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A cute café making healthy(ish) food taste really, really good.
Off the busy rue Etienne Marcel, onto the slightly less busy rue Montmartre, lives Marcelle. A lick of white paint and cottage deco creates a little oasis of calm. Reclaimed-style wood, raffia birdcage lamps, lots of mirrors, heavy cutlery. It's a pretty decor, and one we're seeing more and more around Paris.
On first appearance the place looks tiny but there are two floors more in this beautiful building. You can imagine yourself living there quite nicely amongst the flowers and stripped back furnishings. Order at the counter where the cakes on display to tempt you (we're advised to order these at the same time in case they go) and take a pew. There's a very healthy selection of drinks, including fresh coconut water or almond milk served in a coconut. Iced coffees, smoothies and juices (the 'Marcelle' we ordered was sadly too acidic) - all homemade. There are two set menus (soup / dessert + salad / dish) for €17 and (soup + salad / dish + dessert) a larger at €21. We went à la carte but the menu will save you a small amount, depending on your drink. The menu is concise: 4 salads, 4 mains, 2 sandwiches.
The quinoa risotto with white cabbage, bacon, pecorino cheese, almonds was on the rich side but satisfying. Less sinful - or just about - than the real deal but no less delicious. The salad we tried was the exact opposite but still ridiculously tasty; with green beans (perfectly cooked) cucumber, broccoli, avocado, edamame, almonds and sultanas. A honey-citrus dressing rounded it all out.
If only all healthy food could taste this good.
Slightly less saintly cakes to finish. A rhubarb and strawberry galette which seemed like a French version of a deconstructed crumble - rich in butter but tart from the tang of the rhubarb -, and a sticky, perfumed orange upside down cake.
The vibe is a bit bourgeois and international - normal given the area. It's not a cheap bite out but it is a wholly pleasant one. Step in stressed from city life and you'll leave as refreshed after a weekend on a country farm.
Note: you want to sit outside, you need to specify when you reserve - otherwise you'll be put upstairs. You'll need to book in any case.
22 Rue Montmartre
|Transport:||Metro: Etienne Marcel / Les Halles|
|Price:||Fresh juices €6, breakfast dishes €4, main dishes from €15|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat&Sun 9am-6pm|