Recently opened in Bangkok, these places offer bread, eclairs, ice creams, and other French delicacies worth stopping by to try.
by Laurence Civil.
Three very different French patisseries have recently opened in Bangkok.
Paul (1st floor Central Embassy, BTS Ploenchit; 02 001 5160) has brought its handcrafted French bread to the Thai capital. “All of our breads are baked in store with a special French flour called T65,” says chef Thanon Pongwichit, Paul’s head bakery chef for Thailand. “We bake four times a day, starting at 4 a.m. with breakfast items, and 11:30 a.m. for sweet items and sandwiches; in the afternoon we bake breads for dinner. Our croissants have a shelf life of four hours, baguettes five. We have quality control of what we serve: when any item looks tired, it comes off the display.”
“Baking is precision rather than speed,” he says, “and strict paperwork is essential to ensure everything is done precisely. Most Thais think croissant is a bread, while it’s actually a flakey viennoisserie, or Vienna-style pastry made with fermented butter. If the right techniques aren’t used, it will be fried rather than baked.”
Auguste Fauchon from Calvados, France, started the business as a fruit and vegetable stall in 1880 in Place de la Madeleine, Paris. Fauchon opened their first outlet at Groove @ Central World, and their second is in Siam Paragon (G Floor Siam Paragon; 02 610 7802). The eclair is Fauchon’s signature pastry and, unique to Thailand, the “Ayutthaya” version is filled with a coconut and lemongrass cream with just a touch of kafir lime juice. “Temperature is critical when making this éclair,” says executive chef Jerome Deconinck, “likewise, the precision required adding the lime juice. The flavor demands intensity but by one drop too much, the cream will separate.”
Ladurée (M floor Siam Paragon; 02 658 9308) is most talked about for their macarons, which are the most expensive in Bangkok. What is overlooked is their tea room, tucked away at the far end of the macaron counter. Its elegantly chic interior is an identical reconstruction of their Salon du The on the Champs-Élysées, Paris. Genteelly sip on their own tea blend, graze on macarons or indulge in an ice cream sundae.
Temptations such as Isfahan (rose ice cream and raspberry sorbet mixed with lychee and raspberry, topped with Chantilly cream and raspberry coulis) and poire maron (chestnut ice cream and pear sorbet combined with Chantilly cream, chestnut, and pear in syrup) are both served in silver bowls.
Welcome to Bangkok chic.