My first encounter with PAUL was at Champs Elysées Paris. Needless to say, the ambience, the bread, the éclair, the charm… it was a truly unforgettable experience – so much so that I kept a piece of its serviette. When PAUL opened at Takashimaya, fans were ecstatic over the news because it was as though Europe has come to us.
The history of PAUL is one that sounds familiar. Since 1889 when a small bakery opened in Northern France by Charlemagne Mayot and his wife, PAUL has become the story of the family’s love, commitment and traditions. Five generations down, CEO Maxime Holder continues with PAUL’s culinary heritage.
Somehow, the charm seems to be lost when it comes to Singapore, with fans saying it is “a little overhyped” and a “disappointment” with its ordinary food and poor service. Especially when they have to queue that long just to get a seat.
All I can say is you can import the European goods, but you cannot import the European service and European experience.
As for my local experience, my wait was almost negligible on a weekday night. Service was very attentive and rather prompt (perhaps they could handle better at off-peak hours).
Items available include pastries, cakes, croissants, sandwiches, soups, quiches, tarts, crepes, eggs, and over 100 types of bread. PAUL still makes their bread by hand in the bakeries every day which would take up to seven hours as that their dough can develop its full flavour with longer fermentation.
My favourite bread was definitely the Fougasse Olive Bread. It was wonderful. I liked its soft texture with a slightly salty taste, perfect when dipped into the balsamic olive oil mixture. Their crisp and flaky croissants ($2.20) are also a must-have, a mile better than all the ordinary ones I ever had, but please eat it fresh.
A recommended dessert can be the Millefeuille Chocolat ($6.40), their Napoleon with chocolate crème patisserie filling. It is a tad on the sweet side for me, and I much prefer its plain version with creamy custard fillings.
Its Fruit Tarts such as the Tartelette Multifruits ($6.40) are a delight to look at but does not leave much of an impression taste wise. I much prefer the Éclair ($5.60) with traditional choux pastry with chocolate crème patisserie filling.
The friends who went with me said their expectations were not met. Perhaps I did not go expecting ‘Paris’, and therefore had quite a positive experience.
391A Orchard Road, #03-16/16A/17 Ngee Ann City Tower A, Singapore (Orchard MRT), Tel: +65 6836 5932
Opening Hours: Sun–Thu: 8.30am – 10pm & Fri–Sat: 8.30am – 11pm (Bakery), Mon–Sun: 10am – 11pm (Restaurant)