Last week I stepped into a Saint Honore cake shop to grab and go with my recent favorite – a coconut bun.
But it’s the croissants that caught my attention: each one has a note that says “premium Japanese ingredients only”.
Saint Honore, a chain that targets middle-class families, normally charge more than many of the city’s smaller, family-owned bakeries for typical Hongkongese bread like pineapple buns and cocktail buns.
A “friendly reminder” like this would certainly attract curiosity and make the new product more appealing. Well, at least in my case it did.
If you read more closely, the note says the croissants are “made from 100 percent premium-grade Japanese flour” and come with “27 flakey layers of handmade-in-Japan pastry puff”.
And it’s only HK$12 a piece, so why shouldn’t I try it?
Urban Bakery, another local chain, is well regarded as a specialty store for croissants. It offers a wide variety of the bread, and the plain one costs HK$15 each.
At Hysan Place in Causeway Bay, the Urban Bakery outlet inside the supermarket at the lower basement usually attracts a long queue of customers who are after its freshly baked croissants.
Some would pick up half a dozen: a big family or a big appetite? Or maybe they’re just trying to compensate for the long wait.
I’d just grab one, however. I have my reasons.
Freshly baked croissants are unbeatable in taste and texture, but they have an extremely short lifespan – best to consume them in 30 minutes.
Those placed under a table lamp on the breakfast table of some hotels might have their life extended a bit, but that method could not prevent them from going soggy.
As far as croissants are concerned, I’d like mine fresh and flakey with just enough hint of the richness of butter.
I have to admit, however, that I always find it hard to keep my table clean when biting into a fresh, crispy croissant.
Anyway, I was the picture of contentment when I left flakes of my delicious French croissant all over the table at Joël Robuchon at The Landmark in Central.
Over there a piece costs HK$18 each, excluding the service charge and tip.
But the pleasure of sipping your favorite coffee and enjoying your fresh bread inside an exquisite restaurant – I tell you it’s priceless.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 22
Translation by John Chui with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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