Located at: 8th Street, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Visited on: 07 May, 2018
Yes, I don’t usually review restaurant chains. However, this international French bakery / pâtisserie / café / restaurant is certainly no fast-food chain and in fact borders on a sort of relaxed gourmet style. Their Parisian influenced ambiance and uniforms are eye-catching (cue ‘Allo! ‘Allo! theme music). But what has been catching my attention lately is their evolving menu and a few meals I enjoyed at the place over the past few weeks. This is a combined review from three visits. I have to admit, I wasn’t much of a PAUL fan previously, but this opinion – like their menu – might now have evolved.
For starters, we tried their Fondue Camembert (AED 45). This is a new addition on the menu and is quite delightful – both visually as well as to nibble on. The thick, melted cheese has a perfect almost-chewy but molten texture which would go well with any bread or cracker. On the first day, I thought that the crispy Parmesan oregano bread had been over-toasted since it was quite hard to bite into. However, when it was the same on the second day as well I realised that this was how it was supposed to be. Possibly contributed to by the Parmesan and other condiments. A softer bread would definitely be nicer.
The Frites truffées au Parmesan – truffle Parmesan fries (AED 23), however, was quite ordinary. The Parmesan was very minimal and was barely enough for the whole portion. To be honest, it tasted more like regular fries.
We had a Burrata salad (AED 65) at the table on the first day, which I had a little taste of. It was an interesting mix of textures and flavours with the tartness of the oven-dried tomatoes and balsamic cutting through the creaminess of the Burrata. It had a fresh feel to it in spite of the processed tomatoes, and the pine nuts added a nice crunch to it.
The smoked salmon of the Crabe et saumon fumé salad – crab and salmon (AED 62) was fine. However, the crab turned out to be crab sticks. Which, for me, is not the same as ‘actual’ crab. And, of course, I prefer the latter. Still, overall, it was a good dish.
Yet another salad that we tried was the Jules César – Caesar salad (AED 41), which came in a lovely crispy bread basket. A great, fresh salad whose taste was uplifted by the crunchy cherry tomatoes and Parmesan. As with the Crabe et saumon fumé (and starter’s bread), however, the herb toasted bread was quite hard to bite into.
The bread issue poured over into the Croque Madame (AED 46) as well, but just to the edges, making it quite the task to cut through the bread. Yet this dish, I enjoyed quite a bit. With a generous serving of smoked turkey ham, an equally generous serving of Emmental cheese, and a gooey sunny-side-up, plus a portion of French fries, there’s something about this that felt warm and fuzzy. Something that felt like home. Enjoyed very much!
The Volaille à l’avocat – chicken avocado open sandwich (AED 46) was, once again, very fresh. And the chicken mayo tasted good too – not too creamy and not too dry. As much as I’m not a fan of avocado, the slices on top went well with the sandwich as a whole. And the sun-dried tomatoes and greens contributed positively to the overall taste of the dish.
Finally, there was the Volaille-bourgeois – chicken burger (AED 49). I opted for the multigrain bun instead of the plain bun. And I just loved the bread! (It almost made up for all that hard bread that we struggled to bite into before.) So soft and tasty, infused with the flavours of the contents and some olive oil. The grilled chicken breast patty was quite juicy and tender, as mentioned in the menu description, and the Mozzarella did well to add a rich, cheesy element. The burger, as a whole, was softened by the mayo and lettuce – which had mellowed in the warmth of the bun. It felt like I had made a good choice off the menu.
With so many fresh ingredients and healthy meals to choose from, it’s no surprise that this place is bustling day and night. In addition, there are plenty of pastries and desserts to spoil the guest as well – perhaps more on these the next time. As for the rating, three good visits in a row might have made me a little generous in terms of overlooking the hard bread and average Parmesan fries. But I can’t promise the same level of generosity the next time if there isn’t any improvement! For now – au revoir!
Yummy Rating: 4.0 / 5.0