Le Restaurant de Paul - Review -

Paul is the biggest bakery in France. Today 4.6 million customers walk through the doors each month and it has a presence in 29 other countries across the world.
Since opening its first bakery in London in 2000, the chain has been the object of a few criticisms. Forums talk about unhelpful service. I, for one find it difficult to reconcile "artisan bakery" with such a large company. But as the wise woman says the proof of the pud is in the eating.
A few weeks ago, the family-run artisan bakery and patisserie opened its first London-based restaurant in the heart of Covent-Garden. When we visited, early one evening, last week, the place was packed with theatre goers, the waiters were welcoming and they were taking their time with each and everyone.
We decided that the d├ęcor was very "troisieme empire", I am not certain either what that means other than here, murals, fitting and furniture are unmistakably vieille France, the atmosphere is very continental with tables close to one another and Gallic music in the background. 

He liked his Pastis so much that he succumbed to another round. I wasn't a great fan of my Kir which was warm and too sweet.

The small plates of charcuterie were generous and the ingredients high quality. Being so close to the bakery....I'll rephrase this: being in the bakery, a baker's basket of freshly made bread would have been more than welcome.
The front of the house was working hard, theatre goers had gone and a new wave of punters were perusing the menu. Nevertheless our waiter took time to choose the correct wine to suit equally our main course. The wine list is succinct but sufficient and affordable, I started to understand why people patronised Paul's restaurant.
All the main courses are French classics; Slow cooked duck leg, Saucisses de Toulouse, Coq au Vin........Loup de Mer and veal which doesn't appear very often on  restaurant menus; I opted for Blanquette de Veau which I particularly like. His steak was "delicious".
Paul's chefs are dab hands at cooking simple home-made-style dishes and the quality of the ingredients is really good. Prices are reasonable, with the mains starting at £7.50 up to £13.50 the price of the entrecote and the small starters to share are maximum £4.00.
I liked the food for its honesty and the service for its friendliness. I wish I hadn't glanced at the desert menu because from that moment my liking dwindled, beside the nice patisseries which I had already opted against, there it was, "The Bread".
Yes, au restaurant de Paul, a basket of assorted bread cost £1.75. One could argue that the price is fair but this issue is my main pet-hate. If I've said it once I’ve said it a thousand times one million times, "Bread should be complimentary with meals".
disclaimer : My thanks to Le restaurant de Paul for their hospitality and the complementary dinners which have been reviewed in this post. Words are my own. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. copyright for top image : Paul's website the others are my own
 Le Restaurant de PAUL
29 Bedford St,
London WC2E 9ED 
Le Restaurant de Paul on Urbanspoon

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