Monday, April 26, 2010
dessert/afternoon tea: i recommend PATISSERIE SADAHARU AOKI PARIS
PATISSERIE SADAHARU AOKI PARIS
at Bellavita, B2
No. 28, Song Ren Road
MRT: Taipei City Hall
hours: SUN- THURS 11 AM- 10 PM
FRI/SAT 11 AM- 10:30PM
Kid friendliness: colorful but expensive treats. small area to sit for afternoon tea
I'd spotted the sleek, white mini-shops of Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris before at the corners of various malls in Taipei with the dozens of colorful macarons under glass counters, but the price tags stopped me from sampling. Macarons are pretty, but the thought of paying that much for one bite of sugar always made me hesitant.
But when food je t'aime suggested meeting at their new sit down location at Bellavita for afternoon tea, it gave me an excuse to finally try what I'd been hearing about for so long. A cake sampler degustation sounded quite tempting.
At the Bellavita location, there are about four to five small tables for afternoon tea'ers to sit and sip, but we didn't have a problem grabbing a seat on a friday afternoon.
The menu reminded me of a blank canvas to the colorful palettes that are echoed in throughout Chef Aoki's world-
the Bonbon Maquillage ("makeup chocolates") (NT$1080 for 12)- vividly colored chocolates that could be mistaken for pastels in a box or colors from a MAC makeup kit...
the rainbow colored rows of macarons and cakes flavored with traditional or Asian infused flavors...
or the emerald green matcha that was prevalent in the desserts and even drinks that could be made into a cold matcha au lait glace. The flavor was quite strong and sweet that wasn't balanced out by the milk, and I wished I'd ordered a regular latte about two sips in.
The illustration of the Verrine Bamboo (NT$340) also piqued our curiosity, which looked almost like one of those self-sustaining ecosystems or an Earth Day themed dessert.
When it came, we oohed and aahed at the super-Smores in a cup with a Japanese twist...
But it had too much going on and was too sweet for me. There was marshmallow-like creme, thick bite-sized graham cracker type squares, azuki red bean, green tea ice cream, after eating the chocolate cookie on top. I think if some of the flavors were not as sweet, then it could balance out, but with all the elements being so intensely sugary, it became a tad overkill.
For the same price range, get the Degustation (NT$380) instead. Six mini-portions of cakes that are actually enough to share between two- a sampler plate that is perfect for the indecisive.
Each bite had a distinct punch- sesame, green tea and chocolate, hazelnut and caramel- and all were quite sweet again, but at least I felt like I had gotten more my money's worth with this dish.
Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris only has seven shops in the world- the others are in Tokyo and Paris. So the Taipei shop might draw visitors who want a taste of the French/Japanese creative confections with flavors like sesame, citron, matcha, caramel, wasabi or yuzu. I've also sampled a bite of the Bonbon Maquillage which was given to a friend of mine and it was a heavenly bite of ganache- I'd happily accept a box of those (or macarons) as a gift over Godiva anyday.