x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Food obsession: Naughty little taste of heaven

The secret of PappaRoti is in the buttery fluff on the inside of the bun. But that's only one very delicious part of the story.

The buttery-sweet bun is at once soft and crisp. Courtesy Pappa Roti
The buttery-sweet bun is at once soft and crisp. Courtesy Pappa Roti

I will preface my love of these buns by saying I don't like to eat white bread, or buns, or things that are obviously laden with carbohydrates and very little in the way of vegetables, fruit or protein. I've learnt the hard way they make me feel too full and very sleepy and a bit fat.

That's why I wasn't lining up for a PappaRoti when the outlet opened in Abu Dhabi Mall, despite being intrigued by the concept. Of course there was the outrageous claim - "The Father of All Buns" (really? Of all buns?) - and the curious, slightly burnt coffee smell that lingers around the space. And then there's the sight of a group of people, all eating the same thing: what appears to be a dry, very plain-looking brown bun.

And so I resisted, for weeks, until one night I was seized by the moment, grabbing one and sneaking it inside the cinema next door.

The first bite was transformative, somehow managing to be at once crunchy and gummy (in a good way); buttery and sweet. The poster says the secret of PappaRoti is in the buttery fluff on the inside of the bun. But I say that's only one very delicious part of the story. I think it's the buttery fluff combined with caramel coffee butter carefully applied to the top of the exterior in concentric ribbons, which melts and bakes into a crisp, sweet layer once popped into the oven.

This is what transforms a PappaRoti into something extraordinary, backing up a once-outrageous claim. The shop was introduced to the Middle East four years ago by the Emirati entrepreneur Rasha Al Danhani, and I feel the need to personally thank her. This little piece of heaven is Dh11 alone - prices vary when combined with hot beverages - and, let's be honest: it's the perfect treat post pretty much any meal.

aMcQueen@thenational.ae

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