal.
Pooja. 10th arrondissement.