Both a French patisserie and â€˜casual restaurantâ€™ Brioche Doree offer an alternative to PAUL. Tucked in a cornerÂ of the Mall of Arabia opposite the womens branch of Zara, Brioche Doree has an exposed feel due to its lack of walls, open on both sides, the cafÃ© is perfect for a healthy dose of people watching, where you can see yourself relaxing for a moment and escaping (albeit temporarily) from the hustle and bustle of the mall.
As this was the first time we had come across the brand (another notch on the list of Al Hokairs F&B imports) we didnâ€™t really know what to expect. From the large display cabinets we saw bread, lots of it in fact; further round the corner a handful of sandwiches, and opposite these was a larger selection of mouth-watering looking cakes.
With no menu on display above the counter or on the table we found ourselves perched around, we ended up approaching the counter and ordering with little to go on. Looking for a quick snack I asked about the beef sandwich on display, the Saudi cashier was more than helpful and explained it was a pastrami sandwich (30 SR), sliced on tartare sauce with lettuce, red onions and served in a brioche bread. His knowledge was impressive, and resulted in a quick sale.
Moving round the counter the cakes looked too good to resist, and so we also ordered a mixed selection to go.Â From the patisseries, we tried the apple tart, Chocolate tart, Chocolate brioche, Chocolate and Banana tart, Lemon tart, Flan nature, Mille feuilles, and the white chocolate and raspberry tart, all around 14 SR per slice.
Finally we paid and just as we were leaving we noticed crepes being prepared behind the counter, odd we thought, as we had mistakenly assumed all that was on offer was in the display cabinets. How wrong we were, upon realizing other items might actually be available, we asked the cashier about a menu which he magically produced from behind the counter, and the â€˜casual restaurantâ€™ description of Brioche Doree began to make sense.
Everything from crepes to full course meals was available, but from our perspective the atmosphere wasnâ€™t quite what we would hope for a full sit down meal. Not only were the tables surprisingly small, (they were more akin to cafÃ© furniture -not ideal for lingering), but they were also placed in such close proximity to each other, a private conversation was almost out of the question.A gaggle of noisy children with nanny in tow then appeared, sealing the deal; and we took the sandwich (and cakes) home.
So there is little we can tell you of the main courses at Brioche, but plenty of their sandwich and desserts, which I can happily say, impressed all of the family once home.Â The Pastrami sandwich was good,the tartare sauce going well with the salad garnish and meat, but the filling was a little thin, the bread making up the main substance of the sandwich.
The Chocolate brioche was sweet and dense, but even better after a few short seconds in the microwave â€“ the chocolate chips then a melted and fused into the brioche. As for the â€˜Flan Natureâ€™, this was an experience in its own right, a traditional French dessert; bright yellow, the custardy tart was not quite gelatinous, but wobbly none the less, rich and creamy, perfect with an espresso or CafÃ© au lait!.
The Raspberry and White chocolate tart was delicious, properly made, the white chocolate firm on the surface, and smooth and creamy beneath save for the expected raspberries at its centre which provided a burst of fruit juice countering the strength of the white chocolate. The other tarts were equally impressive. Itâ€™s a shame we didnâ€™t get round to the main courses, but we will have to drop back for those. Perhaps you can share you experiences at Brioche Doree, let us know how you got on in the comments. Bon appÃ©tit!Read more