Discovering the Chef’s Special Menu at Paul

When was the last time we wrote about PAUL? Perusing our blog, I found out the year: 2013. Wow, it’s been really years. But it doesn’t mean that we haven’t been back to Paul Boulangerie and Restaurant since then; we’ve been visiting the restaurant in Tahlia Street through the years and we’ve seen how Paul has expanded to several branches inside the malls of Al Nakheel, Al Hayat, and Faisaliah. They also opened a branch in Fiorenza La Piazza in Al Muhammadiyah. Now this is a great spot for foodies and diners because there are a lot of new restaurants and dessert shops that opened here (you have to visit this!). The Paul branch here is beautifully chic! Anyway, Paul has also introduced new items in their menu but they still have the ones that we love! They also have breakfast sets in the morning and if you’re looking for a restaurant to have brunch in then we highly recommend Paul. They do not only serve some of the best morning dishes but their restaurant and food are also very Instagram-worthy!

We were invited to try the Chef’s Special Menu of Paul but before that, here’s a background of this successful restaurant: Paul is a family company that is passed down for five generations (wow). Paul’s story stared in 1889 when the Mayot family ran a small bakery located in Rue de la Mackellerie in Croix, near Lille, France. This bakery flourished and the Mayots took over another famous bakery-patisserie belonging to the Paul family. The Paul name was retained and a few other branches opened. In 1985, Paul opened their first branch outside of France; in Barcelona, Spain. In 1993, they developed a rustic line of specialty breads using sustainably produced wheat. And you’ll see these types of breads in the bakeshop of Paul, usually fronting their restaurants. Paul has a really rich history and through their time-honored production methods, the company grew and they have opened more branches world-wide.

Paul Boulangerie and Restaurant

Paul Boulangerie and Restaurant

The rustic breads of Paul

The rustic breads of Paul

We’re not surprised by the fast growth of Paul in Saudi Arabia, especially in Riyadh, because they have good food and nice ambiance. When inside one of their restaurants, it feels like we’re outside Saudi Arabia. It’s one of those things people are looking for in a restaurant (no offense to KSA, of course, that people are looking for venues that will make them feel outside of the Kingdom). Paul’s recipes are comprised of carefully selected ingredients and fresh produce. Their breads and pastries are amazing to look at and delicious at that.

The indoor family section at Paul in Fiorenza La Piazza

The indoor family section at Paul in Fiorenza La Piazza

The stairs to the family section's second floor (bachelor section is outdoors).

The stairs to the family section’s second floor (bachelor section is outdoors).

Anyway, for this month, Paul came up with the Chef’s Special Menu, a list of well-loved dishes, that are served on particular days. A different dish is showcased per day. We suggest you visit Paul pronto and get your hands on these dishes because they’re yum-mazing! Before we tried two dishes from this special menu, we ordered some classics and our favorites too:

The free bread that comes in a guest's table pronto.

The free bread that comes in a guest’s table pronto.

The well-loved classics from their main menu.

The well-loved classics from their main menu served as our starters.

The hearty Chicken and Mushroom Soup

The hearty Chicken and Mushroom Soup

The usual order would have been the Onion Soup but I decided to try their Chicken and Mushroom Soup this time. Their soups can be served in bread bowls and while I don’t usually eat the bread as is, I let the soft inside of the bread soak up the soup and eat them together. It makes the soup creamier and yummier. Their Chicken Soup is okay, more like chicken stock with bits of chicken and mushroom, but its warmth and savory taste are really comforting. It’s a great start to an epic meal. And also, if you’ve been reading The Pink Tarha blog for a long time, you’ll know that I usually don’t order soup because it gets in the way for the main courses for me but Paul has some of the good soups in Riyadh so I do order it.

How colorful and beautiful is this presentation of their salmon and crab salad?

How colorful and beautiful is this presentation of their salmon and crab salad?

Layers of avocado, crabsticks, salmon, and tomatoes inside the dome.

Layers of avocado, crabsticks, salmon, and tomatoes inside the dome.

Reina ordered her favorite salad, the Crabe et Saumon Salade. This is one of dishes that we ordered during our first ever visit to Paul. While the presentation changed, the texture and flavors didn’t. I’m tempted to copy paste what I wrote on our first Paul entry about this dish but that’s plagiarism. LOL. Haha! Anyway, the salmon and crab sticks are still flavorful and the greens are still crisp and vibrant. We like the combination of all these ingredients along with the smooth and creamy avocado slices. I’m not fond of the citrus dressing but a few drops of EVOO and balsamic vinegar does the trick. At least for me.

The salmon quiche under this green leafy salad.

The salmon quiche under this green leafy salad.

The Salmon Quiche is just as colorful as we remembered it but Reina had issues with the spinach. It was overpowering the taste of the salmon but still, this quiche is one of the best in Riyadh. The layers of pastry crust blends well with the portion of cheese. It’s still savory and a delight to eat. One order will fill you but we opted to share this one because it’s a pie and pies are best shared with families and friends.

