Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jacques Genin II - (Paris)

 My last visit to Jacques Genin (review here) was fairly impressive,  mostly because of executional accuracy in the micro-scale.   His chocolates,  caramels and pastries might not be mind blowing stuff in terms of creativity in recipes,  rather, he spends his effort to concentrates on improving upon the basic formulas and precision.




Salted Caramel Mille-Feuille -
This is made a la minute,  and as you can see with my cutting action in the video attached,  super flaky and also buttery.  This visit was already slightly less flaky than my last visit but it was still awesome.   The caramel crème patissier this time however seemed slightly less concentrated than my last visit in 2012.    It’s no longer as out of this world but it is still quite perfect.  ~  9.5/10 

Chocolates and Lemon,  Lime & Basil Tart -
I already had this lemon tart on my radar during last time but once it was sold out by the time I was ready to eat it,  and when I returned to the shop it was closed prematurely.   This time around it was easier to revisit as my hotel was only 50m away from it.     This Lemon Tart is simply sublime.   The lemon curd was just right runny,  with a tanginess from both the lemon and lime,   with additional layering enhanced by the addition of basil leaves.   It seemed not as sour as the Pierre Herme (II) version but just right here.   The pastry tart base more on the harder side however, which is normal in France,  although Pierre Herme version was more approachable in this regard.   ~  12/10

Hot Chocolate -
Have got to say this wasn’t really my cup of chocolate.  It is not bad per se,  and it is thick viscous.  However I found this to be both too sour and dry-bitter  -  instead of being more naturally fruity and also carrying more layering.   I think I needed to add in more cream to balance it out.   ~  6.9/10




IMG_8168-1There has been some minor changes -
Dessert pastries are no longer shown at the display,  2ndly you cannot order them as Take-Away items any more.   Apparently,  Jacques Genin decided that only the freshest of pastries should be served at any time – and he doesn’t trust that you will eat it within the prime window during take-out.    Such are the meticulous details the Master delves into.  How can you not admire here?




Price:   Euro 25
Ease of Access:   3/5
Food:   ♕♕♕♕♕1/2 - ♕♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
11am – 7pm Mon to Fri
11am – 8pm on Sat. 

Address: 133, rue de Turenne 75003
Ph: 01 45 77 29 01


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Des Gateaux et du Pain - (Paris)

Female pastry chef Claire Damon once worked under her mentor Pierre Herme and had also taken time at honing her skills working alongside 3* Christophe Michalak.   She now owns her personal Pastry shop  -  both her Breads and Cakes are considered state of the art,  the best amongst the elites in Paris from every circle you hear from.    Her artisanal Croissants and Breads are consistently rated to be the best in Paris,  even more so than the likes of Pierre Herme or Eric Kayser.   Interestingly enough,  Des Gateaux et du Pain is located not far away from one of the Pierre Herme Vaugirard stores as well. 



Viennoiserie and Pastries -
Looking good at 1st glance..  1st thing that crossed my mind is,  I need a bigger stomach.




Overall Enticing looking Pastry Cakes -
Recipes wise they are sound enough on paper,  although most are to be trusted flavour combinations.  They do however,  look very neat and carries precision. 



Cakes -
Definitely artisanal.  Actually the pastry items here and the overall layout reminds me totally of Hugo & Victor.   Both are slick and cladded in black,  and the pastry items looking so accurately done.


Artisanal Breads -
Touted as one of the best in Paris.  I ended up only trying the Croissant,  as you need to buy too much bread in order to try them out.  Next time around,  I wish someone could share with me…




Croissant -
Named by many to be the BEST croissant within Paris, this was definitely very delicate and precisely done.   The external layers were folded well and upon biting in,  it was very flaky and also buttery for once.    The inside of her croissant was more softer in comparison.   By looks, symmetry and external layers wise,  I rate here above the top notch Pierre Herme version.  But it doesn’t have that glass-shattering effect when one bites into the Pierre Herme version,  and for that matter, also Le Grenier du Pain version which I recently re-tried again.   Each to their own,  and I can so see why many rate this as the No.1 Croissant in Paris.  ~  9.5/10




A Rhubarb Choux Pastry -
Apparently a newer item that is updated over a previous version.  This was very fresh rather than some of the stale choux pastries you receive occasionally.  The crème patissier inside was light,  the rhubarbs were fairly sour in comparison.   Loved it.  ~  9/10



