Riyadh’s Paul, A Bread Oasis
When you hear about a global chain of restaurants that has been in service since 1889, you would immediately think first-class. Most likely, you’d also think you have to shell out a significant amount once you step in. That’s not quite the case with Paul’s Restaurant and Bakery, a French patisserie with a branch in Riyadh, down on Tahlia street. It was the second Paul branch in the KSA.
Paul offers a distinctly European experience, with its wood-panelled shelves, black-and-white checkered floor, and its bakers outfitted in traditional European baker attire. They offer a wide range of pastries, though the menu is not as extensive as in its home branch in Paris. From brioches to pies, to cakes and croissants, and even soups (served in bread bowls), pasta, and omelettes, Paul’s gives you an experience worth remembering.
How would you like your Paul?
Paul restaurant retains a rustic atmosphere, even when it gets quite busy during the first half of the day. The tables are quite small, and the chairs are huddled closer together. This gives the place not only room for more people, but it also enhances the homey atmosphere.
Service from the mostly Filipino staff is excellent, and all food items are made with top-notch ingredients. Paul also has its own butter and jams, which go perfectly with the flaky, crispy crusts of the croissants. The bread and pastries are also perfect with Paul’s excellent brewed coffee, which is served with a tasty little sponge cake. For those abstaining from caffeine, Paul’s also has a good cup of tea.
For a fairly small restaurant, the amount and novelty of the food items is outstanding. Croissants come in common variants like cheese, and there are also more eclectic kinds, such as the almond-and-pistachio and even za’atar. There are classic blueberry pies and rich chocolate cakes, and there are also tasty hash browns. Customers are also greeted with a complimentary basket of bread.
Paul is ideal either for a quick bite anytime of the day, or for an indulgent breakfast, which is served until noon. Those who opt to just hop by can treat themselves to a wide variety of ala carte options. Those who wish to have the full breakfast experience can go for one of the three breakfast packages, all inclusive of a hot beverage, orange juice, an omelette, and a viennoiserie. This costs around SAR 60. Those dining with kids would best take the ala carte options, since Paul does not have a menu especially designed for them.
Outside the menu
Aside from the menu, the rest of the restaurant is also very well thought out. The restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a pretty good view of the surroundings. These windows are blackened from the outside to provide extra privacy. The tables and chairs are all wood and wickerwork, giving them a decidedly classy look. The wooden floor panels, velvet drapes, and white walls all add to the classy feel. Just make sure to leave your heavy coats at home when dining here, as the temperature of freshly-baked breads can easily heat up the air.
Overall, Paul’s Restaurant and Bakery is a very refreshing experience. It’s worth the visit, should you ever be in the capital of KSA. If you want to cheer up a slow morning, or if you’re just craving for great bread and pastries, this is the place to be.