We all love foreign cafés with their slightly novel brunch items, beautiful industrial-chic décor, and especially good coffee, so much that few - including yours truly - have bemoaned the lack of quality local ones. It's easy to forget how local entrepreneurs have less capital to start with (hence inaccessible locations and inferior IDs) and possibly no prior expertise.
That's what makes places like Les Patisseries all the more precious. The brainchild of three local culinary graduates, all in their mid-20s, Les Patisseries did not start off with a golden spoon - as evident from its hole-in-the-wall tiny location and unflattering red interior. While it seem underwhelming, looks are definitely deceiving in their case.
Dulcey Hazelnut Tart (S$7)
Their intricate homemade pastries is a fine example. Upon entering the dull-looking café, one's greeted by a stunning array of delicate pastries. From fruit and chocolate tarts to an interesting take on the classic tiramisu, Les Patisseries' beautiful creations are sure to entice. Les Patisseries' bakes are also sold in other cafés, so don't be shocked to see them at places like Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters (who in return provides them coffee).
We tried their Dulcey Hazelnut Tart, which had wonderful caramel ganache and hazelnut filling. A pity the filling dried out, ending up sticky and a tad too solid, and the crust was slightly harder than preferred. With a few adjustments, this would make a wonderful dessert.
Horffles (S$9.90) with Chocolate Waffle upgrade (S$2) - 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, horlick powder, horlick sauce, toasted candied almonds, fresh berries
Pastries aside, Les Patisseries is heralded for its extensive waffle menu featuring very novel flavour combinations. They also offer a short and concisde savoury menu spanning fries, pastas, and the usual eggs on toast.
On our first visit one late afternoon visit they ran out of plain waffles, leaving only the Chocolate (+S$2) and Rose (+S$2.50) flavours. Thus our Horffles was paired with a Chocolate waffle. The ice cream was mediocre, yet nonethless delicious. The waffle itself was crispy enough, if not a tad too crunchy, and boasted an intensely dark chocolate flavour; which is great on its own, unfortunately clashing with the overall malty flavours. It would be much better enjoyed with the original waffle. My only gripe would be that the horlick sauce lacked intensity. Kick the malt up a notch, leave out the instrusive berries, and this would be much better.
Waffle Ispahan (S$12.90) - Rose waffle, 2 scoops of raspberry sorbet, lychee sauce, lychee meat, fresh raspberry, edible rose petal
Taking inspiration from Pierre Hermé's Ispahan, Les Patisseries' rendition of the classic rose, lychee and raspberries combination was nothing short of stunning. The rose waffle released a strong floral fragrance and was discernibly reminiscient of our local bandung drink. The sorbet was light and not overly tart, and the mellow lychee sauce helped pull everything together. Overall a fantastic waffle creation that's delicious and light on the palate.
Belgium Chocolate Waffle (S$9.90) - 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, fresh berries, toasted candied almonds
While the interesting waffle creations are commendable, our biggest peeve with Les Patisseries is the inconsistent waffle texture. We tried two other options from the waffle menu on separate occations. This Belgium Chocolate Waffle is a delicious fail-proof selection. Akin to dark chocolate, we liked how the chocolate ice cream wasn't too sweet. The waffle here however was a disappointment. It was slightly dry and too hard, very unlike those from our prior visit.
*Apologies for this photo and the next: they were taken with my phone so the quality isn't as good.
Thai Milk Tea Waffle (S$10.90) - 2 scoops of thai milk tea ice cream, milk tea sauce, toasted candied coconut
Don't let the unappetizing hue of orange get to you, and you'd have a pretty delicious scoop of Thai milk tea ice cream. Unfortunately the waffle was similarly hard and dry here, relegating any success from the ice cream and sauce to the background.
The waffles and pastries may not be perfect, but what we tried we found promising. The owners are young and lack experience, so don't write them off just yet. Les Patisseries will be moving to a new location within the next month, and with that may come new offerings and improvements.
186 Toa Payoh Central
9383 8214/9744 0504
Mondays & Tuesdays (Desserts only): 10am-6pm
Wednesdays to Sundays: 10am-10pm