Whoever uttered them those words in French are actually ‘Qu’ils mangent de la brioche’ which makes a deal more sense as brioche can be had, in France, by the cartload as can patisseries, macaroons, choux buns, and gooey creamy eclairs whereas procuring a slice of proper cake, well that’s a Herculean task.
I wasn’t actually seeking cake on my recent trip to Paris but what I was hoping to find was a great cup of coffee. I know parts of Paris reasonably well and I have fallen into the habit of frequenting cafés I am familiar with, some of them serve passable coffee but nothing that could be classed as sublime. In fact, sometimes I’ve thought it would be easier to happen across a lost Picasso masterpiece at a car boot sale than find an utterly lovely grand crème in the City of Light.
However, just before I went to Paris at the end of November I bought a copy of Trish Deseine’s excellent ‘The Paris Gourmet’ which is full of recommendations for restaurants, cafés and food shops in the French capital and one of her suggestions for a place serving good coffee is Coutume Café.
Coutume which is run by a Franco Australian duo is at 47 Rue de Babylone in Paris’s fashionable seventh arrondissement and it’s a stone’s throw away from the Le Bon Marché department store. The café is a high-ceilinged space, the decor is industrial, a tasteful Beaubourg-esque mish-mash and it’s a very busy and buzz-y place. It look’s like a coffee geek’s dream spot as there’s a raft of specialized coffee related equipment and in truth I wasn’t sure what most of it was for.
But what I am sure of, having had a flat white in Coutume, is that it was by far and away the best cup of coffee I have ever had in Paris. I couldn’t resist having a slice of the tempting looking Victoria sponge and that too was good.
Cutoume is open for breakfast and lunch and I will for sure try the breakfast there next time I am in Paris. Having hit the caffeine jackpot at Coutume I am also encouraged to seek out, on future visits, the other new wave Parisian cafés – some of whom are supplied with coffee beans by the owners of Coutume.