The cafe culture in Europe is a thriving part of life there, and has been so for centuries. Initially, run by families primarily for neighbours and locals, a few of these have successfully managed to take the wafting aromas of their brioches and baguettes beyond Europe. Paul, the renowned family-owned bakery-restaurant from France, is one such example. With over 700 outlets spread in 45 countries, they recently opened their flagship store in Gurugram's Ambience Mall.
The fist thing that you notice about Paul is its location. As you enter Ambience Mall (Gurgaon), you cannot but notice the large French-bistro style cafe. It instantly piques your interest. The cafe, looks international, has large windows allowing you to get a glimpse of the buzz inside, and has the aroma of freshly baked bread when you do finally get inside. The cafe itself is large and seats over a 100 people.
(Also Read: These Insta-Worthy Cafes In Delhi Are A Visual Treat)
Paul is known across the world for its deliciously baked breads, over a 140 types of them! Their top quality millefeuille, patisseries, macarons and viennoiseries, and a wide array of main course dishes. It's a full service menu that's priced deliciously too. The best thing about Paul is that it opens for breakfast. Aren't we all constantly looking for places that serve a good, healthy (or hearty, whichever you prefer) breakfast?
Some of my top recommendations from Paul are:
1. The Roast Chicken: Its a main course dish and a large plate that's perfect for the time when you feel like having a big meal, but not necessarily something heavy and greasy! Unlike a lot of other roast chicken dishes that are dry, this one is nice and juicy. It comes with a side of balsamic peppers and mixed salad.
2. Smoked Salmon Bites: This is one of the many dishes made better because they use their in-house signature PAUL baguette, baked using a recipe that comes straight from Paris. Served with cream cheese and delicious French-mustard, this appetiser is perfect for the weather we are seeing currently.
3. Pear, Walnut & Ricotta Salad: This is another dish that is beautiful and fresh and best-suited for the summer months. Pear and ricotta are a flavour-pair made in heaven anyway; over here, the oven dried tomatoes and refreshing mustard dressing make the salad tastier.
4. Pork Ribs: I tried a small, tasting portion of this dish made in a smoky, spiced barbecue sauce. Soft, yet with a bite, the meat was really well cooked. This is amongst the more expensive dishes on the menu, but the portion size I tried was perfectly fine for one person. I wish Head Chef, Lokesh Jaiswal, would consider serving a smaller portion size here. Its a good dish, and I bet, it would be ordered more frequently.
5. French Onion Soup: Served inside a signature PAUL champagne bread, the French Onion Soup at Paul's Gurugram, is as hearty and flavourful as they come. Once the soup is over, make sure you scoop out parts of the bread with a spoon to enjoy it some more. That's the part I liked the most, anyway!
6. The Pizzas: I believe that the simplest pizzas are usually the best. It's when the quality of the ingredients and the base can be tasted and enjoyed best. I tried the Margherita and Bufalina (it uses mozzarella cheese made with buffalo milk, hence the name) and would recommend both to anyone who enjoys their pizzas without the trappings of too many 'toppings'.
7. Desserts: Try the Fleur de lys (a popular French symbol), Chocolate Moelleux
(served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream), and the Molten Choco Fondant (soft and gooey inside), served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Head Chef, Lokesh Jaiswal and team have quite a task ahead in maintaining the quality and consistency of dishes up going forward. At the moment, Paul offers a delicious full-service French bistro menu, right in the heart on Delhi NCR, at prices that don't make you feel like you are paying in Euros.
I'll be going back to Paul, rather soon!
About the Author:
Tanu Ganguly is a Content Specialist with over 18 years of experience in producing, directing and anchoring a variety of content for TV and digital. She worked with NDTV from 2000 till Jan 2019, and her last assignment with NDTV saw her heading the editorial and creative team at NDTV Food. During this phase, she introduced a series of successful changes in content strategy and style to maintain and bolster NDTV Food's leadership position in the food-content space in India. Tanu now runs Mishry.com - a review platform she founded in Jan 2019 exclusively for kitchen related products. Mishry.com is based in Gurgaon and aims to make shopping for cooking and dining needs better.