Sugared & Spiced

paris, pâtissière in training

[SHANGHAI] Farine

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Farine

Add: Ferguson Lane, 1/F, 378 Wukang Lu, near Tai’an Lu / 武康路378号1楼, 近泰安路
Tel: 6433 5798
Hours: 7am-8pm
Price: [pastry] 25-40 RMB [viennoiserie]14-20 RMB [coffee] 30-40 RMB
Website: www.farine-bakery.com
Visited: Jan 2015

Franck Pecol knows how to create little corners of France here in Shanghai. I was a fan of his Franck and Le Petit Franck when I lived in Shanghai a few years back, and soon after I moved to Paris I heard that he opened an excellent bakery called “Farine”, also located in the same block. Apparently he produces the best baguettes and croissants in town thanks to imported ingredients from France and artisanal know-how. Perfect, I thought, this means that when I’m back in Shanghai, I will have a little piece of something to remind me of the good old days in Paris.

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Farine is “flour” in French. “In flour we trust,” as is written on the wall, seems to be the mantra at the shop. On an unrelated note, I like this slightly eery and awkward-looking baker boy in the window.

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The space is small, with a display of pastries, viennoiseries and breads on the right, counter and coffee machine at the front center, and some bar stools on the left. There is an outdoor communal table out on the patio for days with pretty weather, which are unfortunately not so common right now in Shanghai.

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January 29th, 2015 at 2:46 am

[SHANGHAI] Flask

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Flask

Add: 432 Shanxi Nan Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu / 陕西南路432号, 近复兴中路
Tel: 3368 6108
Hours: [Mon-Sat] 7pm-2am (closed on Sun)
Price: 90 RMB/cocktail
Visited: Jan 2015

A sandwich shop called “The Press” recently opened on Shanxi Nan Lu. Glass façade, sharp concrete corners, neon strip lights that read “get your hands dirty”, a painting of superman munching away, and a vintage coca-cola vending machine. The emptiness and the eeriness of it remind me of Edward Hopper’s paintings, and it’s definitely not a place that you’d voluntarily venture in if you just happen to pass by.

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…unless you already know that there’s something curious about this coca-cola vending machine.

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Pull open the door and pass through the tunnel hidden just behind. Welcome to Flask, the newest addition to Shanghai’s growing speakeasy scene.

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The space is designed by Alberto Caiola. A few prominent features of the interior include the dramatic drop ceiling, a wall of giant whisky bottles illuminated by amber lights, and the sleekly arranged bar itself. More details here.

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January 27th, 2015 at 1:29 pm

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[SHANGHAI] Sushi Oyama 大山鮨 (3)

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Sushi Oyama 大山鮨

Add: 2/F, 20 Donghu Lu, near Huaihai Lu 東湖路20號2樓, 近淮海路
Tel: 5404 7705
Hours: 6:30pm-10:30pm (closed Sunday)
Price: 1280 RMB/person, drinks extra
Visited: Jan 2015

When I was living in Shanghai a few years ago, Sushi Oyama used to be my favorite sushi bar in town. I was never a regular guest because I couldn’t afford to be one – the omakase was priced at 800 RMB/person (recently increased to 1280 RMB/person) – but during the few times I dined here, Oyama-san always made it a very memorable evening (details here). As I’m back in Shanghai for a few weeks of vacation, I decided to come here again despite the fact that a number of other places have opened since my departure.

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Impressively, Oyama-san (not in above photo) still recognized me even though the last time I came here was four years ago. He remembers my blog, where I worked, and even where I sat during my first visit. I told him that I am now a pâtissière in Paris, and we had a pleasant time catching up throughout dinner. Very friendly, as always.

