Patisserie “Escape from Paris” 芙芙法式甜點 @ Taipei
The french pastry scene in Taipei is as vibrant as ever, with new patisseries and cafes popping up every time whenever we are in town. We were spoilt for choice during our recent trip with so many new places to visit and try but so little time. So we narrowed down the list of pastry shops to sample down to half a dozen or so which is quite a feat to accomplish already not to mention a crazy sugar overload! I’m glad we managed to pop by quite a few nevertheless, and Escape from Paris 芙芙法式甜點 was one of them.
Located in the semi-commercial and residential area of Neihu in the northern parts of Taipei, Escape from Paris isn’t exactly the most accessible of all places. Thankfully, it was within walking distance from Gangqian Station 港墘站 on the Wenhu Line so finding the place and getting there wasn’t all that difficult. Located on the second floor of a commercial building, one could either access the patisserie through a short flight of stairs on the side or through an elevator that leads from the ground floor to no where else but the very doorsteps of the pastry shop itself.
There are half a dozen or so small tables spread across the shop which provided quite acomfortable dine-in experience, especially for a rainy day like the one when we’d visited. Do note that there is a minimum expenditure (最低消费) of one beverage per person, and this is regardless of the number of petit gateau or entremets ordered. Since it was rather chilly outside, we opt for 2 pots of hot tea, one floral and one fruity in nature. One can always ask for hot water top ups for the tea in pots so do feel free to do so.
Conceptualised in late 2015 and opened in early 2016, Escape from Paris Sweet Lab is the brainchild and baby of pastry chefs Alexis Bouillet and Camille Cheng who met in Paris where the latter was studying and interning in the kitchens of the posh and prestigious Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. They fell in love of course, settled in Taiwan where they began creating beautiful cakes and pastry together, amongst other things and ahem the rest is history… what a delicious and sweet love story, quite literally.
We reached rather late that day in the afternoon and thus we didn’t get a glimpse of the full display of the creations for the day as some pieces were already sold out, though we did see Chef Alexis popping in and out of the kitchen now and then to check on things. And here are the three pieces we sampled that afternoon.
柚 Yuzu (NT180) is essentially a “Tarte au citron” that uses Japanese yuzu in place of lemon for the curd. Over the thin and crisp layer of pate sucre is a piece of lemon sponge in place of the usual frangipane filling. The yuzu curd is beautifully glazed with nappage and embellished by meringue drops on the side creating an effect likening the rays of the radiant sun. It would be appropriate to name this piece “Soleil” actually. Beautifully executed the piece tasted refreshing and reasonably sharp, which is always a good thing for a sour citrus themed tart. Too sweet and the balance will be tipped. Should one find the curd too astringent and sour, simply take a nibble at the meringue pieces. The sweet crust pastry isn’t the most delicious and aromatic one we have had but it was good nonetheless, above decent.
青涩初恋 (NT 240) – mousse au citron au main de bouddha encapsulating bits of granny smith’s and gelee au rhum with the whole piece shaped like a green apple sitting on a slate of sable breton. Prima facie, one can’t help but be reminded of the works of French patissier Cedric Grolet who created so many fruit sulptured pieces that not only taste but looks like the real thing. Conceptually very similar to Grolet’s “Pommé” as well but I am quite sure Chef Alexis has injected his own creativity into the piece as well. Taste wise it also very invigorating from the sourish hues of both the mousse as well as the filling, though I must say that I didn’t get as much of the buddha citron as I had hoped for. The sablè breton base was uber crisp and buttery. Even more so than the pate sucre for the earlier yuzu tart. The bits of crumble also added good textural contrast against the silky smooth mousse.
粉紅茉莉花 Pink Jasmine (NT 240) – ganache monté (chocolat blanc) Jasmin, confit au fruits exotique, mousse au jasmin, confiture ananas et rhum, pate sucre
Structurally very similar to Grolet’s “Pétale au Rose” as well, beautifully sculptured (piped) petals to resemble that of a jasmine blossom as themed albeit with a velvety pink cocoa butter finish.
Taste wise it was a lot more subtle than we had imagined. Everything seemed to blend in well with each other but without any element of surprise. The pineapple jam had a lovely crunch to it which I liked. The jelly was however a bit firmer than what I had expected of a “geleè” thought it might perhaps be the pastry chefs’ intention so that the shape of the piece can be kept intact more easily. Likewise was the mousse making, the one for the green apple was better. On the whole, we felt that the piece looked better than it tasted.
In summary, the levels of pastry making at “Escape from Paris” was a whole lot higher than many other patisseries we have been to in Taipei. Bolder choice of flavour combinations, greater complexity in the composition of the pieces, which were also structurally a lot more demanding than most regular petit gateau. The finishing was also very clean and neat. They most certainly have the “ooooh” and “waaah” factor at first glance, in short very “IG worthy” which can be both a blessing and a curse. We’d also hope that with their exceptionally high standards of pastry making, Chefs Alexis and Camille would be able to scale greater heights and produce creations they can call their very own which we can “wow” about in the near future. Will definitely be back to try their other works on our next trip to Taipei. Until then!
Escape from Paris 芙芙法式甜點
內湖區內湖路一段388號2樓 11493 Taipei, Taiwan
2F 388 Neihu Road Section 1, Neihu, Taipei
Wed to Sun 12.30 pm to 7 pm, Closed on Mon and Tues