Monjul in the Marais

Monjul is a hip restaurant in the Marais with modern, inventive food–which I appreciate as sometimes I want to be surprised rather than rely on the staples most French restaurants offer. At lunch they have three courses for 20.50 euros, and it is a set menu changed daily, so no need to be overwhelmed by too many choices. The space is contemporary but warm with a stone wall on one side and a soothing, gray-beige painted one on the other. There’s a great table with a comfy banquette in the front that has a floor-to-ceiling window.

Paying attention to summer, the first course was a swordfish, watermelon, and cantaloupe carpaccio presented in layers like a mosaic. Visually appealing, it was also appealing to my palate, which was craving a light summer type of salad with fruit. For our plat, it was calamari, swordfish (I guess swordfish was the catch of the day and they wanted to use it in every way), and shrimp over risotto. The trio was nicely cooked with the skin crispy on the outside of the swordfish and the dish was reminiscent of the clean food in New York I used to have that I miss sometimes in France. I didn’t mind having swordfish in both courses because swordfish is not served very often in French restaurants. With the menu being so light, dessert didn’t seem decadent at all, in fact I can justify it was needed.

Well the extravagance of the dessert was merited but luckily it wasn’t a huge portion. It was white chocolate mousse and dark chocolate mousse with a layer of genoise underneath. I loved the tone on tone, minimalist presentation of a white square and an oval of yogurt sorbet with jasmine. It turned out the extravagant dessert was light as a feather and the perfect complement to the meal. The only flaw was the yogurt was a little bland and watery.

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