The PAUL Hype is Upon Us
It’s been open for just under a week and I suspect most of you have already heard the tale of PAUL. If not, here is a brief overview before I dive into what was a fulfilling and brilliantly executed experience. PAUL first opened in Northern France in 1889 and over the years has snuck its excellence into multiple countries with 670 outlets worldwide. And thanks to Famous Brands, we now have our very own one in Melrose Arch.
They’re all about consistency, sincerity, and doing the PAUL name proud, no matter where in the world they are based.
Friend and I arrived there early last night and were greeted at the door by staff clad in white and doused in smiles. Once seated in the outside area at a glorious and intimate little table for two, we were taken on a journey through the drinks menu. Coffee for me, wine for friend. I ordered a Shakerato which is a fabulous ice-coffee topped with whipped cream. In an effort to save my sweet tooth for other, more pastry things, I ordered this ice-cubed delight without syrup, although they do offer many different kinds for those so inclined.
For starters we shared the Petit camembert au four which is, simply put for my South African friends, baked camembert. Served with rosemary, caramalised onions, apple raisin chutney and toasted bread, this guy was dreamy. It was the kind of meal that will haunt me in those moments when I’m about to fall asleep at the end of a long day before my Greek stomach tries to convince me that it has definitely not eaten enough.
Our waiter, Calvin, was so exceptional that before I could even weep over the fact that I’d gotten my cheese to bread ratio wrong causing me to run out of toast, an entire bread basket had been delivered to our table and so I was merry and falling in love with life all over again,
For mains we both ordered from the meat menu. I got the Médaillon de boeuf which was served with either green peppercorn or mushroom sauce, potato wedges and baby carrots.
I am not lying, exaggerating or looking to earn any brownie or croissant points when I say that the potato wedges, PAUL’s damned potato wedges, have ruined me for all others. They were crispy and fluffy and hand cut and perfect. The carrots? I shit you not they were some of the tastiest things I’ve eaten in awhile. The sauce, or shall I say sauces, because Calvin could see the indecisive panic in my eye and so did a sneaky thing and brought me half mushroom, half peppercorn, were creamy and mesmerising. This is coming from someone whose literal childhood dream was to become a saucier. TO LIVE AND DIE IN THE NAME OF MUSHROOM SAUCE seemed like a completely reasonable way to live my life.
I finished my meal, clutched at my belly and swore I’d never again eat another thing in my life. Then it was time for dessert. While the menu lists all of PAUL’s little treasures, I rather chose from the bakery. We each got an eclair; mine with strawberries and cream and friend’s with a hazelnutty some-kind-of-nutty cream.
They were both amazing, but we were both devotedly taken with the nutty one. Buy one and eat one, trust me.
I could go on and on and on, because for me writing about a spectacular meal means getting to experience it twice, but at the end of the day, all I can say is this, I want to go back to PAUL’s for breakfast because I feel like it’ll make a pretty brekkie spot, I want to go back to eat a almond chocolate croissant thing. I want to go back and try a sandwich at lunch time. PAUL. I want to go back.by Christy Chilimigras