“Have you been to Adar?” asked Albert Nahmias, my foodie friend and erstwhile restaurant owner. “The chef is Israeli and called Tamir Nahmias. We could be related,” he added, before we made a plan to lunch there the week after. Adar is located in the 18th-century glass-domed Passage des Panoramas, Paris’s oldest covered walkway, in the 2nd arrondissement. This is somewhere I love to stroll every once in a while, and this eclectic eatery – part canteen, part deli – is a delightful addition. Invitingly designed by Beirut-based architectural studio T Sakhi, co-founded by Lebanese-Polish sisters Tessa and Tara Sakhi, the warm and textural space in wood, brass and granite is centred around a striking mesh chandelier collecting dried spices and vegetables.
We arrive to a queue – people waiting to collect take-away orders, others waiting for tables – but are swiftly seated, spotting chef Nahmias deep in concentration in his tiny open kitchen while Motown plays in the background. A glass of Beaujolais Villages (€6) arrives for Albert, the sparkling Pif-Paf (€7) from the Limoux region (€7) for me, before we tuck into the daily changing menu (€19-€22) that begins with a mezze of tarama dip with warm ciabatta and a colourful crock of spelt, dried fruits and pomegranate seeds, then moves on to hors d’oeuvres of pork-stuffed tomatoes with cumin, mint and tahini, and grilled mackerel topped with fleshy purslane leaves, parsley and redcurrants.
“I’m full,” sighs Albert, carving into his main of roast chicken with polenta, Moroccan-style matbucha and a méli-mélo of beans. I, meanwhile, don’t intend to leave a trace of the succulent thick cuts of rare red tuna, flavourfully combined with spicy ’nduja salami spread and served with crunchy fresh green and yellow beans. We also manage to share the dessert du jour (€6.50): sweet, yeasty babka cake swirled with dates and coconut.
At the end of the heartily wonderful meal, we manage to grab a moment with chef Nahmias, who arrived in Paris from Israel via Lyon, and worked with Greg Marchand at Frenchie and Fulgurances – a culinary breeding ground for star chefs – before striking out alone. “Adar is named in homage to the neighbourhood in Haifa where I grew up,” he tells us. “It’s also Hebrew for abundance and generosity.” But as to whether the two Nahmiases are related, “We’re one big family,” they conclude, before Albert proclaims: “Your haricot beans are nearly as delicious as my mother’s.”