Sweetening the afternoon at Paul’s in Angel…

Moving to Angel has so far proved to be one of the happiest London decisions I’ve ever made. I love the area, I love the community feel of it, I love sharing it with J. It’s lovely, lovely, lovely.

Saturday afternoon strolling down Upper Street means you are, quite literally, overwhelmed with places to eat and drink. Think of just about any global cuisine and you’ll find it there. Any type of meal at any time of day and again, you’ll find it there. It might not have been the key reason for moving here but the variety of places to spend a few happy hours is a definite plus.

The craving on this particular afternoon was for nothing fancy – coffee and cake. That’s it. After working up an appetite by pressing my face up against the glass of every bakery in the area in the style of a small orphan child,  Paul’s was selected.

I love Paris. I adore it. I t’aime it. I could quite easily live there and as a result, I love anywhere that even vaguely reminds me of it. If it’s a genuine and sincere and true reminder, perfect. If it’s actually not even very good but it’s vaguely Parisian, meh, that’s fine too. Paul’s is a lovely little representation of the first one. Glass shelves of beautiful patisserie beckoned and cosy and intimate tables, mostly full of yummy mummy meetings provided a nice fusion of chatter and laughter.

My resolution of being adventurous in eating was meant to extend to all meals and so it was that I opted for bilberry tart which was new to me, with the perfect fallback accompaniment of hot chocolate. The chocolate was divine. Rich and thick and served at the perfect temperature (because I actually do like the top layer of skin in my mouth), I could have drunk it down in one. Tequila is a no-no for me as several university friends and flatmates will attest to but this, oh this I could have had shot after shot after shot after shot. It was like someone had melted really great quality chocolate, thinned it out slightly with some cream and then poured it into my heart via my cup and my stomach.

And you know what else they would have found there, squirreled away in my heart? Bilberry tart. It it was utterly superb. Crisp, flaky pastry that fell apart on my fork, topped with the smoothest and creamiest crème patissiere and tiny, juicy, dark purple and glossy berries. They weren’t too sweet. They weren’t too sharp. Call me Goldilocks, but they were simply perfect.

It’s funny how your tastes change and develop as you get older…I always thought cake and patisserie had to be chocolate but sometimes, sacrilegious as it may sound, something else fits the bill even better and this was most definitely the case here. Paul’s is a chain yes, but I’d say it’s one of the smaller and one of the better. If you want a pit-stop without the steamed up windows and frantic over-crowding of one of the bigger coffee chains, Paul’s will tick all your boxes and then some.

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