Thursday, November 5, 2015

Singapore Food Blog - Paul @ Takashimaya

Location: Orchard, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Note: This post is written base on the dining experience in Takashimaya Shopping Center's branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

Recommended: Chocolat Frappé à la Menthe (SGD6.50), Mint Cucumber (SGD8.90), Roulade de Poulet (SGD23.90), Piece de Boeuf (SGD28.90), Cabillaud Royal de Méditerranée (SGD29.90), Millefeuille nature (SGD6.80), Tarlette Chocolate (SGD6.30)

Paul should be quite well known to most in Singapore. If you are not familiar with one, just visit the one in Takashimaya like I did – you will not miss the snaking queue of diners waiting impatiently for a spot to sample their patisserie. They have set up branches in various spots but my favorite haunt remains the one in Takashimaya.

I usually prefer to patronize Paul before noon for a hearty brunch, a time when the crowd is thinner and the queue more acceptable. I prefer a seat within, admiring the interior decor reminiscent of European styles but sometimes I can only get a seat outside of the cafe, staring at patrons of the mall and get stared back in return.

Paul, and a certain somebody behind...

Paul, since 1889

A menu with mouth watering images

Sometimes I get myself a choice from the usual caffeinated suspects, and if I am not up for a cup of tea or coffee, then I would choose from their other beverage selections. I do like their idea of having a section of their menu for Coffee-Desserts where you get to choose from a tea/coffee set with desserts served with the beverage, making it a good choice after a hearty brunch. If my meal is a heavy one, then a Café/Thé Gourmand (SGD9.90) would be my choice (you can choose from Paul’s list of coffee and tea), the accompanying 3 macaroons more than enough. However if my meal is light and I craved some more calories, then I would choose Café/Thé Surprise (SGD12.90), a name which you would not forget. This comes with more desserts, suitable for the sweet tooth or to be shared with your mate.

Fancy a cup of cappuccino (SGD6.50)?

Or perhaps a pot of Peppermint Tea (SGD5.80)?

My friend's order - Grand Cafe (SGD5.40). While the name sounded "grand", it is just regular black coffee. My friend's words: not bad.

Whenever I am looking for a tea set to compensate a light lunch, I would choose Café/Thé Surprise (SGD12.90). I can choose from their list of coffee (including cappuccino) and tea to be served with a mini creme brulee, 1/2 moelleux chocolat slice and 2 mini macaroons of your choosing. The desserts are also ideal when I visit Paul with friends, sharing the light patisseries among ourselves.

If you think that being a French bakery and restaurant, Paul is only good with their coffee then you are in for a pleasant surprise! I loved their Chocolat Frappé à la Menthe (SGD6.50) from its Ice Blend section for its menthol sensation mixed well into the rich chocolaty taste, and I feel the urge sometimes to get to this restaurant for a cup of refreshing Lemongrass Iced Tea (SGD7.50), its acquired taste a tang against my taste buds. My wife fancies the Mint Cucumber (SGD8.90), a healthy choice that still cures the addiction for minty sensation.

Lemongrass Iced Tea (SGD7.50) and Mint Cucumber (SGD8.90) - 2 of our most ordered drinks. The acquired taste of lemongrass is not for everyone but if you are a lover, you will not hesitate to order this! We loved Mint Cucumber's mixture of soothing mint into blended cucumber juice, diluting the latter's scratchy texture with a cool sensation without overwhelming it.

Another one of my favorite is Chocolat Frappe a la Menthe (SGD6.50). Once again, I am hopelessly addicted to the way Paul utilizes mint in their beverages. Rich chocolate ice blend with soothing minty sensation is just too good to be true, and yet here it is. It is described as "chocolate decadence" - how apt that is!

I was surprised in my initial visit that we were served with bread and butter. For any table ordering a hot meal, Paul serves a complimentary basket of bread and a tab of cold butter as appetizer. Its bread is tough and hard to tear apart, but its butter is pure freshness. Be sure to spread as much butter as you can!

