Tucked cutely down a side street near the Place de la Bastille, Café Ginger's bright green exterior and the psychedelic paintings adorning the walls inside give it exactly the cheerful, hippyish atmosphere you’d (shamefully, stereotypically) expect from a vegan café.
It gets instant points for cosiness, friendly waiters and a family-run feel, but the small team can also seem a bit frazzled when too many people come through the door. The dish of the day came with a choice of homemade tart with some interesting filling options: sweet corn and tofu, spinach and potato or pumpkin and mushroom. You can also opt for a gluten-free version. Disappointingly, the tart lacked much depth of flavour and the vegan pastry didn't have the desired rich crumbly exterior. The best bit was in fact what came around the tart on the plate: a beautiful selection of vegan goodies in dinky portions. Our favourites were a delicious herby lentil salad, a flavoursome bean puree and a creamy potato salad.
This is vegan food at its most comforting, with no grand fussing over presentation or fancy flavour pairings. It’s like you’ve popped over to your vegan nan’s for tea – one for vegans to add to the regulars list, but for non-vegans probably not worth crossing town for. The dessert menu offers some imaginative takes on recognisable classics: a carrot cake with touches of cashew nuts and coconut, and the terrine au chocolat lightly spiced with Christmassy notes of cranberry and ginger.
Which leads us to the question: what came first, the ginger or the name? Café Ginger takes its namesake a little too literally, with gingery flavours popping up in both savoury and sweet dishes in the menu. If you don’t like this particular root, you might find that your options are slightly limited. But if you’re vegan and living in Paris, you’re probably used to that.