It was barely 9am on a Saturday morning and the Paul Bakery in Ghazir was almost full. Although it has been open for sometime now, I never had the chance to stop-by before. I was truly amazed to say the least. This branch on the Tripoli highway is something special. A huge garden terrace with an army of trees that act as a buffer separating the French bakery from the busy highway. Inside you enter a whole new world.
Paul constitutes of two areas. To the left is the display fridge for take away orders; while on the right a square space welcomes more than 45 guests at a time. Facing the main wall is a long bar preparing plates and drinks in front of an open kitchen. The French spirit is mesmerizing... the black and white square tiles, wooden ceiling, decorative tiles on the walls and metallic structures pending from the ceiling...We chose to sit on one of the wooden tables, sat down on fabric covered chairs and waited to be served.
The breakfast menu is simple and not sophisticated:
Up until now I was impressed with the place... but it all stopped here.
- Les pains et viennoiseries
- Corbeille de mini viennoiseries
- Les jus de fruits
- Coupelle de fromage blanc
- Les boissons chaudes
- Petit déjeuner continental
- Petit déjeuner Paul
How hard it is in this country to find a smiling staff. It's 9am for God's sake! Just smile! There were three boys just walking around, discussing their Friday night's adventure. None of them seem happy to be at work. Where's the welcoming and joyful attitude? Not acceptable at Paul.
Before placing the order, a basket of bread and butter landed on our table. It's not a secret but I'm not a fan of Paul's bread; too chewy for my taste.
We had for breakfast:
- Chocolate Croissant: Good but not impressive. It has a strong aftertaste of alcohol. I was expecting it include more than just two simple lines of chocolate inside and it definitely should have been more crunchy
- Almond and Chocolate Croissant: This is a very good one. A normal chocolate croissant is baked then opened in the middle, filed with cream, covered with almonds and then cooked again. It's rich and filled with interesting flavors and textures. This one is crunchy and enjoyable
- Eggs Sunny Side Up: Three fried eggs, simple and clear. Perfectly cooked. These should have been seasoned with salt and pepper from the mill
There was nothing special about today's breakfast. I expected much more.
- Pain au Chocolat: Too bready. The feel of bread sticking to your palate is unpleasant. I won't order it again for breakfast. It lacks something like jam or Nutella
I really am intrigued to know why many love to have breakfast at Paul. Is it for their unwelcoming waiters, the unprofessional repulsive cashier, the restraint restraint menu or the elevated prices?
Despite the beautiful setup and decoration, many local bakeries and diners offer a more extensive breakfast menu in a more joyful atmosphere. I'll let you know soon enough if the Beirut branch is the same...