Tatiana and Katia Levha, owners of the much-loved Le Servan bistrot, are at it again with their new pan-Asian restaurant Double Dragon. This second venture, with its domino-tiled bar, tropical themed staff uniforms, kitsch formica tables, and a Fresh Prince of Bel Air sound track, is a fun departure from their more classic first restaurant. And if this all didn’t give it away, the restaurant’s eponymous nod to the classic arcade game Double Dragon, is a sure confirmation that these two ambitious women were indeed children of the 90s.
There is very little kitsch or nostalgia in their modern and inventive menu however (perhaps except for the fried crispy chicken with tamarind sauce), which takes inspiration from a range of Asian culinary traditions, some infused with a French twist – like the deep fried tofu stuffed with comté cheese and XO sauce (a spicy shrimp-based sauce from Hong Kong) or the Tom Yam soup with foie gras. Other offerings include small sharing plates like refreshing pickled lemongrass-infused cucumbers, and a satisfying (but small) bowl of pork and crab dumplings in a spicy bouillon (the menu indicates spice levels with a chili symbol, presumably to benefit a French audience who generally have a low tolerance for spicy food. Our broth, although flavorful, had just a mild hint of chili). The cold rice noodle salad with prawns, a zesty fish sauce and lemon dressing and peanut garnish, was refreshing but expensive for what it was. A favorite was the barbequed corn lathered in a thick coat of of beurre piment (chili butter, again not so spicy!) and crushed peanuts (extra napkins recommended!).
We loved everything we tried here, but were left wondering whether they could be more bold with some of their flavorings: the comté in the stuffed tofu was just a little too timid to be a revelation (if anything it just made me nostalgic for Adeline’s Grattard’s blue cheese and cherry stuffed bao at Yam’tcha), the corn lacked the deep smoky notes you might expect from grilled vegetables, and the eggplant, that although sautéed to a buttery softness, did not deliver the promised hit of green pepper.
The service is helpful and friendly and fluently bilingual it seems. They don’t take reservations and tables fill up quickly for both lunch and dinner service, so be early or late if you want to grab a table or avoid long queues. Most dishes are best shared, so plan to go in a group of 4 or more if you can. The staff recommends 2 to 3 dishes per person.
Double Dragon | 52 Rue Saint-Maur | Paris 11 | +33 1 71 32 41 95 | Métro: Rue Saint-Maur or Saint-Ambroise | Open Wednesday dinner to Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtime | Reservations: Not taken
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