Saturday, October 29, 2022

Rainy Day Picks for Take-Out at PAUL Le Cafe

The lingering and unceasing rains from a last quarter storm reminds us all not to count out the year just yet. Seeking refuge from the rains, a stop at PAUL Le Cafe for a soothing Americano led to an indulgent take-out splurge of classic and comforting fresh-baked treats with some of my personal picks... 

PAUL Le Cafe weaves coffee and decadent viennoiserie into an elegant dining experience for its take on the art of coffee a la Francaise in a casual setting at Greenbelt 5. The name PAUL is synonymous with the quintessential French tradition, going as far back as 1889 when the iconic instirution was first established (for more on Paul Le Cafe, see my earlier post, The Art of Coffee A La Francaise at PAUL Le Cafe on the the opening of their Greenbelt 5 branch last March). The rains and a sudden craving for viennoiserie capped by a refreshing cup of Americano with its bold and robust notes was just what you needed, and one of the few things that seemed so right that rainy day. 

Noted food author Ige Ramos keenly observed that the enduring French institution "democratized good food and made it available to the citizens of the Republic and not just the chosen few. It's a place where you can buy affordable breakfast like croissants with jam and coffee or baguette with ham and cheese. And that's why PAUL positioned itself near train and bus stations so they're accessible to the commuting masses." At PAUL Le Cafe in Greenbelt 5, the transitory nature and on-the-go vibe of its customers bring a constant flow of activity with the fragrant aroma of freshly brewed coffee and baked viennoiserie straight off the ovens luring even more to this little spot of Paris in Makati. But if you do have the time, pick a seat and stay for a while. 

For many, the rains bring a melancholic mood. For some, the rains offer a contemplative change of pace (and yes, there's a specific group described as pluviophiles that find joy in the moody grey skies). Love it or hate it, rain or no rain, PAUL Le Cafe remains the right option for any mood or craving.  

The full-bodied and deep notes of the Americano (P 125) warms the palate with each sip for that much-needed respite from the incessant rains. One more sip, and you're ready for the not so easy task of trimming down your selection from the always tempting array of fresh-baked indulgences for take-out at PAUL Le Cafe...

Just look for Erika at PAUL Le Cafe and she'll gladly assist you with the selections, and your stash of traditional viennoiserie is packed, boxed and bagged ready to go. 

In the comfort of home, opening a box from PAUL Le Cafe becomes one of those sinful indulgences guaranteed to brighten up any cloudy overcast day. And here's my personal picks of fresh-baked specialties from the iconic French institution best enjoyed with a fresh pot of brewed coffee... 

...starting with the sweet and tart Apple Turnover (P 235) with its generous filling of apples wrapped in a light, flaky and delicately crisp layered pastry. Baked caramelized apples in a pastry are, after all, one of the many comforting and nostalgic flavors that never fails to warm and satisfy any palate. 

No PAUL Le Cafe experience is complete without the mandatory flaky Croissants (P 140) with its rich buttery notes and crisp textures. Inspired by the crescent symbol of invading Ottoman hordes immortalizing forever a dramatic victory over a long siege in the now familiar and distinctive croissant, PAUL Le Cafe presents both tradition and rich history in a perfectly executed pastry standing the text of time. Some credit Marie Antoinette for introducing the croissants to France and the upper class elite, but the croissants remain a ubiquitous treat cutting through demographics with its increasingly global appeal. At the end of the day, there's just nothing quite like croissants and coffee any day. It's as simple as that.

The Pain Au Chocolat (P 150) is another traditional and popular viennoiserie offered at PAUL Le Cafe, with premium chocolate wrapped in yeast-leavened laminated dough offering the same buttery and flaky texture we all love but with that added flavorful punch from the rich and deep notes of chocolate. 

The sweet buttery pastry pairs well with a bold cup of coffee, tempering the indulgent richness of the chocolate filling. On a rainy day, or any day, the Pain Au Chocolat and coffee combo just hits the spot. 

Another French classic draws your eyes at PAUL Le Cafe, with its uniquely long oblong shape. Made with choux pastry with a sweet cream filling draped in silky smooth chocolate, the Chocolate Eclair (P 220) is yet another indulgent layer threading your experience at PAUL Le Cafe. Hailed as one of the most popular pastries of France, the eclair is celebrated with its wide variety of inventive and creative expressions giving the dessert classic a cool contemporary update. The Chocolate Eclair by PAUL Le Cafe is one of those flavor experiences not to be missed.

The name "eclair" literally translates to "flash of lightning" for the simple reason that no eclair lasts on the plate after that first bite. It's gone in a flash, and you'll soon want another. Others say the name is inspired by the lightning-like sheen of the frosting, but the end result is the same and one eclair is gone too soon.

Like a profiterole, the soft choux pastry just melts in the mouth releasing sinfully decadent notes from the glaze and filling draping the palate with an indulgent richness. And if you love chocolate, this one's got your name on it. PAUL Le Cafe also offers other flavor variants like Hazelnut, Coffee, Ube and Strawberry

Another of my many personal indulgences revolve around almonds, and PAUL Le Cafe offers two variants of classic viennoiserie loaded with this most prized and elegant nut including the Almond Croissant (P 170).

The buttery richness of the flaky and crisp croissant becomes the perfect vessel for the subtle nutty sweetness of almonds. Filled with a sweet cream made from almonds and finished with a generous topping of thin almond slivers, the Almond Croissant delivers all the almond notes you're looking for with each big bite. Pure, nutty and clean notes with just a whisper of sweetness from the almonds, this is the almond fix with that lavish French flair you've been craving. Almonds and chocolate? PAUL Le Cafe has that covered too...

...with the equally indulgent Almond Pain Au Chocolat (P 180). Buttery and flaky laminated dough with chocolate and almonds, it just doesn't get better than that. It's the elegant weave of indulgent layers of flavors that keeps the Almond Pain Au Chocolat high on my list at PAUL Le Cafe. One bite to tease the palate, and another seals the deal. 

Straight from the ref or warmed in the oven, the Almond Pain Au Chocolat also pairs well with a freshly brewed cup of coffee anywhere and any time. Even on a rainy day like today. That's just some of my personal picks at PAUL Le Cafe, and they also offer a wide range of savory dishes from their menu including salads, sandwiches and more. More on that on my next visit.

It doesn't have to be a rainy overcast day to enjoy simple indulgences (sorry, pluviophiles), but any day you choose to reward yourself with a visit to PAUL Le Cafe. Rainy day or not, bring home the PAUL Le Cafe experience and enjoy a traditional and elegant French vibe any where you choose with the extensive selection of fresh-baked viennoiserie. What's your top picks at PAUL Le Cafe, I'd like to know... 

Paul Le Cafe is located at the Ground Level, Greenbelt 5, Makati. You can also visit their FB Page at for updates. 

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