You wouldn’t expect a restaurant named Chang to serve Thai food, but it does, and it is very good Thai food indeed. And it makes a nice change in Paris’s Little Tokyo (roughly the area between Opéra and the Palais Royal), with its dozens of Japanese restaurants, the best of which usually require waiting in line for a table. Chang, happily, takes reservations, and, from what I’ve seen, you’ll need one.
My friend Terry had been there just the night before and liked it so much that she wanted to go back and try everything on the menu.
We shared all the dishes we ordered and started out with three of what the restaurant calls “tapas,” a word that seems to have lost its original meaning now that they are ubiquitous in restaurants and interpreted in every imaginable way. At Chang, they were not small snacks as they are in Spain, but what would normally be called starters. Whatever… They were all pretty special.
In the same vein, the “spicy taco” was not very Mexican but was perfectly delicious. It was filled with lemongrass-flavored octopus and red curry sauce and wrapped up in a crispy-rice tortilla.
We then tried the excellent “rouleaux Chang,” which looked something like sushi but tasted nothing like it. They were filled with shrimp, Thai spices, fresh coriander and peanuts.
Our next “starter “ was a wonderful spicy papaya and mango salad with gambas and some carrots, herbs and mild onions thrown in for (very) good measure.
We finally had a main course: a delicious version of the classic dish pad Thai, rice noodles with chicken, lemongrass, peanuts and bean sprouts.
We were dubious about having dessert, but we caved and ordered “Intensément Yuzu.” It was the right choice, with a yuzu ganache, citrus jam, buttery cookie and jasmine “cappucino.” It was fantastic: creamy, with all the promised intense yuzu flavor.
What about the name? Apparently “chang” means “elephant” in Thai, but there is no elephant in the room here: everyone will want to loudly acclaim chef/owner Alexandre Lam’s reinterpreted That food, with its little twists and turns.