[SG] PAUL | enjoying a 125 year old French heritage

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Many people would be familiar with PAUL as it opened doors in Singapore more than two years ago at Takashimaya. Established in 1889 in the city of Croix, near Lille in Northern France, PAUL is an icon of a proud family heritage which has been passed through five generations of bakers.

Marking its 125th anniversary this year, the authentic French fare is well loved worldwide and we are huge fans of the patisserie ourselves, being frequent patrons of their London bakeries and even once during our transit in Dubai!

Once every six months, PAUL refreshes its breakfast and main dine-in menu and for the upcoming season, expect a delicious offering of 26 new dishes, desserts and beverages! For those working in the CBD area, you would be delighted to know of Paul's recent opening at the basement of Marina Bay Link Mall following the success of their nearby bakery and restaurant at Ocean Financial Centre.

Complimentary sliced baguette and butter

For those who are familiar with the folks behind make your calories count, you would know that we are huge fans (particularly myself) of different types of artisanal bread. Being greeted warmly by a basket of freshly baked sliced baguette was one of the finest fashions kickstart my day. With most of the ingredients specially imported from France, the quality butter offered was no exception and you could taste the richness and its velvety smoothness as we spread it across the rustic bread.

Tartine boeuf | S$19.90/++

Easily my favourite dish of the day was the sirloin steak which was grilled to perfection and served on a bed of herb cream cheese, caramelised onions and topped with a dash of balsamic vinegar reduction. The sirloin steak was cooked to medium rare, retaining the lovely pinkness in the middle which was much desired. What set this apart was the beautiful flavours underneath the protein, where the sweetness of the caramelised onions was harmoniously balanced by the richness of the cream cheese. The salad served on the side with its vinaigrette dressing introduced a touch of acidity to sum up a dish that won most guests at the table.

Salade de la mer | S$20.90/++

One of the prettier dishes to greet everyone was this fresh seafood salad topped with sauteed prawns, mussels, octopus, avocado, grapefruit and slices of red radish. We were told that the addition of creamy rich avocadoes and grapefruit to the salad reflects more of a Southern France style of enjoying their dishes but we loved it all the same. The vibrant colours on the plate won us over visually the moment the plate landed before us and the freshness of the seafood stood out distinctly. The acidity and tang from the grapefruit cut across our palate in a surprisingly pleasant manner as it brought a refreshing twist to the otherwise standard salad.

Confit de canard | S$28.90/++

A classic dish of the Perigord region of France and PAUL's favourites is the slow roast herb-marinated leg of duck which was accompanied by a bed of roasted vegetables and a seasonal cranberry sauce. Having spent at least four hours of slow-roast in the oven, it was no wonder that the meat was off-the-bone tender while covered by a gorgeous crisp golden-brown skin with a thin layer of fat underneath. 

As we sliced through the tender duck leg, one could not help but notice the aroma that surrounded the dish as the meat was rubbed in herbs and cured in its own fat for up to 24 hours before roasting. This allowed plenty of time for the dry rub to permeate through the meat and retained the full flavours of the herb marinade. 

Longe de thon | S$29.90/++

The grilled tuna loin retained a tinge of pinkness on the inside as it was served with roasted vegetables and seasonable cranberry sauce. While I enjoyed the thick chunks of the tuna loins, some might argue that they would prefer the fish better if it was taken off the grill some 20 - 30 seconds earlier. The seasonal vegetables such as squash and asparagus added some gorgeous colours to the dish but importantly impart natural sweetness to the dish while the cranberry sauce gave more depth in terms of flavours.

Gaufre avec glace | S$13.90/++

While our stomachs were satisfied by the savoury mains and starters, there was no way one could reject sweet treats and definitely not waffles by any chance! Elegantly presented like two leaning towers, the extremely crisp waffle crumbled with each bite. While this might suit the palate of those in favour of a crispy waffle, I would personally prefer a slightly more fluffy batter where the inside would juxtapose the crisp texture on the surface of the waffle. Nonetheless, when enjoyed with a scope of vanilla ice cream, it was hard to resist a second serving.

Eclair Paris-Brest

A regular patron of PAUL's tarts and patisseries, the eclair was a familiar bake for us though this particular one pipped with hazelnut cream and littered with whole hazelnuts was a first. Definitely returning for this choux pastry, it was everything that one would ask for in an eclair as the rich hazelnut cream was surprisingly light to remain palatable to most without satiating their appetite.

With an elegant interior design, it was largely reminiscent of their outlets in Europe. Located in the precinct CBD and shopping areas of Singapore, PAUL is surely a place to impress your business associates or even your date. 

While this was a media tasting, the service crew was attentive to our needs even as we visited on separate occasions. For those who prefer to takeaway their food, there is also a takeaway counter which would serve the interests and needs of the lunch crowd.

Overall Verdict: 7.5/10

Marina Bay Link Mall, #B2-07
Bakery: (+65) 6509 8339
Restaurant: (+65) 6509 8329

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