Le Restaurant de Paul at Tower 42:
The City of London is a bit of a mystery to me, I’ve never worked in that part of town, when I did work centrally it was in the West End, and so any chance to get to know it better is always welcome. It certainly used to be the case that the City was pretty deserted in the evening after the post work drinks crowd had left for the day, and was definitely like a ghost town at the weekends apart from the odd tourist visiting Monument or St. Paul’s. In fact most pubs didn’t bother to open at weekends. Things have certainly changed, and there is a lively scene in the City now; with a wealth of bars and restaurants springing up.
We were asked to try out the new Paul restaurant in the City on a week night. Long-established as fine quality bakers, Paul opened a restaurant in Covent Garden a couple of years ago and is now doing the same at the foot of the impressive Tower 42. The space is divided into a lively bar with a DJ, and a modern bistro area. It did mean though that the music from the bar was quite intrusive until 9 p.m. when the volume reduced; if it were possible to reduced the volume played through the speakers in the bistro area I think it would create a nicer ambience.
The other slight oddity was the mismatched heights of the banquette and chairs. I’m short, there’s no escaping that fact (5ft nothing!), and sitting initially on the banquette I felt like a naughty school girl. I swapped with my 6 ft 1 inch partner, and then we were level!
We chose a cocktail each, a French 75 for me, and a Monkey a la Prune for my partner, this consisted of lemon juice, Evanagelista Liquirizia, plum wine and Monkey Shoulder. Mine came with a twist of red seasonal berries. Both were very good! We enjoyed these whilst choosing our dishes. The menu is about the right length for me, with a good selection of starters, meat, fish, and salads but avoiding becoming overwhelming. There were several vegetarian options too, although the choice was slightly more limited.
We couldn’t resist a basket of the bread that Paul is rightly so renowned for, and made our way through it whilst eating our starters. I had Coquilles St Jacques meuniere which was cooked to perfection, my Brixham scallops were seared and cooked beautifully in a tangy lemon and parsley sauce. This was very different from the heavy sauce and potato versions I’ve previously encountered, and truly delicious. My partner opted for smoked salmon from Severn & Wye with creme cheese, and thoroughly enjoyed the dish. We enjoyed our starters with a glass of chilled Sancerre chosen by the Somellier.
For our main courses I opted for Cabillaud a l’oseille, Roasted line caught cod, Brittany samphire, sorrel, mussel nage, whilst my partner felt the need for meat and had an Entrecote Scottish sirloin steak from the Queen’s butcher, Donald Russell, 28 days dry aged, provençale tomato, French fries with a béarnaise sauce. The steak was cooked rare, just how he likes it, and was a beautiful piece of meat. My cod was lovely, perfectly cooked, light and delicate. Our waiter declared that it was his favourite dish on the menu and I could see why. I stuck with the Sancerre whilst my partner enjoyed a glass of Crozes Hermitage chosen by the Somellier.
I was too full for a dessert, but my partner managed to find room for the classic Ile flottante consisting of poached meringue and homemade crème anglaise. It was devoured pretty quickly, so I’d say it was another success!
Our food was faultless, the service charming and attentive, with a good selection of drinks. I will happily return here next time I’m in the City, and I’m sure that it will be a successful venture for Paul.
Le Restaurant de PAUL Tower 42
Tower 42 – Ground Floor
25 Old Broad Street
London EC2N 1HQ