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Carb-free diets be damned

Andrea Burgener | 2013-09-12 01:25:06.0

Andre Burgener has been immersed in all things food since she took over the making of the family's lunch box sandwiches aged eight (her mom could make a mean creme brulee and a staggering souffle, but could never butter the bread all the way to the edges.

CARBO-LOADING

YES, I know it's not really a big part of your look-good-for-summer plan, but be realistic and face the fact that (unless you're an A-list celebrity with a trainer keeping you on a tight leash) carbohydrate eating is going to happen. So when it does, make sure it's worth whatever stresses might accompany it. I for one am beginning to wonder about this whole no-carb paleo thing: any diet at all which disallows entire food groups seems barmy. A pizza won't hurt. A sandwich won't hurt. A pizza every lunchtime, washed down with a soft drink and followed by a chocolate bar, will. Any grown up can work that one out. So, in the interests of common sense and extreme pleasure, here are two places where carb eating is nirvana:

FRENCH CARBS

Patisserie de Paris has the most unlikely location. The teeny-tiny place sits in a row of the most arbitrary shops imaginable in Blairgowrie, but is light years from arbitrary.

The size of the shop gives no hint of the mountains of buttery, yeasty, flour-based wonders which burst from the kitchen behind. Chef and owner Paul Zwick (yes, the man who for many years was a famed local producer/director) trained in Michelin-starred restaurants in France before coming back to start his business.

For over a year he's been selling his breads at the Bryanston Organic Market. Seven weeks ago he opened the Patisserie.

Everything here is perfection. On the sweet front, the mighty palmiers and chocolate tarts are particularly heavenly. The bread is stupendous. Paul is an ardent advocate of real bread, which means sourdoughs containing flour, salt and water - no added gluten, improver or other cr*p. To avoid carbs when such a place exists seems almost immoral. There is only one thing I don't like about this shop: it's not in my neighbourhood. 9 Mackay Avenue, Blairgowrie, 011-326-0913.

SOUTH INDIAN CARBS

Spiceburg is where you go for good curries. But actually, I think the breads are their stellar turn.

This mainly South Indian restaurant opened a good few years ago and has never dropped its standards (despite the eating places all around it turning into drinking holes and fast-food chains). The better known North Indian naans are done very well - stretchy , charred and blistered, like duvets you want to wrap yourself in - but the big stars are the Laccah Paratha and Malabar Parathar. These are South Indian-style breads, similar to naan, with a flaky layering and unctuousness that is weirdly reminiscent of Northern Chinese "flatbread". Stuff them into your face plain, swab up curry juices with them, take them home and eat them with eggs and chilli for the best hangover breakfast ever. Carb-free diets be damned. 101 Gleneagles Road, Greenside, 011-486-2255.

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