This month I turned 27. I’m not really thrilled about this whole “approaching 30” thing. It’s not that I think being 30 is old, but this is the last year that I’ll be eligible for the “carte jeune” train pass… Just say’n.
Since I wasn’t super excited about my birthday this year, I decided to keep it low key and just do a brunch with a few friends. I read about La Recyclerie on the blog “Paris, Maman, et Moi” and thought it sounded like the perfect place for a Sunday Birthday celebration. So that’s where we went : )
83 Boulevard Ornano, 75018 Paris
1 minute walk from the metro Porte de Clignancourt (It’s kind of hard to see but it’s right next to KFC).
When I stepped out of the metro I was kind of nervous because the neighborhood looks run-down (graffiti on the buildings, trash on the ground, construction) – not exactly the view I wanted to be looking at while enjoying my meal… The outside of the restaurant is quite ugly too but when you walk inside, it’s a whole different story!
Despite the neglected state of the building when viewed from the street, the inside seems very clean and modern. The restaurant has an artsy, fun look to it: tables are colorful, chairs are mismatched, decorations are made out of recycled material like old jar covers, wires, & corks.
We went on a Sunday at 12:30pm and the restaurant was pretty busy, and also rather loud. The clientele is mostly a younger crowd – friends meeting up to chat / families with young children.
When I first walked into La Recyclerie, I was surprised by just how busy it was! They open at 11am on Sundays but by 12:30pm the place was already packed. Luckily, our friends had gotten there a bit earlier than us and had already managed to grab a table.
Before eating, my friend Anne-Claire and I decided to head outside and explore. The cool thing about La Recylerie is that it’s situated along what used to be “La Gare Ornano,” a part of the now-abandoned “petite ceinture” train line of Paris. The outside area is split up into 2 sections – a top deck with tables and chairs (similar to the inside), and another area next to the train tracks where people eat in wooden booths that look like old vegetable stands.
And along the side of the hill? Chickens! Apparently they have goats to, but there was a sign saying that the goats were on vacation. Lucky goats.
Next, we came back inside, paid for our food tray and waited in line at the first station. Let me note, the trays at the restaurant are pretty unique – I read a review about the restaurant where someone said they didn’t like it because the trays seemed like something you would find in prison… I can see what they mean – the trays are big and made of metal. I think they go with the whole “funky” feeling of the restaurant though and I rather liked them : )
Once you get your tray, you take it to one of the several stations to get your food. There’s a cold food section (salads, cheese, deli meat, etc), a hot food section (scrambled eggs, bacon, etc), and a baked-goods section (bread, croissants, etc). There is a station for tea/ coffee/ hot chocolate that you can go back to as many times as you want! All the other stations are a one-time only though (at each station you give your receipt and they mark it with a colored marker to show you’ve been there already). For juice, there is only one kind that comes free with the brunch: jus de bissap. Apparently,it’s a juice made with hibiscus that’s popular in Africa. I liked it at first but after a few sips, I wasn’t a fan. Too tart for my taste. I stuck with hot chocolate.
As for the food – I really loved it! Rather than get everything all at once, we started with the cold station, sat down and ate and then went back up for the hot food. This way we avoided the problem of our food getting cold and we didn’t have to wait in line with a heavy tray (or rumbling bellies).
After food time, we emptied our trays (leftovers go to feed the chickens?!) and I got to open presents – I felt so spoiled! : )
20 € for adults
18 € for the vegetarian menu
10 € for kids
It’s an awesome place to do a birthday brunch / hang out with friends, but not the kind of place you would want to bring your grandmother for a nice meal or take your girlfriend out on a romantic date 😛 The food isn’t 5-star quality or anything, but the products all seemed fresh and I thought it was delish : ) If you’re a picky eater though, this probably isn’t the restaurant for you – what you see is what you get!