[SG] Maison Kayser (Paris) - Singapore

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

'Bread made with commercial yeast is like a sonata played on just the piano. Bread produced by natural fermentation is like a symphony played by 3,000 musical instruments' - Shu Kimura

With an immense passion for good food, especially confections, it is hard to miss out on the headline on Page E6 of 'life!' in Saturday's (10 Dec 2011) copy of the Straits Times - 'Sniffing out a good loaf of bread'.  Always in the appetite for french gourmet, we headed to the newly opened Scotts Square located in the shopping district of Singapore's Orchard Road, graced with shopfront boutiques such as Anne Fontaine (tmcy's favourite brand!), Hermes and the likes.

With reference to the article published in 'life!', Maison Kayser uses traditional method of natural fermentation, relying on the action of up to 3,000 varieties of friendly lactic acid bactic and wild yeast to make the dough rise. Such a procedure might take up to 20 hours (compared to usual bakeries' 1-2 hours), which allows enzyme activity to occur in the meantime, splitting starches and creating sugar. This helped to provide the tinge of natural sweetness in the bread without the need of added sugar. 

With sheer luck, I saw Mr Shu Kimura, who runs Maison Kayser bakeries in the Japan. Responsible for bringing the Paris-based French boulangerie into Singapore, he was seated at a corner in the cafe enjoying his own pastries and holding a conversation with a partner. Nothing convinced me better than to see a chef indulge on his own patisserie. Exchanging glances and smiles with Mr Kimura, we proceeded to find ourselves a corner in this open concept cafe.

Seigle Cranberry (S$2.70)
(+) A definite 'MUST' for all cranberry lovers.
(+) Richly packed with dried cranberry pieces, each bursting with natural sweetness.
(+) Complemented by rye bread, certainly a guilt free nutrients rich indulgence.
(+) The crisp crust, soft bread and chewy dried cranberries gave a very complete mouthfeel.

(-) Due to the generous amount of cranberries, might not taste the bread as much.

Verdict: 9.0/10

Signature Croissant (S$2.60)
(+) Very crispy crust, in fact the crispiest croissant I had ever tasted.
(+) Was so crispy that it did not just flake, but shattered crusts with 1st knife cut.
(+) Rich buttery flavour, but not overly done to overwhelm one's tastes.
(+) Despite the rich butter fragrance and taste, does not leave you with greasy lips.
(+) The crispy crust coupled with the soft interior was a delight to the palette. 
(+) Probably due to fermentation process, feels very airy inside giving the focus to the crust.

(-) Not recommended for people who prefer a fuller richer interior.

P.S: Not trying to sound ridiculous but the croissants were such a hit that when a new bakery opened up in Japan, customers were only limited to 2 croissants each!

Verdict: 9.0/10
Delice Banc (S$3.70)

(+) Baked with white chocolate, the initial taste was subtly sweet and very fragrant.
(+) With increased bites, the sweetness built to a naturally prime white chocolate taste.
(+) Very chewy and soft inside.
(+) Able to taste small pieces of crystalline sugar inside the bread*

(-) Would prefer a harder crust to complement the chewy inside of the bread.
(-) Might need some tea or coffee to balance off the sweetness thereafter.

*On hindsight (since we had some experience with baking our own bread), we are still trying to figure out how the crystalline sugar pieces hid amongst the inside of the bread did not melt during the baking process.

Verdict: 8.0/10

Bichon Poires Caramel (S$3.70)
(+) Rich buttery pastry baked and coated with thick caramel.
(+) Well defined streak-layers of the crisp crust.
(+) Rich caramel cream was densely packed between the streak layers, very satisfying.
(+) Interesting blend of sweetness from natural fruit and caramel on the inside.
(+) The pear cubes were very juicy and had a tinge of natural sweetness in them.
(+) Moist, slightly damp inside went very well with the crisp buttery crust.

(-) Obviously intended for those with a sweet-tooth, otherwise avoid.

Verdict: 8.0/10

Financier (S$2.10 for pack of 5)
(+) Very rich butter fragrance, enhanced by faint almond flavour.
(+) Thin crisp surface with soft inside. 
(+) Commendable considering the arduousness in packing the flavors in this bite-sized treat.
(+) Convenient bite-size, about as big as a Singapore 50 cents coin.

P.S: Molded rather uniquely compared to the rectangular financiers, this version did not have as great a surface area to have a crisp crust. Henceforth you taste more of the rich and smooth buttery inside rather than a good balance with the crust. However being bite-sized, this was definitely a luxurious treat.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Tarte Brazilia (S$4.70)
(+) Perfect for chocolate and coffee lovers, pure indulgence.
(+) Smooth, thick rich dark chocolate with base layer of mocha, drizzled with chocolate chips.
(+) Solid crust tart, not overly stiff nor soft, and carried a subtle buttery taste on its own.
(+) The crust tart supplemented the outstanding rich chocolate and coffee cream.
(+) Slightly fluid chocolate complemented the much denser mocha cream very well.
(+) Overall mouthfeel was very complete and satisfying.

Verdict: 9.0/10
Maison Kayser (Paris) -Singapore
6 Scott Road, #B1-09, Scott Square
Singapore 228209

With reference to Maison Kayser's website, in order to fully appreciate the quality of the bread and pastries offered, you should 'start by appreciating its color, gently press a slice to your nose to experience its crispy touch and crust, the smoothness and perfume of the bread itself. Only then take a bite, and feel its texture and flavors develop in your mouth.'  

In particular, what fascinated me much about this french bakery was not simply the lure and appeal of international laurels in Singapore but the passion and vision the founder, Mr Eric Kayser holds. 'Good bread doesn't lie: it says everything about the quality of its ingredients and the know-how of its creator. Being a good baker means making a little miracle every day: transforming simple foods, water, leaven salt and flour into complex and varying flavors'. Of course, with my personal preference for bread and pastries, I share a very strong conviction 'I want to give bread a place of honor on our tables'. With limited stomach space, I will definitely return to try their other signature pastries and tarts and not forgetting their savoury sandwiches on the menu.

Service: There is only the GST of 7% being imposed and no service charge was administered onto the bill. In addition, the servers were passionate in greeting everyone that entered. The staffs were also patient with me and when faced with a question about the ingredients that they did not know for certain and found someone who knew better to answer my queries. I was truly impressed with such professionalism.

Ambiance: Due to the cafe being open concept, it did not put us off from the start as being a very posh cafe. With some research, it seemed that Maison Kayser planned the layout of their bakeries to reflect the neighbourhood, city and country. It is more than 'a mere link in a chain'.

We had a follow-up food tasting session at Maison Kayser, please visit here!

Song of the moment: 'Just a dream' by Christina Grimmie and Sam Tsui

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  1. I like your very detailed breakdown of every item you ate. :)

    1. Hi Daniel, thanks for dropping by and for the compliment! Enjoyed reading your website and always glad to know another foodie!