Neni (Paris)

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Previously unknown in France, this small Austrian chain arrived in l’Hexagone by rail at Gare du Nord, chaperoned by the hotel, 25Hours. Haya Molcho and her four sons – Nuriel, Elior, Nadiv and Ilan, whose names form the restaurant’s acronym– mix their Israeli, Romanian and Spanish roots into this powder pink Levantine boudoir. On the (somewhat too) low tables, the mezze menu promotes culinary swinging: spellbinding hummus paired with chili-spiced ground lamb and beef (€19); perfectly seasoned chicken shawarma with a garlic cream and fresh herbs (€21); a platter of baba ganoush, falafel and red pepper caviar that you scoop up with plump pita bread (€23); a fusion salad of Korean fried chicken for jetlagged diners (€18.50) before an incredible oriental “Sésame³” dessert with halva, tahini and a muscovado sugar ice cream (€9). And to drink? Beverages from French (Sancerre from Vacheron, €47 a bottle) and Middle Eastern soils (a Lebanese red from the Château Kefraya, €8 a glass) and drinks of the moment – cocktails made with Arak, lemon and fresh mint (€10). Mezze €7.50-12.50, dishes €15-32, desserts €8.50-10. // J.G.

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