J’Adore la Fraise -
Almond Gateau with Strawberries.  This was great and executed well.   I don’t think it wowed me as one of her signature cakes,  and Dalloyau also serves one that looks exactly the same.  But yes I did fall in love with this,  but don’t expect it to fly to the moon either.  ~  9/10





Price:   Euro $12
Ease of Access:   4/5
Food:   ♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Wed to Monday -  8:00am to 20:00pm
Tues – Closed

Address: 63 Boulevard Pasteur, 75015 Paris, France
Ph: +33 1 45 38 94 16

Monday, July 22, 2013

Eric Kayser - (Paris)

 I have been made aware of baker Eric Kayser for a while due to reading David Lebovitz’s website over the years.    One can also purchase his iPhone app (Paris Pastry) which is fairly useful to navigate around Paris desserts and boulangerie shops,  although the latest update seems to need data connection.    Having strolled past Eric Kayser and taken a quick scan over a few times as they tend to be located in popular suburbs,   this time around I was finally lured in to see if there is any discrepancy between the French Eric Kayser standard vs the version we get in Hong Kong!



Many of the Sweet Items are available on Hong Kong side too -
Although over here they do look a bit neater and without any irregular patterns or extra-muscle growths out from nowhere.  



Baguette Sandwich Options -
Not overly artisanal in style to me,  but they do look clean and presentable.   The take-away savory department is where Paris Eric Kayser excels over the HK version,  although HK has a café side to compensate.   The items in Paris look neater.


Boulangerie and Viennoiserie bakery side -
These look neat again,  much better than the HK outlet by visual alone.
I guess I will just have to taste some below to come to any meaningful conclusion!



Salads, Quiches, and Madeleines -
Looking like they were made with precision enough.



Fig Bread -
The bread was both crusty & chewy,  it entertained my five senses 1stly with a nice aroma from both wheat and the fig.  Very likeable,  apart from the slightly too soft wet interior.  Could eat this everyday and was baked so evenly as you can see.   8/10



Award Winning Croissant by Eric Kayser -
I won’t label this as mediocre but it was definitely sparse and soft inside,  it took some teeth tearing action.  Whether this ended up being buttery enough is relegated to becoming a secondary issue.   The Hong Kong version in fact is very close to here,  just less even in the baking appearance and even more sparse within.   ~  6.9/10




Financier -
Paris Eric Kayser’s  financier version was amazingly addictive.   Despite the lack of surface shine,  this had highly caramelized top and edges which were almost crunchy to the lips.  Also eggy inside and scented with baking aroma.  Financier alone was well worth a re-visit and this was much better than the wet muffin like version we get in Hong Kong side. A big surprise! ~  9/10




Price:   Euro $5
Ease of Access:   4/5
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ to ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours:
Check Individual Stores

Address: 18 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, France
Ph: +33 1 42 61 27 63

Friday, July 19, 2013

Hawaienne 泰源 - [Paris]

 There are many Vietnamese restaurants in Paris which developed during that epoch from when the French empire ruled over the Indochine region.   A typical Vietnamese sandwich Banh Mi if one must question their concept and origin,  is much like a modified French baguette sandwich.     I believed it was prime time for me to come back to the 2nd Chinatown area for re-exploration,  only minutes away from République after going back too much to the other Chinatown. 



There are many Chinese and Vietnamese shops scattered around Belleville area -
Also a handful of Tunisian shops found towards the side.  This is definitely an immigrants quarter.  




Longan Drink -
With Lotus seeds, Longan fruit,  Lychee.  This was not syrupy and about just right.
In fact this was one of the best versions I remembered having as it was well balanced..  ~  9/10




Herbs and Sauce,  Lemon -
You can see they correctly carried Culantro herb (Ngo Gai) here,  to me the most essential central herb to making a good bowl of beef pho.   Many shops slack off or never carry this due to rising costs,  which is surely robbing it of the experience.   The other mint leaf present tonight was a surprise,  since instead of the expected Thai Basil (Húng Quế) it was more like Lemon Balm.




