Everyone knows Son. The face of Farine for many years (RIP), you might not have known Son's name but it'd be hard to forget his face, his goatee, his sideburns and his sleeve tattoos. Now, with a former colleague from ice cream superstar WIYF, he's preparing to open a bakery slash ice cream store this summer in Xuhui. (Specifics to be released.)
Ahead of that, I asked him to walk me through the bakery and pastry world and pick out five of his favorites.
1. Lost Bakery
The order: Croissant
"Great spot to chill, with lots of room and natural light. I know Mickaël has been working very hard on the croissant recipe and it’s killer. The shape has changed slightly from the traditional croissant, with the tips curled around and facing each other. But you know it’s good because when you tear it apart at the middle, you can see all the airy layers and immediately smell the butter. The outside is how a croissant should be: crispy and flaky. All in all, a great croissant."
The order: Matcha tart
"It was not so easy to choose among Tingting’s pastry. Its all inventive, colorful and tasty. But for me, my favorite is the matcha tart. Think of a matcha pate sucré, matcha ganache, and brown rice tea mousse, with the accurate amount of sweetness, well balanced with texture and lightness. Exquisite.
3. Chez 8
The order: Lemon tart
"Great and warm service by Guillaume and the team. The difference here is that Chef Le Bec adds a hint of yuzu to the lemon tart, so you get this zing at the end that really brings the tart to another level. They also get points for the crust always being crunchy, which is hard to control with the humidity in Shanghai."
The order: Sourdough olive bread
"This new restaurant/bakery in town offers passion in all aspects. From high quality ingredients, food recipes, interior design, small details, friendly service, Xiao Xiao made sure it’s all in there. Their sourdough olive is my ‘coup de coeur’. The bread itself is well balanced in acidity with chunks of olives, and the aroma is simply amazing!"
The order: Baguette
"Small bakery with small selection focusing on artisanal quality. Hiro the baker has the heart of an artisan and it’s reflected in his baguette. Brown and thick crust, subtle acidity, not too light nor compact in the inside. It’s the baguette you need. "