Thank You, My Deer

WHERE: 112 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011 (11ème arrondissement)
WHEN:  Tue - Fri 8am-6pm; Sat - Sun 12pm-6pm (closed Mondays)
HOW MUCH: espresso 2€; crème 4€ (slightly cheaper for takeaway) 
METRO: Parmentier (line 2); Couronnes (line 2); Goncourt (line 11)
BEANS: Coutume
FOOD: a wide range of gluten-free breakfast and lunch options
CONTACT: WebFacebook; Tel: +33 1 71 93 16 24

Café contributed by Holly Foxcroft

Oberkampf is one of Paris' prime nightspots, home to a host of bars and clubs that bring the neighbourhood to life at sunset and to a swift, drunken demise shortly thereafter. However, as a day spot, the area is considerably less vibrant. One thing certainly lacking in the quarter is an abundance of good coffee shops. Fortunately, Thank You, My Deer is an exception.

Tucked away right between rue Jean-Pierre Thimbaud and rue Oberkampf, Thank You, My Deer has a menu that is as colourful as its fantastic geometric interior. Home-made sandwiches, salads, sweet and savoury waffles and tartines gourmandes populate the proudly gluten-free range that owners Jana and Sonia have put together.

Affectionately referred to as "Le Cerf", Thank You, My Deer opened in 2013 after its Slovakian founders recognised a distinct lack of gluten-free dining options in Paris. While I, like Steven Poole, have my reservations about those who have reservations about gluten, there is certainly just cause for its development in France, and more particularly in Paris. An increasingly experimental local population, coupled with the presence of fussy tourists and expats, means that the French can no longer turn their noses up at gluten-free dining. Besides, given that there actually are coeliacs in France, it's high-time someone stood up for them in the face of the boulangerie bullies, taunting them at every corner. 

The lunch menu changes weekly, with prices ranging from 4-9€ for soups, salads and sandwiches, while the sweet pastries and cakes go for around 2.50-4.50€ a pop. On Saturdays and Sundays, a mere 20€ will buy you an outrageously copious brunch, consisting of a freshly-pressed fruit juice, a bowl of granola (or soup in winter), two open sandwiches, some salad, a coffee and a dessert, all homemade. I don't think I've ever heard of such brunch-time madness. 

Beans are provided by Coutume and brought to life on a Marzocco Classic by the café's experienced baristas, who receive Coutume training if they're not already qualified. After its opening, Thank You, My Deer actually hosted barista Emmanuel Buschiazzo, founder of Réseau des Baristas de France, whose passage is certainly testament to Jana and Sonia's serious attitude towards coffee.

With Thank You, My Deer, Jana and Sonia cater for two under-served markets in Paris, and bring a burst of colour to Oberkampf's daytime character. As for the name, there's no profound meaning to it, but it sure is catchy.