Saturday, December 12, 2009

Topoly - Paris

Man'ouché - Otherwise Known as Lebanese Pizza?
This food blogging hobby is pretty fun. I've been doing it a while now, picking places to eat that interest me or the Puffin. Readers have started to make suggestions too, which is cool because I'm introduced to food I never would've found otherwise. Topoly is a case in point. It's a Lebanese restaurant in the 6th, suggested by commenter Hamster, who convinced me to get a Man'ouché (man-ooo-shay), which appears to be their specialty.

They had a variety on the menu but I stayed with the Hamster recommendation and got a Man'ouché Zaatar, which I unraveled to eyeball the innards. It's rather simple - ground thyme in olive oil, mint, sesame seeds, tomato slices and a few olives wrapped in a thin, freshly-made flat bread. I rolled it back up and took a bite. It hit me like a sock in the jaw! This is not some wimpy, mild sandwich - I was shocked by the strength of the flavors. The thyme was so powerful that it made me unsure. I dipped it in the labneh (a mild white cheese made from yogurt) to cut the power a bit and that did the trick. I enjoyed each bite more and more and it was gone in no time. Hamster - I can see why this is so memorable, I've not tasted anything like it.
I watched the flatbread maker for a while. He rolled the dough into small, flat circles and then lobbed one into the air with a spin over and over to flatten it out like a pizza maker would.

When sufficiently flattened, he'd toss it onto the top of the steel, dome-shaped oven called a saj. Once it bubbled up he flipped it over onto the side of the saj and tossed another one on top. I'm guessing each cooked for a total of sixty seconds.

The bread maker and his saj are positioned at the front of the shop, catching the attention of many passersby. As he flipped the bread he chatted up some Argentinian tourists, who'd apparently never seen such a sight.
6th Arondissement

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  1. Cool... Sounds like too much spice for me though. Reminds me of naan. That would be nice on it's own

  2. Puffin, I'm thinking this one may be a tad strong for your tastebuds...

  3. Yey! I'm so glad you tried it out! Looking forward to reading more of your adventures.

  4. I adore this place, they are friendly and the service is fast. I have lived in Paris for two years and this is the best Lebanese I have found. Thanks for your tips!

  5. @Anon - glad you liked it, it's a pretty interesting little place. I have to make my way back soon.

  6. This was right around the corner from our hotel, so we went on your recommendation. Oh my god, it was to die for. We loved it so much we went twice... thanks for the tip! - Deb

  7. @Deb - I can't take any credit for this find, a commenter named Hamster convinced me to try this and he was right.

  8. FN, I will be in Paris for a few days later this month (Jan 18-22). Want to eat something together?