Pho Dac Biet – Special Beef Noodles Combination
The soup was clear but one dimensional sweet from uncaramelized onions thrown in.  Slightly out of whack in balance as it was too sweet sugary but luckily enough,  it carried enough beef bone broth underneath it to support it all for rectification.  A few drops of soy sauce and hoisin sauce from my side nearly fixed the sweetness tendency temporarily.   The sliced beef were pink tender,  the Tendons and tripes cooked accurately.    Although the other notable beef noodles I ate at Pho Song Huong (Paris) or Pho Banh Cuon 14 (Paris) fared better as a total package,  this one wasn’t too shabby at all either.  ~  7/10


Glass Rice Noodles cooked to Perfect Degree -
The tendons were cooked well and as good as you can realistically dream of over on the weekend!



Hawaienne is definitely Not As Bad As I would have Thought -
It’s currently not at the top elite level of Vietnamese or French-Vietnamese dining still,  if you ask me.  Perhaps it doesn’t need to be either – the market will eventually sort itself out as I am free to choose next time!



Dong Huong to me isn’t very authentic,  but it is super popular -



Price:   Euro $12
Ease of Access:   4/5 
Food:   ♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Every Day -  9:00am to 11:00pm

Address: 15 rue Louis Bonnet, 75011, Paris, France
Ph: 01 43 57 15 64

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

La Ruban Patisserie - (Taipei)

 Taipei has some amazing Pastry Shops.   Having just been back to Paris for a week for holidays when simultaneously I tried frantically in-between my time slots to finish off some meaningful Taiwanese posts,  I have got to say Taipei definitely isn’t losing out in the desserts battle compared to the likes of Paris and Tokyo.   My summary is that Japan has the creamiest and prettiest looking cakes and neat in presentation,  but Paris in comparison is rock solid and pastries on average aren’t quite as light but more traditional.   Taipei in the mean time either has solid performances such as here,  or they can be really creative as seen in other places with their own creations. 



The Cakes and Pastries definitely look Asian to me -
It’s definitely not French in appearance,  also not as fanciful looking as Japanese ones.  But they are still creative.



Bigger Cakes -
Looks a bit generic but still presentable enough..



Pear Mousse and Jelly, Caramel Mousse and Almond Cake -
La Ruban cakes to me don’t look too appealing to me.  But having said that all the advertised flavours here were apparent in the mouth,  which is a rarity these days. ~ 8.5/10



Walnut Nougat, Caramel Chocolate Mousse, Dacquoise base -
With a crispy Caramelized layer on top.   Once again I didn’t find this cake to look stunning but the minor details and executions are all there.  ~  8/10




Yogurt Chocolate Mousse, Rose & White Peach Panna Cotta,
Lychee Kanten, Organic Rose Petal,  Berries -
The stand out was the sugarized rose petal.  Although this looks just like any other verrine glass served dessert,   I think the combination really worked.  ~  9/10




Passionfruit Mousse,  Chocolate Cake, Caramel Mousse, Lemon Dacquoise -
The presence of chocolate in many pastries here is bothering me a bit already.  Luckily they turned out to have vastly different results in the end from the similar bases..   This was quite refreshing from a tartness and the white chocolate which wasn’t too sweetened.  ~  8/10




Lemon Cake – Fresh Lemon, Organic Egg, Kumamoto Flour, French d’Isgny Butter -
This was a little dry to me but the taste was good, with icing layer on top.  ~  7.5/10




Passion Fruit Cheese Cake, Passion Fruit Cheese Mousse, Buttered Pastry Base -
With a passion fruit glazing on top.  Tart sour and refreshing,  this was also light.  I still think half of the cakes here aren’t particularly impressive in presentation but it definitely did otherwise,  in showcasing their advertised flavours and are well balanced.    ~  7.5/10




Home made Lemon Jam, Lemon Curd, Lime Egg-White Meringue, Almond Tart -
Even slightly baked and with silver foil and what seemed like freeze-dried raspberries.  I have got to say this was one of the most amazing Lemon tarts I have had ever!   I don’t make such claims easily.   Having been to Pierre Herme Paris again just this week to re-try my favourite Lemon Tart,  this one was actually even more impressive in comparison.  Definitely one of the must-orders here.  ~  12/10




Desserts Over-load !




