“French pastries with an Asian twist”
Just around the corner on Kreta Ayer road is a newly opened European-style pastry cafe, Les Délices. Its central location makes it perfect for an afternoon of people watching or to just grab your favourite cake at the takeaway.
Pastry chef Georgina Sim had trained in Le Cordon Bleu Paris and puts her own spin on French classics.
The cafe is decked out Victorian style with white and gold panels and marble countertops, much like the pretty cake boutiques you see in Europe.
The most interesting thing is that every cake is paired with a complementary Chinese tea instead of the usual English teas.
The owners who are of Teochew background grew up drinking Chinese tea and worked with a tea specialist to come up with the pairings with their cakes.
They also serve the teas in a cold brew ($4.90) which is very special because the tea is left the sit overnight in cold water to slowly release its flavours. You would be surprised by how different the taste of a cold and hot brew of the same tea can be.
Pictured above is the cold brew Pu-Erh and Shuixian teas. The cold brew Pu-Erh was a lot fruitier and delicate in flavour, pairing with the lighter cakes, while the dense and robust flavours of Shuixian paired well with the richer chocolate cakes.
Left-Right: Valrhona Guanaja Choux, Matcha Choux, Earl Grey Choux ($5.90 each)
The signature dessert of the cafe would be the choux puffs, coming in 3 different flavours. And they certainly didn’t disappoint. Les Délices has mastered the perfect choux pastry, crisp on the outside, hollow and chewy in the middle. Topped with a crunchy cookie layer, it is perfect for filling up with flavoured pastry cream within.
The rich and milky flavours of the Earl Grey Choux were reminiscent to that of milk tea that we all love. Infused with just the right amount of earl grey to be aromatic enough but not too overpowering.
The Valrhona Guanaja Choux is made with the most premium Valrhona chocolate which gives it an amazing flavour pay-off. Crisp choux pastry filled with a bittersweet pastry cream that is surprisingly light on the palate.
There is also the Matcha Choux for all the green tea fanatics out there. The pastry cream is infused with thick flavours of Japanese matcha.
I love how the matcha provides a real depth of flavour that is rich and milky. Not too sweet either.
Lemon Strawberry Rosette ($9.80). This dessert was the first one to catch my eye at the display. A perfectly made pearl pink rose with an air-brushed finish. Unlike it’s delicate appearance, this dessert packs quite a punch with the sharp flavours of lemon and strawberry.
The rose is sculpted with a firm mousse-like lemon cream, filled with jellied strawberry coulis and sits on top of a circle of shortcrust pastry. I can only imagine how much work is put into shaping each rosette.
A refreshing change from the usual sweet desserts, I really enjoyed the tartness of the lemon creme and the little hit of sweetness from the jellied strawberry middle. Texturally I enjoyed it as well, with the lemon creme and jellied centre that just melts away in your mouth.
Berry Popping Cheesecake ($9.50). A light cheesecake filled with fresh berries, topped with a jellied coulis made of berries on top of a buttery base with the addition of popping candy.
The cake was as sweet as it was sour, which made the cheese flavour a bit more subtle. The cheese layer was extra smooth and creamy, with fresh berries added to cut through the richness. The jellied layer on top was packed with flavour, evident that they used only the best berries. The buttery biscuit base was yummy too, and it’s always fun to hear the popping candy go off when you bite into it.
Mango Charlotte ($9.50). Layers of lady finger sponge cake, fresh mangoes and mango mousse.
A very light and airy cake that deflates with the slight prick of your fork. Soft sponge cake and creamy mango mousse, topped with sweet and juicy fresh mangoes. A great choice if you’re looking for a more refreshing dessert and if you really really like mangoes.
Choco-nana ($10.90). A chocolate brownie base, mashed caramelised banana middle, chocolate mousse outer layer all enrobed in a shiny chocolate glaze.
The combination of chocolate and bananas is just about foolproof. The sweetness of the caramelised bananas complemented the smooth bittersweet chocolate mousse. I would have liked more variations in texture, though. One of the denser and richer items on the menu, you might want to share this with a friend.
And yes, the pièce de résistance, the Heavenly Chocolate Dome ($10.90). 5 different chocolate elements in one amazing dessert. Valrhona Guanaja 70% Chocolate & Hazelnut mousse, crispy Praline coating, Hazelnut Dacquoise, Valrhona Guanaja glazed dome casing.
Using 70% cocoa, this dessert is extra rich and extra luxurious. Almost too luxurious to finish on your own. Hazelnut and chocolate are the ultimate combination with the earthy hazelnuts mixing with and bitter chocolate. There are varied textures as week, the creamy from the mousse centre, crunch from the praline coating and the smooth from the flawless chocolate finish. My personal favourite.
Les Délices is not your generic French patisserie. Situated in the middle of Chinatown, it successfully merges Western and Eastern influences by pairing the cakes with Chinese tea, proving that Chinese tea is not just limited to dim sum lunches and that it is more versatile than that.
Using only premium European ingredients, these treats don’t come cheap. But the sheer quality of the finished product is a testament to that. From the freshest ingredients to the amount to detail that is in every handmade cake.
Les Délices has definitely become one of my go-to places for some really well made pastry.
Expected damage: $10-$17 per pax