One of my good friends texted me the other day. She had been browsing through her engagement pictures and needed help choosing. After a few discussions on where we should meet up, we agreed on a place that recently opened, PAUL Boulangerie et Pâtisserie in Pacific Place Mall, Jakarta.
PAUL is a French chain bakery established in 1889 in France. It opened its doors in Indonesia on December 2013, and has been the talk of the town ever since.
The day we visited, the inside of the restaurant was packed. Not just with customers, but with tables and chairs set so close together, I can only imagine how loud and uncomfortable it can get. We were sat outside, in the smoking area. Thank goodness no one was smoking! Allergies. The proper separation of smoking and non-smoking is a huge plus, by the way. Some places in Indonesia (a lot of places actually) allow smoking indoors. The non-smoking and smoking areas are sometimes only separated by a tiny fence. Isn’t that kind of pointless?
I had to thank Mother Nature for giving us a breezy day. Jakarta is, almost always, hot with 90% – 100% humidity. So having to sit outside is usually an immediate turn off for me.
We had a look at the menu, and something quite unusual set my food radar off — Macaron Frappé (Rp 70,000). I ordered the pistachio flavor, and it came out looking quite plain, its colour a greenish white. Well that just won’t do. So I ordered a pistachio macaron (Rp 60,000), cut it, and put the crumbs on top. Much better! 🙂
Although delicious, the Macaron Frappé was basically a milkshake with a fancy name. Sweet and creamy, with a hint of pistachio.
I was more interested by the size of the macaron. It was humongous! I certainly couldn’t finish it by myself. I have to say, it had the right texture in all the right places — eggshell-thin crust, soft and chewy insides, with the proper amount of filling.
Moving on to our Soup and Salad. The Soup du Jour (Rp 65,000) was Cream of Mushroom Soup, and we ordered one of the recommended salads with the most intriguing picture, Salade Crevettes Mangue — Shrimp and Mango Salad (Rp 100,000).
I have this thing when ordering salads, where I always ask the waiters/waitresses to have my dressings on the side. I have found that most restaurants don’t drizzle the dressings, they drown the greens in dressings. As a result, the salad will come out looking mushy and just plain yuck. But this time, I… kind of forgot. To my surprise, PAUL brought out a plate of salad that looked appetizing!
It had the right amount of dressing. Balsamic vinaigrette. The flavor was sweet, and not too sour. And yes, the greens were fresh! The shrimps were a bit of a disappointment. They were bland.
As for the soup, it was delicious! It had a nice earthy flavor and the right amount of seasoning. The bread served with it was nice and crunchy; not too hard, not too soft.
Then came the Tartine Saumon Fumé (Rp 125,000). I can say nothing other than delicious! The bread was toasted to a perfect crisp, topped with a spread of cream cheese, avocado, smoked salmon, then sprinkled with julienned onions, and of course salad greens. The smoked salmon was not too salty, but I’d have to say, they were a little stingy on the cream cheese, and the avocado wasn’t that creamy, quite underripe.
I bought some of the pastries and breads to go: Tarte à la Rhubarbe, Tourte Provençale, Fougasse Provençale, Croissant, and Flûte 6 Céréales.
Let’s start with my absolute favorite! Fougasse Provençale (Rp 25,000), bread with sun dried tomatoes and olives. You know what’s weird? I hate eating olives by themselves, but when it comes to olives paired with bread, I absolutely love love them! PAUL’s Fougasse Provençale has a nice soft and chewy texture. The extreme savoriness was executed wonderfully with the combination of sun dried tomatoes and olives, and just the perfect level of salt.
The Tourte Provençale (Rp 70,000) had turned a bit mushy by the time I reached home. Tourte Provençale is basically eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, and cheese on top of a puff pastry. Again, not too salty, and the cheese didn’t overpower all the other flavors. It had a very subtle but graceful flavor, with perfectly cooked vegetables that still had a nice chew to them.
Moving on to the Tarte à la Rhubarbe (Rp 45,000) (Rhubarb Tart). How I adore this tart! It was both sweet and sour. Maybe too sour for some. But not for me!
Again, the tart had turned mushy by the time it got on my dining table. However, it still had a tasty buttery flavor, paired with sweet and sour rhubarb on top of a creamy custard, wrapped underneath a fruit jelly layer. I shouldn’t have brought it home. Imagine how it would have tasted when it was still fresh!
Personally, I judge a bakery by its croissants and breads. Especially in Indonesia. It is pretty difficult to find a decent rustic bread, let alone croissant. A good croissant will have a crisp and flaky outer crust, but once you break that layer, you will reach the soft insides. Time to test PAUL’s croissant (Rp 18,000)!
It looked pretty regular. It didn’t seem that flaky, so I didn’t have high expectations to begin with. Now, I’m no croissant connoisseur, but when I broke the croissant in half, I felt like it didn’t have enough layers. It has that buttery flavor, but it wasn’t flaky enough to be a croissant.
Now for PAUL’s Flûte 6 Céréales (Rp 35,000). This was soooo hard to cut! My teeth actually hurt when biting into it. It has a really thick crust that gets thinner towards the middle. As for the bread itself, it was pretty dense. The strangest thing though, when I munched on it the next day, it was softer, like I could actually bite into it.
Overall, I think PAUL is quite a decent place to spend your afternoon brunch with your friends. It is, however, more towards the expensive side. For example, in a regular restaurant in Indonesia, a plate of salad will range between Rp 30,000 – 40,000. PAUL’s starts from Rp 85,000 (for a plain Caesar Salad). I will probably return though, especially for their Fougasse! 🙂
Paul’s Boulangerie et Pâtisserie
(Mon – Sun: 10AM – 10PM)
(Outdoor Area of Galeries Lafayette)
Jl. Jendral Sudirman Kav. 52-53
Jakarta Selatan 12190
+62 21 5799 3455