I stumbled upon Ocoffeeshop one frosty December morning in 2016. I had just dropped off my inconsolable daughter to a nursery nearby with her piercing cry still fresh in my mind and I was desperately searching for coffee and some form of breakfast. My soul was pretty battered at that point and I only had 2-3 hours of freedom to mend it. We had just moved to Paris a couple of months before and in addition to feeling like taking a baby lamb to the slaughter every morning while trying to set up a home from scratch, I was struggling daily to survive with the few words of French I remembered from lessons I took years ago. My mind was on constant overdrive dealing with the incessant overload of information, the novelty and the mental effort required to do anything no matter how small. I had to fend for myself for hours on end until hubby came back home from work late at night. And to top it all I knew no one in town. So when I walked into Ocoffeeshop and quickly realised that I did not need to mime my order or resort to a quick "google translate" on my phone, I swear I heard angels singing. Or you know.. it could have been like one of those movie scenes where light from the heavens reaches the earth and hallelujah trumpets play in the background while the hero is getting rescued by divine intervention.
I think Matt, the Aussie half of the Ocoffeeshop team, sensed my immediate relief and asked me kindly where I am from, what I am doing in Paris etc. Little did he know this was one of the few adult conversations I had in weeks. I quickly glanced over the menu board and my gaze fell upon the words "flat white". "Are you serious?" I asked in disbelief. "You are serving flat white?" Meaning: I don't have to go all the way to the centre to get a decent coffee anymore? Cue in the singing angels. "Would you like to have something with your coffee?" asked Matt and my eyes caressed the display of treats on offer. "Is this?...dare I say it.. banana bread?" Yes it was and Matt wanted to know whether I wanted it served warm with lashings of butter. At this point I had to restrain myself from bursting into tears and giving him a hug. Needless to say it was the best damn coffee I had in ages. But the real surprise was the banana bread. I can taste that first bite even today when I close my eyes and remember that first visit. It was moist, it was fluffy, it was moreish, it was decadent, it was spiced just right and it was heavenly. Did I say I don't even like banana bread? Well.. until I tasted theirs that is. It still remains the best banana bread I had in any country, any place. It is made with love and it shows. Apparently Matt gave an aussie banana bread recipe to Tim, the French half of the Ocoffeeshop team, who worked his magic and transformed it into something superior (in all its glory in the photo below).
Since then I have tasted their moist coconut macaroons, cookies that are both perfectly crunchy and chewy, cinnamon rolls that beat the sweedish kanelbullar any day, almond and orange financiers and some savouries like eggs and soldiers and their magnificent avocado toast. Tim told me what spice from the south of France he uses on the toast but I keep forgetting the name. It is outstanding!! They recently told me they do Lamingtons on the weekend. This almost broke my heart as I love Lamingtons but it is not easy for me to reach the cafe on the weekend. So I'll be campaigning for their introduction in the mid-week menu! If you live in the 15th or can easily travel to the area, make sure you book Saturday brunch at the Ocoffeeshop. The guys told me it goes fast and I believe them after seeing what goodies they serve for lunch during the week. I often see Tim (who cracks me up by saying "personally I am doing awesome" every time I ask him how he is) slaving over fresh and mouthwatering produce in preparation of lunch such as soul-warming soups, intriguing salads, colourful buddha bowls. They are now joined by a second chef Helene and the team goes from strength to strength producing even more goods than before to meet increasing demand. I am really happy to see how well they are doing.
Call me sentimental, but breakfast remains my favourite meal to have at the Ocoffeeshop. The coffee is absolutely excellent. The best way to describe it is that it is as good as Coutume's but without the attitude. You can also enjoy latte, piccolo, espresso, long black, cold brew.. you name it. With an Aussie barista at the helm, good coffee is guaranteed. Plus you can buy coffee grains for home! You can also enjoy different types of tea, hot chocolate and fresh juices. As for breakfast items, there are scones, tarts, granola, sandwiches, eggs and soldiers, avocado toast and various sweet treats such as brownies, muffins, cinnamon rolls, cookies and of course the unmissable banana bread.
The vibe of the place is cool, modern and laid-back in a minimalistic setting adorned by the occasional surfing board! The cafe is quite busy in early morning but after 10am and before lunch you should be able to get a seat easily in one of the 6-7 tables as well as after lunch. In those times you can even come in with a stroller.
This place is warm, comfy and hospitable serving excellent quality goods. I've been to a couple more Aussie cafes in town closer to the centre but I have to say that the Ocoffeeshop still comes on top. You'll say I am biased since it has a special place in my heart as the cafe that nourished me during tough times but I think I am objective when I say that they offer hands down the best all around customer experience with obsessive attention to detail when it comes to the quality of the coffee and the food, with a comfy and welcoming ambience and with discreet efficiency when it comes to service offered with a smile. And did I mention the banana bread?
23 Rue de Lourmel,
Metro: Dupleix (line 6), Charles Michels or Av. Emile Zola (line 10)
Photo credit: all photos are mine unless otherwise stated