Passion by Gerard Dubois @ Hong Kong
Our recent trips to Hong Kong have been more exciting than ever! The local pastry scene has picked up considerably over the last couple of years and it has never been short of new joints to try or places which we’d enjoyed to revisit. Passion by Gerard Dubois is one of the latest addition to the growing number of new places to go for fine pastry in Hong Kong. Being a patisserie, boulangerie and confiserie all at once, it opened in 2012 in Wanchai, the heart of the CBD district in Hong Kong. So for our latest trip in 2013, it only seemed right to pay them a visit.
Located at the junction between Johnston Road and Amoy Street, this cafe is by no means quaint, occupying almost the entire ground floor of the building. Window seats offering reasonably good street view to people watch or just to laze the afternoon away…
The display is fairly long, to showcase their amazingly large spread of items available which ranges from savory sandwiches to sweet pastries.
Looking at the big spread, one can’t help but feel spoilt for choices. We stood by the counter for quite sometime, undecided on what to order. And given what was available, it is impossible to try them all!
Our favorite section of french pastries… sliced entremets and religieuses
Petite gateaus and tarte au citron.
Mille-feuilles! Reminds me that I haven’t done it since the one I’d made two years back!
Assortment of apple crumbles, creme brulees, tiramisus, panna cottas and chocolate mousses…
Their selection of fruity danishes…
And a good selection of macarons! 9 flavours all in all… but all pretty standard (read: boring) though…
We ordered 3 pieces to share and started with the lightest of them all. Provence is a sliced entremet with gelee au abricots and mousse au vanille sandwiched between layers of biscuit joconde au amandes and biscuit joconde au pistache. It is delightfully light and I like the tart flavours carried by the apricot jelly though the sponge layers seem to pale and not impart much taste to the whole piece apart from the stunning colout contrast provided. But overall still a rather pleasurable piece to enjoy over tea.
Stenciled treble clef on the sides of the plate with cocoa powder, again not doing very much apart from lending aesthetics to the overall presentation but in this case, somewhat counter-intuitive if I may add.
Mont Blanc, a classic french dessert which can’t go very wrong, most of the time that is. Built on layers of chestnut cream and chestnut mousse, embellished with morsels of marron glace, the looks of it promises a palateful of richness and exuberance and it truly did. The sweetness of this piece was quite well balanced unlike the grotesquely sugary ones we’d had before elsewhere. The core was interesting as it had mango puree with little morsels of the tropical fruit in it, highly perfumed by the sweetness of Alphonsos but smelling somewhat artificial at the same time. Good intentions for more depth and contrast but the old soul in me tells me that I would have preferred something that is closer to the classic version with just Creme Chantilly and meringue instead. This would probably do well to round off a lighter meal of possibly a sandwich with a sense of lusciousness.
The third from the trio of desserts we had was a raspberry and chocolate piece. Framboisie Chocolat as it is literally called, it is built on layers of a chocolate sponge with a raspberry gelee and chocolate mousse above. Once again, contrast in flavours is well played here, tart and refreshing flavours from the jelly against the smooth and darker tones from the chocolate mousse. Like the Mont Blanc, this is a classic that can’t go too terribly wrong.
Overall, I think Passion by Gerard Dubois had a rather good start with their spread allowing folks to sample something different and something new everytime they visit. They’d chosen to stay safe with very classic flavours, seemingly a reflection of the still-rather conservative palate profile the people in in Hong Kong have towards desserts. Hopefully in future visits we would be able to sample pieces crafted out of the usual run-in-the-mill chocolate, vanilla and raspberries. But on the whole, I would still recommend this place to those who wants to have a piece of decently made pastry. Do avoid the peak hours as seating is rather limited, especially if you too want a table by the window to people watch and laze the afternoon away like me.
Shop 1, G/F, Fraser Suites, 74-80 Johnston Road, Wan Chai
High Tea @ Le Salon De Thé de Joël Robuchon Hong Kong
La Salon Restaurant et Croissanterie @ Hong Kong
Macarons from Pierre Hermé @ Hong Kong IFC
Petite Amanda @ IFC Hong Kong
La Maison du Chocolat @ Lee Gardens Hong Kong
Paul Lafayet @ K11 Tsimshatsui Hong Kong