Yesterday, I flew out the door early for a cooking class in Montmartre only to arrive to find a mix up of dates. With changed plans and in search of a light breakfast and a good coffee, I decided to continue on from Jules Joffrin metro station up the rue du Mont Cenis, which climbs all the way to Sacré-Cœur via a series of steep stone steps.
Some things are meant to be for on the way I stumbled upon the sweetest little spot. Nestled right against the ancient steps is Soul Kitchen, a coffee shop with a delightfully warm feel run by three lovely women who make everything in-house. There’s a wonderfully-worn patterned tiled floor, mismatched, painted chairs and a counter filled with homemade goods freshly baked each morning. There’s even ANZAC biscuits.
The formule P’tit Dej is 11 € and includes a hot drink, fresh juice and the choice of a giant muffin, a scone, a bowl of organic granola or a tartine baguette from the neighbourhood boulangerie. I opted for the tartine served with traditionally churned Pamplie butter and a little pot of homemade strawberry confiture. One of the women hails from the Alsace region and drives up to get the fruit in bulk to make their jam.
The chewy baguette was excellent but it’s the coffee that will draw Australians here. A good latte has always been notoriously difficult to find in Paris but in the past two or three years the coffee scene has really started to evolve. Interestingly, the renaissance is being led by a number of Australians and I’m told that the local roaster who supplies Soul Kitchen worked in Oz.
As I checked my emails (yes there is Wifi) locals streamed in and out. There’s a cupboard full of board games and at the next table a father and his little boy were playing Qui Est-Ce, a French game for children that my girls adored. The small lunch menu is posted on facebook daily and includes healthy soups, salads, vegetable tarts and pissaladières. Yesterday there was Mexican soup with jalapeno cornbread, and a pichade with rocket, coppa (cured pork) and homemade pistou. Cakes are freshly baked for the afternoon and change every day.
After lolling about with a second cup of coffee, I just had time to race up the steps to the top of the butte for a quick scout around before pounding down again to meet a friend for lunch at Pulcinella, a tucked-away Italian on rue Damrémont.