Of course, food is still the main reason I visit Paul often, their variety of choices and mouth-watering images depicted in the menu being their irresistible lure. Their menu is quite varied and, of course, very French. Although Paul’s business is mainly in bread, Viennoiserie, patisserie and hot dish, I have never tried the former 2, usually ordering the latter. So far my favorite remains Roulade de Poulet (SGD23.90), a dish of stuffed chicken with pumpkin puree, but I am also torn between that and an order of Piece de Boeuf (SGD28.90), the sirloin steak tender amidst a flood of thick gravy.

Roulade de Poulet (SGD23.90) - a dish that I loved immensely for its sliced up rolls of baked stuffed chicken in pumpkin puree and topped with mustard sauce. Each dip into the pumpkin puree adds a layer of sweet sensation to the firm texture, heightening the senses on the tip of your tongue.

Another nice dish from Paul is Cuisse de Poulet Rotie (SGD22.90). The dish is served with a satisfying portion of a chicken thigh, marinated and roasted, accompanied by salad, cherry tomatoes, carrots and roasted potatoes. The fiber easily parts with each tear, revealing tender flesh underneath. It is a tasty dish but I still prefer Roulade de Poulet over it.

For beef lovers, there is Piece de Boeuf (SGD28.90). To have the dish of sirloin steak flooded with thick gravy is a heaven sent, the tender red meat soft and chewy in your palate complemented by the rich taste of the gravy.

For seafood lovers, Paul's Cabillaud Royal de Méditerranée (SGD29.90) is my recommendation. By ordering this, you get a cod fillet served with spinach and Mediterranean sauce, garnished with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, black olives and capers. I highly enjoy the taste of sweet cod and its texture and the crunch of asparagus of this dish.

The other food which Paul used to lure me in is their wide choices of patisserie, a hallmark of both French cuisine and Paul’s offering. For a sweet tooth like me, the temptation of those images is way too high! Drown me in rich chocolaty heaven with Tartelette Chocolat (SGD6.50) please! Or let me cut through those thousand layers temptation of Millefeuille Nature (SGD6.80)! You can never get it wrong if you order either the iconic French millefeuille or commonly acceptable tartlet for dessert.

I like Paul's Tarlette Chocolat (SGD6.30) for its thick chocolate cream and crunchy biscuit base. The chocolate is rich but not too sweet. And yes, the printed bar is edible.

Millefeuille Nature (SGD6.80), also known as a Napolean and literally means "a thousand leaves", is one of the famed Patisserie that one should try in Paul. Each layer is caramelized and filled with vanilla flavored creme made of eggs, milk and sugar, and topped with a light apricot glaze. Oh, and beware of its taste for it is unbearably sweet (suitable for this sweet tooth). Take a sip of bitter coffee to wash the sugary taste away if you couldn't stand it. There are a few Millefeille and this version is the natural one hence the name.

Sometimes the queue can be so long that you can barely see the bakery area...

I did occasionally drop by other branches of Paul and I could tell that the general taste of food is consistent for those dishes which I favored, and even though Takashimaya branch remains my favorite haunt, the other branches are good alternatives on a busy weekend when diners and shoppers spilt out and overwhelm most cafes. Whether the reader choose to patronize for a nice brunch or just to catch up lost moments over a cuppa, Paul remains an excellent choice that I highly recommend to diners. Be forewarned though that the price can rake up to a high amount - food and drinks in Paul is not cheap.

Environment:          A French bakery cum restaurant in an upscale mall
Suitable for:             for friends, not suitable for too large a crowd
Price:                           luxurious (>SGD20 per meal per pax)
Food score:               8/10
Food:                            5.0/5.0
Service:                        4.0/5.0
Value:                           4.0/5.0
Ambient:                      3.0/5.0

Operating hours:   10.00 a.m. - 10.00 p.m.
Directions:                Travel to and disembark at Orchard MRT station, take Exit D and make your way to Takashimaya Shopping Center either through the underpass on street level. Head towards level 3 and look for the unmistakable shop front.

Website:                    Official homepage of Paul Singapore
Contact:                    +65 - 6836 1914 (bakery phone)/ +65 - 6836 5932 (restaurant phone) (Takashimaya S.C. branch)
E-mail:                       -
Address:                    391 Orchard Road, #03-16/17 Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238872.

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