Fruity drinks are love!

Fruity drinks are love!

As for drinks, we had their Pineapple and Orange Juice, and also their Mixed Paul drink consisting of Kiwi, Strawberry, and Pineapple. They were thick and rich but they’re really refreshing. If you’re looking for something new in their beverages department, Paul has ushered in new drinks for summer and these concoctions are fruity and delightful. They have mojitos, flavored water and combination juices. Try their Green Apple, Blackberry, and Passion Fruit mojitos and their Lemon & Mint and Orange & Strawberry juices.

And now for the Chef’s Special Menu… (I feel like I need some intro music for this one, haha!)

What is our table at dinner.

What is our table at dinner.

SR 51

Cotelettes Braisees Sandwich, SR 51

This dish can be shared!

This dish can be shared!

Look at how meaty that is!

Look at how meaty that is!

The Côtelettes Braisées Sandwich is composed of marinated short rib pieces on a dry bread topped with sesame seeds. It’s accompanied by a salad and pont neuf (we’re not making it hard for you; that’s fried potatoes). The short rib is so tender and flavorful (almost tastes like our kaldereta, Filipinos!). I’m not a fond of this kind of bread but I understand why it had to be used on this sandwich. The bread is good in soaking up the sauce of the short rib and that’s a very good thing because the sauce of the beef is great! I wanted more of it.

Lobster Thermidor with Veggies and Roasted Potatoes, SR 109

Lobster Thermidor with Veggies and Roasted Potatoes, SR 109

Divided it delights!

Divided it delights!

A close-up of yummy goodness!

A close-up of yummy goodness!

When was the last time I had Lobster Thermidor? I think it was years ago when we dined at the Golden Lobster and racked up a bill of SR 2,000 (including other dishes of seafood). WTH. Haha! But don’t worry, Paul’s Lobster Thermidor is more affordable and it’s really delicious!!! The lobster is stuffed with bechamel sauce and dijon mustard. It’s sinfully rich and decadent. When just eating the lobster meat, it can be a bit overwhelming but when eaten with the julienned vegetables and roasted potatoes, the taste becomes well-balanced and scrumptious.

Yup, we were full all right.

Yup, we were full all right.

Just tasting these two from the Chef’s special menu, we already know that the other items in the list are just as good (but not as easy to pronounce). Try the Ragout de Ribeye, SR 127 (rib eye stew with potatoes and broccoli), Roti Carre de Agneau, SR 62 (lamb chops with parsley bread crumbs), Magret de Canard Poele, SR 109 (roasted duck breast), Homard Grille SR 99 (grilled Canadian lobster served with spaghetti), and Sandwich Homard, SR 98 (lobster sandwich with fried potatoes). They rotate the dishes per day so you can inquire what their special for the day is before going if you’re keen in trying a specific dish. This offer is ongoing and we’re not yet sure when it will end. But as early as now, we recommend you dine here already!

Paul's world-famous bakery

Paul’s world-famous bakery

We’re pretty much full after the main courses so we didn’t order any dessert. However, their bakery located at the front of their restaurant is inviting and we stopped by to stare at the breads and pastries on display. When asked what the bestseller is (because obviously we had a hard time picking with all the baked goodies in front of us), the Chocolate Eclair reigns supreme. We tried that along with this mountain of marshmallow and biscuits meld together by a think layer of dark chocolate. I love marshmallow so I cannot step away without it in my box. Haha!

The branch in Fiorenza La Piazza has both indoor and outdoor dining options for guests. Their second floor is also a must-see because apart from the really high staircase, haha, you also get a view of the plaza below and the kitchen. They also have a family section outside and it’s perfect even now that it’s summer because it’s air-conditioned. Other Paul branches have their own advantages like the one in Nakheel Mall has a dining section in the middle of the mall walkway, complete with water running underneath the floors while the one in Hayat Mall has tables overlooking the mall’s ground floor. So it’s up to you where you want to eat, really. Same good food anyway!

All in all, Paul remains the same well-loved restaurant we knew it for. They even improved their menu over time and they’re opening more branches in the near future.

Paul Restaurant and Bakery

Fiorenza La Piazza, Al Muhammadiyah

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia [MAP]

Other branches in Tahlia Street, Al Nakheel Mall, Hayat Mall, Tala Mall,  and Faisaliah Mall (coffeeshop and bakery only)

W: http://www.paul-bakeries.com/en/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/PAUL1889.arabia/

Twitter: @PaulArabia

IG: @PaulArabia

Disclaimer: The Pink Tarha was invited by Paul’s PR from Edelman Dabo, Dubai to visit and try the Chef’s Special Menu. I wrote this article based on my own opinion and feedback.

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Janelle

The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.

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