Review of Restaurant de PAUL
Located in the heart of Covent Garden is the first PAUL restaurant, famously known for their French classic desserts and freshly baked artisan breads, the owners have branched out to an all-day dining bistrot du boulanger. Restaurant de PAUL is open from le petit déjeuner to dîner, offering a varied menu of regional one-pot dishes as well as sharing plates, seasonal salads, soups and typically French savoury snacks as well as their baked viennoisseries and fine patisseries.
Restaurant de PAUL is a mix of a classic Parisian bistro meets modern chic café, 19th century painted wall murals, light jazz music in the background and antique carved cabinets are combined with contemporary soft furnishings of plush cosy booths, French white and pastels colours against dark wooden tables. Through a small service hatchet alongside the main restaurant area diners are able to get a sneak peak into the open kitchen where the only thing you can see are the chefs bustling about and the sounds of pans clanking away. Tables are close together for a more intimate dining experience but you don’t fell cramped or boxed in.
Many of PAUL’s recipes have been adapted from old-time traditional French dishes, paying homage to the must-haves of French-style cooking. With their unwavering dedication to authentic regional dishesusing classic cooking techniques, plentiful portions of satisfying favourites are designed to appeal to varied tastes and dining occasions. From hearty winter dishes Confit de Canard aux Olives (slow cooked duck leg, crushed buttery mash with black olive and a rich red wine sauce) to lighter lunch options such as Croque Madame (Ham, Emmental cheese & cream in toasted PAUL Pain de Mie topped with a fried free range egg, Provençale tomato) there is something for every taste.
As well as their stunning a la carte and wine menu Restaurant de PAUL offer an afternoon tea with a choice of either a hot drink or glass of bubbly all under £20. Presented on a black cast iron cake stand the 3 tiered wonder included a selection of sandwiches, brioche scones with cream and house made jam and a dessert plate.
The sandwiches were both served on brown and white bread;
A mild, creamy thick slices of Camembert with lettuce a fantastic French alternative to the usual boring egg and cress. I am a huge soft cheese fan and Camembert is one of my favourites, perfectly ripe and gooey but I would of liked some zest perhaps a few rocket leaves instead of the lettuce.
Fresh thinly sliced smoked salmon delicately orange pink with a light Boursin cream cheese spread. Maybe an obvious sandwich filling choice however it can be done wrong with mushy salmon or overly dressed salad, it was simple yet classic.
The final sandwich of succulent chicken breast pieces, green batavia leaves with a zingy mustard mayonnaise but a bit of a let down as the bread was going stale. I loved the tangy wasbi like mayo but it lacked seasoning.
The flavour combinations were very traditional compared recent afternoon teas I have visited, there is nothing with that but I think the sandwiches overall were quite bland and needed some updating.
I have never had a brioche scone before and I was eager to get stuck in. The scone itself is like a large roll, bronzed with a shiny crust with sugar crystals dotted over the top. Ripped open to reveal a light yellow butter soft interior, fluffy and still warm. The cream was light almost like a whipped cream, rich and airy to spread, with a dollop of the fruity red jam was delicious twist on the English scone.
Onto the desserts where we had a choice of 3 sweet treats;
Fraisier slice sponge cake topped with rich mouseeline cream, surrounded by fresh strawberries and a topped with a thin layer of green marizpan. A gorgeous cake not just stunningly presented but in flavour too, silky and decadent cream with a light sponge the small slice was a perfect portion.
Having scoffed many of these beauties in Paris, Paul’s Caramel macaron has to be one of the best I’ve ever had. Bursting with smooth toffee creaminess with nutty almost praline tones just divine.
I was quite surprised to see a carrot cake on the plate a sudden u-turn from the other traditional French pastries on display. The cake was moist and light packed with sweet carrot with a treacle bottom. The topping of sweetened mascapone added even more indulgence to this already sinful dessert.
PAUL are sticking to their roots of timeless, classic authentic cooking without the faff and extravagant flare. I managed glance over at other tables and all the dishes were presented beautifully, portions were of a good size to match the price. Memories of my recent trip to Paris came flooding back, taking in the sites whilst relaxing in a corner cafe with a pastry in one hand and latte in another. Restaurant de PAUL have got the mix of stylish restaurant meets French modern chic down to a tee, as a diner you feel the charm and heart of the room and food. Service is quick but not pushy even though it was passed lunchtime the restaurant was continuously busy.
I look forward to my next visit for a taste of French Provencale food.