Paul: Cairo’s Favourite French Boulangerie Opens its Doors in Mohandiseen
38 Geziret El Arab St.
Started as a family-run bakery in 1889, Paul has grown into a full sized Boulangerie and restaurant, and has opened up authentically French branches all over Cairo. Most recently, they’ve opened up – arguably their prettiest establishment – on Geziret El Arab Street, catching the fashionable shoppers from the near-by Lebanon Street.
The black and white front gives the shop a modish look, whilst a large window display of baked good tempts the customer up a set of LED lit steps and through their double doors. We love how this Paul has spread their sophistication right up to the edge of the pavement, with traditional lamp-posts, potted plants and a screen across one side. The rustic-chic theme continues with the interior; polished wooden tables and chairs, neutral colours and a black and white chequered floor almost transports you to a quaint Parisian cafe.
The waiting staff are pleasant, polite and courteous, always serving ladies first – even getting our hand bag it’s own chair – whilst being ready and willing to offer their suggestions from the menu. Soon after we were comfortably seated, a complimentary basket full of fresh, flavourful brown and white bread slices was delivered swiftly to our table, along with a delicious olive tapenade, a pot of butter and olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
The menu is a vast array of delicious-sounding dishes, made even more exotic by their French titles. Out of a selection of soups and quiches for starters, we opted for one Soupe a l’oignon traditionelle – or onion soup – (35LE) to share. Much to our delight, it was served in the middle of a cut-out brown loaf, rather than a standard bowl. Unfortunately though, the outside of the loaf was slightly charred, tainting the overall taste of the otherwise delectable rich soup.
Bypassing all the sumptuous sounding steak, fish, salads, sandwiches and savoury crepes options, we settled on one poulet roti aux amandes (89LE) and a Gratin de macaroni au poulet (65LE). In English, the poulet was described as roasted almond chicken breast, filled with camembert cheese, whilst the gratin appeared to be a cheesy curried pasta dish, rolled with broccoli and chicken pieces.
Considering the prices are slightly on the high side, neither dish looked particularly large, but before long we were struggling to finish them. We couldn’t taste a lot of almond in the tender pieces of chicken, although this was probably due to the strong tasting, velvety camembert filling. The side of vegetables were well-cooked, leaving a slight crunch to the carrots, green beans and asparagus, placed alongside a mound of buttery mashed potato puree.
The pasta dish was also brilliantly cooked, with a subtle hint of mustard in the creamy curry and cheese sauce. The salad side was fresh and crisp, drizzled with tangy vinaigrette.
As for the drinks, there’s plenty to choose from; teas and coffees (13LE-25LE), sodas (13LE), iced drinks (16LE-22LE), fresh juices (19LE-25LE) and Paul’s signature cocktails (24LE-29LE). We chose one banana berries (26LE) – a fruity mix of strawberries, blueberries, red grapes, banana and fresh apple juice – and an Apple Cooler (24LE), complete with apple, strawberry and orange juice. Both were positively delectable, fresh, fruitful and incredibly satisfying, with the Banana Berries faring only slightly better in terms of flavour.
Paul is also known to be a perfect spot for a relaxing cup of tea and slice of cake. A diverse selection of scrumptious cakes, pastries, macaroons and other sweet treats sit behind a sparkling counter, but are also conveniently listed in the menu. Moving away from the chocolate treats, we went for one sharp, bitter-sweet lemon tart, the ‘tartelette citron’ (24LE), which we certainly wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
If you’re looking for an fashionable, upmarket, safe-bet for dinner or dessert, we’d recommend heading over to Paul. Bon apetite!