Even though coming from Paris, Alexis Memmi and Alexandre David, Mabrouk founders, met in the Tunisian village of Sousse where their grand mothers are neighbors. Both deeply attached to their roots and more than nostalgic about their grandmothers’ cooking, it’s very naturally that they’ve decided to open Mabrouk, this spruce embassy of Tunisian street-food with a Jewish-Arabic sauce.
As for the décor, Pierre-Alexis Guinet, creative director of the house didn’t fall in the cliché of the folkloric and excessively caricatural cliché. On the contrary, the south-facing terrace and the restaurant shelters have been painted with a lovely blue reminding us of Sidi Bou Saïd, a small Tunisian village also named “the small white and blue heaven”.
Also well-seen, the “zellige” light green tiled bar topped by zinc, the large sheared fabric bench seats, the Oriental hangings and the ceramic or terracotta pots filled with fresh mint and put here and there, on the folding tables that are ridiculously vintage (and wobbly!).
All the codes of the Tunisian cafés have been respected and you don’t have to stay long at Mabrouk to feel like carried to the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. To make sure dishes are as exotic, the masters of the place have hired French-Israeli chef Daniel Renaudie that we discovered with the opening of the Else restaurant, and who trained in Jerusalem with famous Israeli chef Rafi Cohen before running the kitchen of Michelin starred restaurant “La Rive” in Amsterdam.
Good draw with the tuna and egg ‘bricks’ (€8), the poached egg méchouia (€8) or the handmade and grilled merguez (€8) to enjoy, Kemia style over a fresh glass of anisette. Same luck with the main courses with the pkaïla (€20) this traditional beef and spinach stew that is often prepared for celebrations.
Not bad either, the fish couscous with a perfectly cooked fillet but the couscous was sadly drowned in broth (but we’ve been told this if how it was eaten in Tunisia, so… alright!).
And of course, we can’t finish our meal without ordering a “bambalouni” these fried donuts – true icons of the Tunisian street-food – that are here served with a delicate orange marmalade. The house also serves a delicious brunch on Sundays (€35) with a kemia shaped like a buffet, a warm dish to order to the staff who is absolutely charming.
64 Rue Réaumur
75003 Paris 3
M° Arts et Métiers
Brunch (le dimanche): €35
Carte (env.): €35