It almost seems inconceivable that Parisian kitchens would ever deign to acknowledge a food fad, much less one that’s based on allergies, and yet, Noglu is the exception that proves the rule. The self-styled gourmet gluten-free ‘boutique restaurant chain’ has just opened its third outlet in Paris’ seventh arrondissement, provocatively in a neighbourhood bristling with purveyors of cheeses, breads and full-creamed pastries.
The prolific Mathieu Lehanneur temporarily put aside his hat as Huawei’s chief designer to work on the small 26-cover café, restaurant and patisserie, carving out a jewelled grotto of undulating apertures and dreamy nooks. A stone wall, he says, ‘references the fact that we came from caves and that we’re never that far away from them when it comes to questioning our origins and what we’ve become. We’re primitive beings that have been civilised.’
Lehanneur, himself a gluten-free advocate, swathes surfaces with marble and quartz, setting terrazzo-topped tables against a background of powder pink and striated white walls, silvery stools, and pale-grey velvet cushions. And just in case anyone missed the memo, Lehanneur has decorated the walls with handwritten messages: ‘Keep the gluten away’ and ‘Please don't glu’.
All of which is mere background for the kitchen’s tasty treats of imaginative pastries alongside a savoury menu that includes vegan burgers and vegetarian lasagnas.