KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 – First, the foundation: a buttery yet not too crumbly shortcrust pastry tart shell. Then build it up with a generous layer of velvety crème pâtissière, a subtle vanilla fragrance dancing around it like perfume.
Finally a coat of fresh strawberries, standing guard almost, edge kissing edge, announcing its sublime sweetness to the world. Majestic.
This particular rendition of the classic Tarte Aux Fraises (French strawberry tart) is a delicate delight and is the masterpiece – the "crown”, if you will – of the newly opened Á Paris Bakehouse in Bandar Sri Damansara.
Nestled in a quiet corner of Ativo Plaza, Á Paris Bakehouse is the latest kid on the block offering coffee, croissants and more. But what sets it apart from the rest?
To begin, its interior truly exudes vibes of a Parisian café. Large windows separating the cosy outdoor seating from tables inside.
The display of freshly baked breads and delicate pastries secures the shop’s reputation as both a viennoiserie and pâtisserie.
French nomenclature can be tricky for some. Viennoiserie typically refers to "breakfast pastries” such as croissants while pâtisserie are lighter and sweeter, such as the aforementioned Tarte Aux Fraises.
Confusingly, a shop offering these baked products are sometimes also called by the names of the products respectively! (At least you know what you’re going to get when you enter, yes?)
Suffice to say that Á Paris Bakehouse is both a viennoiserie and pâtisserie, and offers a respectable range of both types of treats: from almond croissants and canelé with caramelised crusts to danishes topped with a rainbow assortment of fruits – mango and orange, grapes and blueberries.
These exquisite creations are courtesy of partners JJ Theong and Kai Chang, co-owners of Á Paris Bakehouse.
Both are experienced pastry chefs, with Theong specialising in bread and Chang more of a maestro with cakes.
Some of the most popular pastries in the house are the fruit danishes. Go classic with the Strawberry Danish to make the most of every French pâtissier’s favourite fruit to macerate and glaze.
There are shell-shaped Orange Madeleines, the small sponge cakes redolent of sun-kissed oranges.
On weekends, there are also the appropriately named Weekend Citron; these petite madeleines are infused with lemon juice and zest.
Enjoy these with a hot Americano, the robust flavour of the coffee helping to balance any sweetness or tartness of the pastries.
Then again, some customers might prefer a richer experience. For pure decadence, you can’t go wrong with the Pain Au Caramel Chocolate Banana.
Rather than conventional halved bananas, each pastry holds a treasure chest of sliced caramelised bananas, like golden coins.
To really evoke the spirit of Paris, try asking the barista to omit foaming the milk for your coffee. Just heat the milk up and add it to the espresso for a classic and oh-so-comforting café au lait.
(This is off the menu, so might not be available during peak hours; their cappuccino and caffè latte are perfectly foamed pick-me-ups.)
A single visit to Á Paris Bakehouse scarcely seems sufficient. So many more confections to try! Chocolate Raspberry Pain Au Suisse, Lemon Kouign-amann, Crème Brûlée Bomboloni, Taro German Pudding – the list is endless.
No surprise that you might overhear those at neighbouring tables planning for their next trip here before they have even finished their sweet breakfast or tea.
It doesn’t have to be only sweet treats, however. Take the deceptively simple Croissant Sandwich, for instance. Filled with sliced ham, cheese, tomato and fresh rocket, it is a savoury delight.
The name Á Paris can be loosely translated as "In Paris” – as in a bakehouse in Paris.
Indeed, the pâtisserie, viennoiserie and café’s promise seems to be that one will be transported to Paris, the City of Light – in the green enclave of Bandar Sri Damansara.
It is a promise well kept.
Who knows? Residents and regulars might find a little bit of Parisian romance here – in their café au lait and croissants, at least.
Á Paris Bakehouse
B-G-19 & B-G-20 Ativo Plaza, Block B, No. 1 Jalan PJU 9/1, Damansara Avenue, PJU 9, Bandar Sri Damansara, KL
Open daily 8:30am-5:30pm
Phone: 011-2681 9200
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