Dear lovers of Asian cuisine, if you’re looking for comforting, authentic food at a reasonable price then Pâtes Vivantes is a great place to start.
On the inside, this restaurant doesn’t stand out as a place oozing with character, but who cares for the character of a room when the food at the tables is so damn good?
From the outside you will see heaps of fresh noodles being made by hand in the window; dough being rolled, whacked and stretched to perfection. Nowadays, everything is so accessible and easy to replicate, so it’s a joy to see traditional food being made by hand with care.
By 8pm, just an hour after opening, there is already a steady queue forming on the street outside Pâtes Vivantes – not quite to the extent of the queues at Bouillon Chartier, but a sign of popularity nonetheless.
Looking at the menu you’ll feel spoilt for choice. If you’ve got an appetite, start off by ordering some of the many sides on offer like the pan fried jiaozi (aka gyozas or potstickers) and why not share a pitcher of wine to loosen up your evening?
As far as mains go, trying the handmade noodles is a MUST. An excellent choice would be one of the noodle soup bowls (I went for the spicy beef); the portions are plentiful which is good news since each mouthful will leave you wanting more. The noodles are succulent and perfectly cooked, topped with a generous helping of spicy beef, vegetables and garnishes. All this is covered in a flavourful and warming soup to be tackled (and subsequently devoured) with a pair of chopsticks and a soup spoon.
Another sure fire choice is a plate of the stir-fried noodles with vegetables and any of pork, chicken, beef, prawns or duck. This is a popular choice and certainly filling. Though I can’t claim to have tried the stir-fry, I will definitely be ordering it when I next visit!
The person who recommended this noodle nirvana to me backed up her findings by saying that her Asian friend said this was the best Asian food they’d had in Europe.
Who am I to say how much Asian food this person has consumed in Europe, or whether or not their subjective judgement has merit? All I know is the food here is very nice, inexpensive, and you should visit. So, there you go.