A review of Joburg’s hottest new French bakery, PAUL in Melrose Arch
What started in 1889 in Northan France has spread, like a timeless vogue, leaving a footprint of some 673 stores across Asia, America, Europe, the Middle East and now South Africa in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg. Ladies and gentlemen, PAUL Bakery has finally made a home for itself in this sassy city of ours.
The recipes, the attention to detail, the love for artisanal baking and the innate French touch in everything has trickled down over five generations manifesting in edible servings of splendor. At the core everything is grounded on their passion for craftsmanship.
As you walk in you’re greeted by a stunning display of some of what comes out of the bakery daily. Golden brown buttery croissants, tempting Pain au Chocolats with rich croissant dough surrounding a heart of dark chocolate, a rainbow display of macarons, mouthwatering traditional Eclairs and sweet puff pastry with tart apple sauce or smooth vanilla custard cream and apricots stand ready to lure you in for a taste.
The glory doesn’t end with the pastries, they bake deliciously fresh hand-crafted traditional French breads which come in a variety of shapes and makes, each offering a taste revelation. They craft miracles. What would ordinarily be a warm bun scattered with poppy or sesame seeds paired with the baked Camembert cheese, caramelised onions and apple raisin chutney, will bring your world to a standstill.
Go there and add a necessary interval to your day with one of their yummy sandwiches which are brought to life with simple and fresh ingredients or perhaps the quiche of the day – the chef’s treat for you.
The menu offers everything from cheesy pastas, seafood ensembles, elaborate salads, poultry and a handful of red meat cuts for you to take a pick from. And, yes everything is prepared meticulously using traditional French recipes. It’s a taste of the French way of eating without having to part with a fortune proving indeed that, like James Beard suggested, “food is our common ground, a universal experience”.
PAUL’s variety of beverages are just as wonderful holding something for everyone. From the macaron frappe to their iced teas, the list of upper echelon locally produced wines and traditional artificer hot beverages – it’s an open invitation from Paul to come in.
The interior is ridiculously picturesque, it’s a tasteful space with classic black and white tiles laid out, crisp white walls and ageless wooden finishings against the backdrop of the bakery, behand a window where the bakers orchestrate their magic.
There’s buzz in the air, the food together with the wine taste like samples from a place faraway and complimented by Melrose’s Paris-like streets, PAUL creates an illusion that allows you to escape for a while.
WATCH the video below and to get a feel for what PAUL is all about!