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Lunch with Lynn: Oxymore & Lunch on Rue Faubourg Saint Denis: Urfa Durum

I realized in the all the years I’ve had Lunch with Lynn, I’ve never included a Pizza restaurant.

Two weeks ago when I went to see the Klimt installation at Atelier des Lumieres, I passed an attractive café and noticed appetizing, hot pizzas straight from the oven being served. After spending almost an hour at Atelier des Lumieres, it was already after 2 PM (way beyond my lunch feeding time) and I was super hungry. I made a beeline to Oxymore, (strange name for a pizzeria) pining for a pizza. They had a lunch formule of any pizza and dessert on the menu for 15€. Sold! I chose the Albertine, topped with tomatoes, Cantal cheese, air-cured beef from the Alps, brebis (sheep’s cheese), Comte cheese aged 18 months, hazelnuts, and basil. Sounds yum already!

It was a sunny day, so I sat outdoors on the busy but not too noisy rue Saint Maur, patiently waiting for my pizza. When it finally appeared, not only was the smell intoxicating, it also looked beautiful. One thing I don’t like about the way pizza is served in France is it’s not pre-sliced, and I always have to struggle with a fork and a knife that’s not that sharp enough to cut it. It was the same case at Oxymore, but all was forgiven once I tasted it. I have to say it was the best pizza I’ve eaten in Paris since I moved here in 2005. The combination and the freshness of the ingredients were superb, and the crust was thin and crispy in the middle, and puffy on the ends. Also the portion size was more than generous and I was stuffed by the time I was finished.

Interestingly enough, the owner who is French, proudly markets his restaurant as a French pizzeria, sourcing only top quality ingredients from France including meat from Aubriac region and crème fraiche from Issingny; He makes no reference to its Italian origin. You can absolutely taste the difference and you can clearly recognize the flavor of each ingredient. Although I love classic pizza with fresh or buffalo mozzarella, I could easily forgo it, and have Oxymore be my go-to pizza place.

Even though I was stuffed, I miraculously had room for dessert. The pistachio and raspberry cheesecake was smooth and feather light, a perfect complement to the revelatory pizza.

Oxymore also has a cocktail bar.

60 rue Saint Maur, 75011
Metro: Saint Maur
Open 7 days

Lunch on Rue Faubourg Saint-Denis: Urfa Durum

Last month when I ate at 5 Pialles, I met the owner who was Turkish. Since there’s a barrage of Turkish restaurants and take away food shops on Rue Faubourg Saint-Denis, I asked him which were the ones he recommended. A Kurdish sandwich shop across the street was on the top of his list.

I had passed the sandwich shop many times but my timing was always wrong because there were big lines and I didn’t want to wait.

I planned my visit at 11:30 AM after my haircut, so I could avoid the lunch hour rush. Approaching the restaurant, I saw through the window a woman studiously rolling out the pizza-like dough for the sandwiches by hand and also topping them with tomato sauce and vegetables before they were put in the oven. The menu was simple and straightforward; six varieties of stuffing’s, including ground meat, lamb, organic chicken, vegetarian and plain.

At the back end was a grill where marinated kebabs were being cooked on a stack of hot coals and on the front counter, metal baskets with fresh garnishes of tomato, red onion, salad greens, and flat parsley. The freshly baked breads from the front were transferred to the back counter, where they were stuffed with the cooked kabobs and closed up by hand.

There were a few peculiar low-slung stools outside and awkwardly portioned myself on one. The sandwich was fresh and the meat tender, and even though red pepper flakes were added, the sandwich didn’t have much flavor, bordering on bland. The hot doughy bread was excellent, making up for the lack of taste of the ingredients inside. Perhaps the lamb and ground beef have more spices added to them, so I will give them a try in future visits.

By the time I left, the line was already out the door.

Urfa Durum
58 rue Faubourg Saint Denis, 75010
Metro: Chateau d’Eau

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Lunch with Lynn: Oxymore & Lunch on Rue Faubourg Saint Denis: Urfa Durum


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