Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cap 99 - Afro-Caribbean food in the Quartier Mouffetard

Sunday was a picture perfect day in Paris and Tom and I decided to cap off a photography session on Pont Alexandre III and the Tuileries Garden with dinner at a neighborhood restaurant that we've walked by many times - Cap 99 on rue du Pot de Fer in the 5th arrondissement. The restaurant is less than half a block from rue Mouffetard, our favorite market street.

Cap 99 Façade
© Discover Paris!

Eric is the proprietor of Cap 99. He is from Benin and is quite the convivial host. When he saw that we wanted to take photos of the dining room, he pulled out a drum and posed for us!

Cap 99 dining room
© Discover Paris!

Eric poses for us
© Discover Paris!

The cuisine at Cap 99 is primarily West African. Traditional dishes such as Ndole, Yassa, and Mafé are accompanied by missolé (plantains) and Cameroonian beers are listed on the beverage menu. The French Caribbean gets a nod with Accras and Colombo...

Eric makes fabulous jus de gingembre (ginger juice) that he "spiked" with morsels of dried ginger for me. (I thought the juice was potent until I tasted these little nuggets!) He sold his last Cameroonian Guinness before we arrived so he offered Tom a Mützig (another beer brewed in Cameroon - made with barley, corn, and hops) that was three times the volume of the Guinness - for the same price. So we were set for beverages for this amazing meal.

We were so hungry after our photo shoot that we forgot our cardinal rule - never order three courses at an African restaurant because the portions are so large that you either overeat or can't finish your meal. I ordered Samoussa de chasseur followed by Yassa poulet for the main course and Blanc manger coco for dessert. Tom ordered Accras de morue followed by braised tilapia for the main course and Mont Mandara (named after a Cameroonian mountain range) for dessert. And sure enough, we left feeling stuffed because we tried to eat everything that Eric set before us!

The samoussas, three triangles of brick pastry stuffed with minced beef, green peas, diced potatoes, and minced carrot, were large enough to have served as my main dish. Piping hot, they were accompanied by a tomato-based sauce flavored with dried shrimp and ginger. They were absolutely scrumptious!

Samoussa de chasseur
© Discover Paris!

The yassa was prepared with loads of onion and pitted green olives. A large mound of white rice and five generous slices of caramelized plantain were served alongside a large chicken leg and back. I couldn't even fathom eating the rice!

Tom loved his accras and he eagerly sampled one of my samoussas as well. When his tilapia arrived, he was overwhelmed! An entire fish - plus rice and missolé - covered his plate, which was larger than mine. He devoured it with gusto.

© Discover Paris!

Eric saw that he finished his plantains and offered another serving of them, which Tom accepted. He made a valiant attempt to finish his rice with the spicy onion condiment served with the tilapia, but he could only manage to eat half of it. He wanted to save room for dessert, as did I.

My Blanc manger coco was a coconut pudding made with condensed milk, coconut milk, coconut flakes, and a coconut wafer on top. Tom's dessert was a portion of warm chocolate cake with a molten chocolate center sitting in crème anglaise and topped with coconut ice cream.
Mont Mandara
© Discover Paris!

After finishing this course, we both pushed away from the table feeling that we needed an after-dinner nap!

Cap 99
5, rue du Pot de Fer
75005 Paris
Metro: Place Monge (Line 7)

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