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So, on to the food. Dinner started with a delightful trio of ark clam (赤貝), botan shrimp (牡丹海老), and smoked scallop (帆立の燻製)

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January 23rd, 2015 at 4:55 am

[SHANGHAI] Doe

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Doe

Add: 105, 88 Tong Ren Lu / 铜仁路 88 号 105
Tel: 6180 8378
Hours: 10am-9:30pm
Price: 24~46 RMB/coffee
Visited: Jan 2015

I wouldn’t have ventured into DOE if not introduced by a friend. The shop is primarily a streetwear boutique featuring its in-house label DOE 餖, as well as familiar names like Nike, Jordan, Converse and selected brands from Japan, U.S., and Europe. Not really my type of place to visit, until I discovered that it also doubles as a cafe serving quality coffee. What I love about the space is its tiered stadium seating instead of the typical table-and-chair setup, making it an extra chill and comfortable hangout spot.

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January 21st, 2015 at 3:32 pm

[SHANGHAI] Aimé Pâtisserie

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Aimé Pâtisserie

Add: 1008 Middle Huaihai Rd (near South Shanxi Rd) / 淮海中路1008号 (近陕西南路)
Tel: 6481 0558
Hours: 12-9pm
Price: 32-45 RMB/pastry, 18 RMB/macaron
Visited: Jan 2014

When I was still in Paris, someone on weibo sent me photos of a shop called Aimé Pâtisserie which recently opened in Shanghai, and asked if it has anything to do with Pierre Hermé. I was confused as I browsed through photos of its products, which are so similar to those of Pierre Hermé in terms of flavor combination, design, and even packaging, but they are clearly not from Pierre Hermé himself. What’s going on? I later found out that this is a flagrant case of copying. From what I heard, the French owner hired an ex-employee from Pierre Hermé Japan, who brought along PH’s original recipes, and basically reproduced many of his products here in Shanghai.

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I heard through the grapevine that Pierre Hermé himself found out about this, and actually came to Shanghai to tell off on this Japanese pastry chef who copied his creations, and the Japanese chef subsequently left Shanghai. Apparently Pierre Hermé was so angry that he also told all of his ingredient suppliers to not supply to Aimé Pâtisserie. I don’t know what actually happened since I heard all this through industry gossip, but if it did, it must have been a pretty ugly scene.

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January 19th, 2015 at 12:53 am

[SHANGHAI] Ataraxia Studio

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Ataraxia Studio

Add: Alley 351 Huashan Lu, No 19, 1F / 华山路 351弄19号1楼
Tel: 6271 6901
Hours: [Fri] 2-5pm [Sat-Sun] 1-5pm (closed Mon-Thu)
Price: 50RMB/coffee
Visited: Jan 2015

I haven’t visited Shanghai since moving to Paris in 2012, and upon returning two and a half years later, I’m delighted to find the city blossoming with not just hip new restaurants, but also small shops with their own attitudes. Ataraxia Studio, opened about 6 months ago in August 2014, is one such charming spot. Tucked all the way in the innermost corner of 351 Huashan Lu, this space houses a collection of tableware and furniture, many of which hand-carried back from Japan. The owner is a Shanghainese man who calls himself 管家 (the housekeeper), an interior/space designer who travels to Japan 6-7 times a year because he is so enamored with the culture and lifestyle there. His day job keeps him busy and brings in enough money so he can afford to open Ataraxia Studio only 3 days a week (Fri-Sun). It’s not really advertised, but he will also brew you a lovely cup of coffee from his next door kitchen if you’d like.

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January 17th, 2015 at 11:07 pm

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[PARIS] Tea Time at Shangri-la

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La Bauhinia, Shangri-la Paris

Add: 10 avenue d’Iéna, Paris 75116
Tel: 01 53 67 19 91
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 3:30-5:30pm [Sat-Sun] 4-5:30pm
Website: www.shangri-la.com
Price: [tea set] 39/one person, 70/two persons [a la carte] 12-14/pastry, €12-16/tea
Visited: Jan 2015

I kind of fell in love with La Bauhinia at The Shangri-la the moment I stepped in. Crowned with a gorgeous glass cupola, the entire two-story space is bathed in soft natural light, its mint green walls and royal red sofas in soothing harmony with one another. The tranquil ambience has an immediate calming effect, and when paired with the perfect service – warm, attentive, but not in the least bit intrusive – this has got to be one of the loveliest venues for afternoon tea in Paris.

