Reviewed by Ruman
Would you eat at a restaurant that pays little attention to cleaning its sauce bottles, resulting in dried sauce over bottle caps? More on that later.
Gumbo Yaya is a Southern American inspired halal restaurant in Paris. Serving up supposedly some of the best halal fried chicken in Paris, this restaurant is known and loved by Londoners and Parisians alike.
It was just our luck that on our final day in Paris it had started to snow, resulting in a very cold day. What better way to warm ourselves up than with some fresh fried chicken and waffles? Gumbo Yaya certainly stands out on the street with the use of bold reds and blues in their storefront. Standing outside in the snow 15 minutes after opening time was the point at which we first questioned the customer service of the restaurant. The restaurant was due to be open at 12pm but they didn’t open until 12.15pm. As you can see in the image below there were already a few people waiting outside the restaurant when we got there at almost exactly 12pm.
In the long, cold and painful wait (okay, slight exaggeration but you get my drift), the staff in the restaurant just looked on from behind the counter at the eight people queued outside. What baffled us was the fact that the restaurant chose to leave its customers waiting outside in the cold, instead of inviting them in (especially given they were now running late). They eventually opened their doors with no apology for being late or making us wait outside. It’s not like they were setting up tables inside – they were literally standing behind the counter.
Moving on, once we had made it inside, we noticed the restaurant was relatively small, with around 20 covers. Ourselves and the group before us already made up almost half of the restaurant. The American influence is clear in the interior with movie posters on the wall and hip-hop playing over the speakers.
We were seated at a table near the window and as we looked to the windowsill we noticed a row of sauce bottles for our table. A few of the bottles had dried sauce near the caps which didn’t reflect well on the restaurant. A quick Instagram poll while we waited for our food resulted in 82% of our followers who participated saying they wouldn’t eat at a restaurant that has dirty bottles.
The menu at Gumbo Yaya is pretty simple. You can either get chicken on a plate with a choice of a side, chicken and waffles, a waffle burger or a chicken burger. There’s also a veggie bowl on the menu though I can’t imagine many vegetarians strolling into a chicken shop.
We knew we’d be ordering the chicken and waffles. I don’t like eating chicken on the bone, so we asked the waitress if they had boneless chicken. It was at this point that we had a weird exchange with the waitress. She didn’t understand what we meant by boneless and we didn’t know the French equivalent so we showed her on Google translate. She then said she understood but said we couldn’t swap the chicken on the bone for boneless chicken. Later on, we realised that the next item on the menu is chicken fillets and waffles (i.e. boneless chicken!). I guess this was partly on us for not reading the menu properly (in our defence, it was all in French and our limited understanding of French words can only get us so far) however she could have pointed us to that option.
The classic chicken and waffles are served with two pieces of chicken on the bone (they gave us a leg and breast piece) alongside four quarters of an American waffle for €11 (the exchange rate at the time meant this worked out to £9.80). The chicken had a spicy coating to it which was actually really nice though the waffle was a bit too dense for our liking. We added maple syrup to the chicken and waffles which worked quite well with the spices used in the coating of the chicken. In terms of value for money, it’s around the same price of somewhere like Ma’Plucker in London (but cheaper than Stax/Boondocks – though these two are far superior in quality and service).
It should be noted that it took 40 minutes for our one plate of chicken and waffles to come which is a very long time. The only people before us was a table of six. Within 15 minutes of entering the restaurant, they had reached capacity. In fact, they seemed to allow more people in than they had capacity for which didn’t make for the best experience as it meant the restaurant was packed and service was slow. It seems the delay in opening was probably something to do with the kitchen not being ready which inevitably had knock on effects on the food delivery rate.
On the whole, despite the issues with the service which has resulted in a low overall rating, if you’re looking for a halal fried chicken fix in Paris, Gumbo Yaya is a great option. Although our experience with service was awful, the food was actually good. The chicken was tasty and from what we saw, the chips are hand-cut giving the place a very American / hipster vibe. If there’s one piece of advice I can give you it’s to get there early as they fill up really quickly.
Value for money: 7/10 (€11/£9.80 total bill // €11pp/£9.80pp)
Halal Status: All meat served is halal. Alcohol is available.
Address: 3 Rue Charles Robin, 75010 Paris, France
Nearest stations: Colonel Fabien
You can view our guide to the best halal restaurants in Paris here.
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Ruman eats a brownie a day, but only with coffee. She struggles to eat more than 2/3 of an adult size portion of food, but always has room for dessert. When not exploring restaurants, galleries or cities around the world, Ruman is a Marketing Ninja at Halal Gems, where she also holds the title of Chief Chocolate Officer.
Forever consumed by a mixture of wanderlust and FOMO, her interests include all things social media, travel, charity, photography and food.
You can follow Ruman on Instagram and Twitter.
Reviewed by Ruman