Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Best French Cafe and Bakery in Jeddah: Paul

I finally made to Jeddah favourite French import, the Paul Cafe and bakery which is  cosily ensconced behind Sands hotel off Tahliya Street.
As you enter from the bakery section sweet delights dazzle you. Everything looked mouth-wateringly good, and it is a bit like walking into to Tiffany’s/Fitaihi jewellery store, you want to buy everything, except at Paul’s even if you did, it wouldn’t leave a deadly dent in your bank account.

The view
We chose to be seated in the smoking section which is very cheery, spacious and with a view, despite being non-smokers who mind second-hand smoke. Why, you may ask did we put our health and more importantly, our moods at risk, well paradoxically the non-smoking section is small and dark, with dark leather seating and very dim lighting. I could almost imagine it being part of a smoking/billiards room in a quaint Victorian era household.

We were able to get a table near the window which overlooked the outside seating area. We were offered the breakfast menu as it was around 11 in the morning. The place was full of eager patrons, while a few waited for seats; the majority were women of course, as I’m sure they truly appreciate the ambience.
photo credit lastika
The restaurant area is divided into sections; the walls in our section were painted a pale green with regal gold embellishments. The interior is rather grand compared to Paul's in other countries, but then, it has to be, both to suit local tastes and its posh location. The staff donned white aprons and white chef hats, and were tres busy bustling about in the kitchen and dining area. The tables are quite close together, which is something we are not  used to in Saudi, and it reinforces the feeling that you are in an authentic French cafe.

photo credit lastika
We took our time ordering, as the menu is in French, so you need to read the English descriptions to decipher it. We finally decided on a cheese and mushroom omelette and ‘Paillason bacon’ potato pancake with onions and beef bacon, both were served with a side of salad. I ordered my favourite frozen lemonade with mint although most patrons were sticking to the French breakfast staple-orange juice.
Our order took its time to arrive, but they were very busy, and I was rather amazed and at how deftly the waiters picked their way through the crowded tables.
photo credit lastika
We were served with a basket of soft bread with butter and jams, which had a cottage/homemade look about them and were aptly served in petite earthenware pots.

When our food did arrive, the potato pancake was cooked to golden perfection, it was warm and aromatic and I could not stop eating it. The beef bacon was beautifully crisp ,and cut so each piece was lined with a strip of fat. The salad fresh and crunchy with just the right amount of dressing. My friend’s omelette was quite large, and I could taste the cheese, as it melted away in my mouth.
Bakery decor
The meal was tasty, wholesome and filling; it didn’t leave us feeling overly greasy and we finished it in no time at all.  No trip to Paul is complete without a dessert, as we were quite full we decided to order a strawberry cake and a strawberry éclair for takeaway- and as expected they were absolument délicieux!

Macaroons, pies, tarts, cakes and more
Next time you want to catch up with the girls do it over breakfast or brunch at Paul, and I guarantee you will enjoy it.

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  1. Wow really enjoy ur blog -

  2. Hi keep it up i am based in south africa and really enjoy your style of writing - just wanted to know do they really serve " bacon " in jedda - was always under the impression that bacon and alcohol forbidden in saudi arabia

  3. Hi Anonymous, thank you for your sweet comments- I should have clarified the 'bacon' is beef bacon, often found in the middle east and Malaysia and other Muslim countires where pork products are forbidden. It is made from processed beef and looks like bacon, (as a Muslim I've never had real bacon so I can't tell you whether both items taste similar or not). Alcohol is also forbidden in Saudi, but you'll find many unalcoholic versions of popular cocktails. SO virgin margaritas, pinacoladas, even unalcoholic red and white wine!

  4. Hi Misha,

    Nice blog. I landed here as I was trying to find a gift hamper for my sis who hás recently moved to Jeddah. Thanks for the tip about Paul's Café. Will try contacting them to see if they do a baked goods hamper...would be fantastic if they did. I live in Oz, só found your blog really helpful. Cheers Mezz

  5. Hi Mezz,
    Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog.Yes Paul's Cafe is great I don't know if they do gift hampers, I hope you are able to get a fab gift for your sis.