Visited on Fulham Road, London
This visit came soon after Fait Maison. I have to admit, I wasn’t too crazy about the idea of another coffee… Then again, what am I saying, I’m always keen for coffee! Either way, Paul was not a planned choice; it just happened to be close to the cinema before the film that I was about to see with a friend. With half an hour to spare before the screening, we went for a short stroll around Chelsea – and ended up in there.
As a chain of French patisseries, Paul doesn’t disappoint in terms of first impressions. Warm decor and waitresses with aprons and cooks’ hats on complimented the scrumptious looking display of cakes, pasties, macaroons, breads and baguettes. Despite my everlasting appetite I decided to limit myself to a mocha, whilst my friend had a croissant with his espresso.
I made a mistake of chatting with my companion and glancing on the pastry case instead of focusing my attention on the waitress. Although I asked for soy milk I never noticed her steam or add the milk; I only turned my attention to her, in fact, when she asked, holding the half-full cup in hand:
“Would you like a light version? Our mocha is very strong.” Without thinking much about it – assuming she was talking about espresso – I said:
“No, no, strong is good!” and carried on with my conversation.
When we sat down by one of the tiny tables, we had a little accident that meant the photo for this review would be spoilt – I could have wiped the saucer and the cup with the only serviette we were given, but that would mean my friend would not have anything to clean his hands with after consuming the croissant, as he was not given any cutlery with it either.
I started sipping on my coffee and only then I realised that what the waitress was referring to as “strong” was the chocolate, not the espresso. I should have done my maths, as I saw her turn towards a big tank chocolate after asking the question… Anyway, the mocha reminded me somewhat of the one I had in a cafe in Cracow , made with filter coffee mixed with chocolate sauce. This one tasted quite like it… but much, much sweeter. Again, I could not taste any milk in it, just watery coffee with a lot of chocolate. It was, indeed, a struggle, despite my famous sweet-tooth and I had to give up two-thirds way through it. As for my friend’s espresso, he proclaimed it as rather “acidic”.
The staff were very polite, and the fact that the waitress offered to personalise my drink adds the place some extra points. This was not my best London experience, but it wasn’t the best either. I wouldn’t return to a Paul’s for coffee – but maybe some of their pastries would make up for the brew…
Mocha: £2.60 (tbc)
Verdict justification: Not the place to savour coffee, but there’s potential for a pleasant petit dejeuner.