Lemon Financier -
I like mine financiers well caramelised at the edges but not dry inside.  It is hard to beat the one at Hugo & Victor (Paris) or Hidemi Sugino (Tokyo),  and lately I found the rounded version in Eric Kayser was also exceptional though extreme.  This was slightly too moist for me but it was well flavoured with the advertised lemon.  ~  7.5/10




Chocolate Tart,  Chocolate Crisp, Single Origin Chocolate Mousse, Caramel Hawaiian Nuts -
Whilst I liked this a lot and with it’s rough nuts base,  I think the chocolate mousse and caramels have seen a few presences today.  I really liked the taste of this cake mind you but it is getting a little repetitive by now.  I even believe they can trim down on their numbers of offering here as it is getting confusing as a customer!   Nevertheless appreciated.  ~  9/10



La Ruban Patisserie -
The pastries here won’t win on pure presentation or by the too many offerings all at one.  It won my heart by execution in caring about  the most minor details and the final taste outcome.   You could take a patisserie like this for granted,  but not even some of the best pastry shops in Paris will offer you the same taste personally with such accurate taste to ingredient. 




Price:   TWD $600 Per Person
Food:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -   12:00pm – 18:00 pm

Address: 大安區仁愛路四段300巷20弄11號1樓
No. 11, Alley 20, Lane 300, Section 4, Rén'ài Rd, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10693 ‎
Ph: +886 2 2700 3501

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kyoto Ya 鰻料理京都屋 - (Taipei)

 I noticed many people eating loads of Japanese food in Taipei,  but little did I realized how many times I also did so myself until I looked back at my own photo albums!!   Previously we already visited the much lauded  浜松や Hamamatsu Ya,  one of the 3-4 famous eel shops within the same district but which turned out to be a below-par experience.    Anyway since I was walking to Coffee Sweet,  I saw Kyoto Ya and 肥前屋 along the way and dinner was settled!



Smells like Charcoal already -
From the outside.   Taiwan has lots more charcoal-based cooking places than Hong Kong,  which is too strict with the fire regulations if you ask my opinion.  What’s more,  there are actually no dedicated Unagi-eel restaurants in Hong Kong either,  it’s one of those odd omissions .  I suspect a major reason is because eel prices have been on the rise every year and the very business-oriented investors in Hong Kong wouldn’t want to touch it?



Eel Chawan Mushi – Egg Custard
It is served sans any Japanese herbs,  which is still odd to me.   It’s also a little rough.  ~ 6/10




Cold Eels -
What I liked about this shop is that if you order an eel course, they give you lots of them.




Eel Salad -
Not sure if this is repetitive with the Unagi rice below in concept.  If you love eel however,  it is never too much!!  ~  7/10



Eel Egg Roll – Umaki
Grilled omelette with eel.  This was quite smooth and one of the best items,  although the eggs taste could still be stronger.  ~  8/10



Grilled Eel Livers -
My side order.  This was decent with a sweetish kabayaki sauce and smokiness from the charcoal bed.   The cooking time was also spot on,  moist inside and just caramelize-glazed outside.  ~  8/10



Shira-Yaki Unagi – White Grilled Eel
The eel flavour and also charcoal aroma was much more apparent than the other shop.  Anyway the wasabi was  a powdered type which lets it down a bit.  What was also interesting was the presence of all the lime, scallions, pickled ginger and the two daikon oroshi at once.  In Japan you just get one or the other,  or with some salt.  Seems like here they tried to give you the whole package so you can choose for yourself.   ~  8/10




The Unagi Set Meal -



Unaju – Unagi Rice
The unagi was very fragant and crispy on the skin.  The meat as I agreed with another foodie who visited afterwards,  was a little too lean.  I just think it wasn’t the best season to eat fatty eel which will be towards Autumn-Winter.  The rice and sauce was also pretty authentic to the Japan taste.  Really liked this but only if it could be less lean.  ~   9/10




Eel Liver Soup -
This is the norm when you eat at Unagi restaurants in Japan. Here they tried to replicate the same. The same can’t be said about my other experience at 浜松や Hamamatsu Ya , which was missing all the components despite us paying extra for the so-called fresh slaughtered eel.  This shop was a much better and pleasant experience in general ~ 7/10




Price:   TWD $1500 Per Person
Food:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2
Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -   11:30 am – 2:00 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm

Address:  No. 41號, Tiānjīn St, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104
Ph: +886 2 2541 9803


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...