If you weren’t raised with all the benefits of a French childhood (us too), you can now make up for lost time at Soho’s new Maman.
There, Armand Arnal, a Michelin-starred chef from La Chassagnette in the South of France, has opened a café and bakery inspired by the brightest spots of his Gallic upbringing.
If you want to pin down what food will be offered by Arnal—and his two partners, Benjamin Sormonte and Elisa Marshall—on any given day, you’ll have to check the daily menu posted to Facebook ($6 to $13.50 for salads, $6 to $8 for sandwiches, $6 for soup). Or take our lead and be confident that whatever simple comforts coming out of this open kitchen are sure to be healthful, radiant in color and made with a dose of classic French technique.
This ever-changing stance is good for keeping both customers and the kitchen from falling into a rut. Elisa says, “We feel it is important for those who live and work around here to have a daily menu. In addition, and more importantly, we believe in working with fresh and seasonal ingredients, if we go to the market and the lettuce doesn’t look that good that day we will offer something else, also if it is out of season, you won’t see it on our menu.”
From the fields and orchards of farmer friends like Lani’s Farm, Phillip’s Farm and Cherry Lane, Arnal conjures dishes like red rice salad with a sweet and sour eggplant ratatouille, pear and parsnip soup, and chickpea salad with roasted pumpkin, beets and a orange-honey vinaigrette.
Maman is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and with all menu items available for dine-in, grab-and-go, delivery or catering, meaning you can live your French fantasy any time.
Maman Bakery & Café
239 Centre Street