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As it is January, François Perret (head pastry chef of Shangri-la Paris) has galettes des rois ready for guests. I didn’t try any this time, but there was a clementine marmalade galette that sounded very tempting.

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January 8th, 2015 at 10:36 am

[PARIS] Café Pouchkine Saint-Germain

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Café Pouchkine Saint-Germain

Add: 155 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 75006 
Tel: n/a
Hours: 10am-10pm (open daily)
Website: www.cafe-pouchkine.fr
Price: [pastries] 7.90~10.20 [drinks] €6.10~6.40
Visited: Jan 2015

I’ve never been a fan of Café Pouchkine. Like I wrote in a previous post, the pastries here are real attention grabbers with their dramatic colors, sensual forms, and lavish use of gold leaves, but I personally find the taste to be rather disappointing. Having said that, its third and newest location in Paris, situated on the very posh Boulevard Saint-Germain, is rather attractive as it’s not just a boutique, but a salon de thé as well. Since most pastry shops in Paris don’t offer seats to customers, Café Pouchkine Saint-Germain naturally becomes one of the more interesting options.

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There are about 35 seats in the 80m² cafe. It’s not an especially spacious room, but tables are placed at a comfortable distance from one another for Parisian standard (read: slightly better than elbow to elbow). I visited on a Sunday afternoon, and the space quickly filled up around 4pm.

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One thing I loved about Café Pouchkine Saint Germain was the friendly and attentive service, despite it being a full house during my visit. From taking orders to refilling teapots with hot water, the staff always served with a warm smile.

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The pastry selection is exactly the same as those at Cafe Pouchkine’s Printemps and Marais boutiques.

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January 6th, 2015 at 4:02 pm

[PARIS] Buvette Gastrothèque

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Buvette

Add: 28 rue Henri Monnier, Paris 75009
Tel: 01 44 63 41 71

Hours: 10am-midnight (open daily)
Website: www.ilovebuvette.com
Price: €7~12/item
Visited: Jan 2015

Buvette Gastrothèque, originally opened in New York based on the concept of a Parisian wine bar, has been brought back to the City of Lights itself. Within the past two months I have already visited this cozy little place three times, in love with its bustling vibe, delicious (and affordable) food, friendly service, and the fact that it’s open 7 days a week. 

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The food menu is a succinct one-pager, while its drinks counterpart is a hefty booklet. On the food side, the list is divided into “sur le pouce” (on the go), vegetables, fish, meats, eggs, waffles, croque sandwiches, charcuterie, and cheeses. On the drinks side, there are beers, wines, cocktails, cocktails, and cocktails.

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As it was Sunday brunch time, we filled out table with sunny items like museli with greek yogurt, french toasts, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, waffle sandwich, and orange juice served in a cute little jar.

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January 4th, 2015 at 10:40 pm

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[PARIS] Sadaharu Aoki (3)

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Sadaharu Aoki

Add:  35 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris*
Tel: +33 1 45 44 48 90
Hours: [Tue-Sat] 11am~7pm [Sun] 10am~6pm (closed on Mon)
Website: www.sadaharuaoki.com
Price: €5~6/patisserie
Tasted on: Dec 2014

Sadaharu Aoki, famed for combining Japanese ingredients in French pastries, now has three shops in Paris – the newest one being in the recently renovated Lafayette Gourmet. It was a year and a half ago when I last had an Aoki pastry (see here and here), and I haven’t gone back in so long because I wasn’t too convinced by what I tasted last time. This Saturday morning, however, I was in a green tea state of mind, and decided to pay the shop a visit. Get ready for lots of green.

*Additional locations available, check website for detail.

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Tarte Caramel Matcha (€5.30), a recently launched variation on Aoki’s Tarte Caramel Salé, is an eye-catcher and no less intense in taste. The perfectly piped green spiral of matcha mousse has a strong taste (in comparison to the more subtle flavors in Aoki’s other matcha pastries), and underneath it is a salted caramel that’s both very sweet and salty. I quite liked it, but only in small doses – 1/4 of the tart at a time is perfect.

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Written by sugarednspiced

December 21st, 2014 at 12:26 pm