I love a patisserie. I’m all about the cake and a very long time ago on a visit to Paris, we discovered our very first Paul café which we thought was oh-so-exclusively-Parisienne and quaint.
About six months later, we blinked and they were popping up all over London and didn’t feel they could possibly have quite the same je ne sais quoi as the one on the Champs-Élysées we had gleefully devoured.
However, this traditional French import has managed to retain its rich family-owned heritage whilst feeding the masses and I was delighted to discover that Paul Covent Garden, among others, is so much more than ‘just’ a café with now iconic black shop fronts and a line of artisan speciality breads made using sustainably produced winter wheat.
The restaurant is tucked snugly in the back, framed by an avenue of afternoon tea chouquettes and délicatesses. Intimate and inviting, it makes for a great meeting place and the food being superb, is the ideal venue for the perfect date.
We went for dinner early evening and stayed until the pre-theatre set had long gone, such was the comfort and familiarity we felt.
Our host, Carolina, could not do enough for us, and the manager popped over for a little chat too. Such a friendly bunch, they made us feel right at home, so much so that we were loathe to leave, but finally rolled out when we need to head back to our hotel.
But back to the main feature, which is of course, the food.
For starters, we paired our Prosecco with Paté de Campagne: Paté with red onion confiture & cornichons for me and Onion soup for my dinner date, Emma.
Both were just too good. Rich in flavour and so moreish, but we knew we had to save some space for our next two courses. My Pate was among the best I’ve ever tasted, and that is saying something!
The couple at the table next to us had a meat platter and I couldn’t resist covertly grabbing a pic as it looked SO good!
Mains was Entrecôte sirloin steak, Provençale tomato, French fries for me – a no brainer, I adore it – and Emma was already nearly full so opted for Salade Boulangère with roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes, poached egg, and a Paul bread stick.
This was my second choice of dish so I was rather pleased as I got to try that too. Salads don’t usually float my boat but I love a poached egg and also tomatoes so the combo of this with the dressing was fab.
By the time we polished that lot off, were were like Teletubbies, but after a little break and some furious Instagramming, we’d worked up a little gap to accommodate dessert.
Emma innocently went for Mousse au Chocolat – Paul bottomless mousse and we could not believe our eyes when it arrived – huge, never ending, and a feast for the eyes as well as the palate!
Sadly, even between us, we couldn’t put much of a dent in this but we sure tried! Chocolate lovers will be in seventh heaven with this one.
I went for Tarte Du Jour which meant a trip through to the patisserie to choose from the plethora of mouthwatering options on display. I went for my new weakness, the Flan Normande which was a tantalising fusion of soft apples, custard and almonds. I can almost taste it now as I write and my mouth is watering!
Just delish and I already wish I was back there. When you are in Covent Garden, Paul is a must.