Francis Bakery – Jakarta

img_2382
Francis Bakery

During my brief trip to Jakarta, I was mostly disappointed at the places I ate at. The one shining star I came across was Francis Bakery. They are a Japanes-French based bakery using Asian ingredients.

Francis Bakery also does regular bakery goods such as bread and bagels in addition to their “specialty breads”.

img_2392
Kyoto Choco Mochi

The Kyoto Choco Mochi bread, has a nice crunchy crust, and a soft chewy exterior. The chocolate chips add a nice punch of sweetness. This bread reminds me of a sweet version of “Pao de Queijo”, or Brazilian cheese bread.

img_2393
Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese

The Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Bread may not be a thing of beauty, but the dark chocolate is offset by the zing of cream cheese. The amount of cream cheese is also very generous.

img_2394
Kohi Mocca

The Kohi Mocca Bread combines coffee and chocolate. The only problem with this bread is that both flavors were rather subdued. The walnuts added a little bit of bitterness and textural contrast. The bread was also a little dry. Definitely not the favorite.

img_2395
Choco Durian

The Choco Durian Bread has a strong, pungent scent and is dotted with chocolate chips. To me, the bread had a very strong durian flavor, but perhaps it stood out more since I am not a fan of durian. My wife said that she hardly tasted the durian, and it was on the “crunchier” side, meaning younger durian that doesn’t exude as much flavor as more mature durian.

img_2453
Choco Bun
img_2826
Choco Bun Bag

Surprisingly, the star of Francis Bakery isn’t found on any of the shelves. The Choco Bun are placed into little bags containing 5 pieces of bread that were located right on the front counter, and kind of off to the side. If you didn’t know, you would likely pass them up without blinking an eye, and that would be a shame. The bread is reminiscent of a fudgy brownie in bread form, but there is a molten center of chocolate that oozes all over the place when you bite into the center. At 30 cents a piece, or $1.50 for the bag of 5 this is a must buy. Hoard as many of these as you can, and stuff them in your suitcase to bring back home if only visiting Jakarta.

I would definitely try more of their vast selection of offerings when returning to Jakarta, but I would be sure to bring an extra suitcase for the Choco Bun.

 

Tai Cheong Bakery – Hong Kong

img_1842
Tai Cheong Bakery

I am not a huge fan of egg tarts, whether they be of the Chinese or Portuguese variety. My main issue with any type of custard type of dessert, whether they be egg tarts or crème brulee, is the “eggy” taste they can sometime have by heating up the eggs too quickly thereby resulting in sweet scrambled eggs.

I had read good things about the egg tarts at Tai Cheong Bakery.

img_1841
Line

When I arrived, there was a line that barely snaked out the door.

The store front is on the smaller side. There are some shelves of goodies on the side of the store, but the main display case sits front and center.

They had just brought out some freshly baked egg tarts when I placed my order. They were still slightly warm.

img_1843
Egg Tarts

The egg tarts had a bright yellow glow, almost like luscious lemon curd.

The crust was slightly brown, and was crunchy and very buttery. The crust tasted like a very good buttery shortbread cookie. The filling was not too sweet, and was not at all “eggy”.

This was probably the best Chinese egg tart that I’ve had in my life. These should be eaten fairly quickly however, as keeping them for any prolonged length of time resulted in a soggy crust, and deflated custard.

Bake Cheese Tart – Hong Kong

img_1864
Bake Cheese Tart

Bake Cheese Tart, of Japan fame, recently opened a branch in Hong Kong. Located inside of the SOGO Causeway Bay Mall, it sits in the basement along with the rest of the restaurants, food stalls, and supermarket.

img_1865
Display

I had heard that lines were crazy when they first opened, but have since died down.

img_1879
Cheese Tart

The crust has a satisfying crunch, but it is the filling that is the star of the show. Based in Hokkaido, which is famous for their dairy products among other things, the filling is light and fluffy with a slight citrus finish.

img_1902
Packaging

Like all things Japanese, the packaging ingenious as well. The box protects each cheese tart from getting smashed. It’s like a mini-capsule hotel.

I think the ones I had in Tokyo were just slightly better than these, but still worth the trek if needing to satisfy your Japanese cheese tart craving.

Custard Nakamura – Bangkok

img_1189
Custard Nakamura

Custard Nakamura is Japanese bakery located right across the street from Benjasiri Park, and just a couple minutes’ walk from the Phrom Phong BTS station.

It is located down a street that looks like a wide alley full of restaurants and stores that are mainly Japanese in nature.  It’s like a little J-town.

The bakery is very small, and does not hold that many people.  When you enter the store, there is a stack of trays and tongs to the left.  Pick up one of each, and try and maneuver your way through the store to pick out your selections.  There were about 6 customers in the store on my visit, and the place felt very crowded as it was difficult to move, and impossible to get by people due to the narrow aisles.

img_1202
Tonkatsu Sandwich

The Tonkatsu sandwich was pre-made and pre-packaged, but the breaded pork cutlet remained fairly crunchy.  The pork was meaty with no fat or gristle. There was not a lot tonkatsu sauce which was much appreciated.  The bread was soft, but held up well despite the sauce and fried pork.  This was a really good sandwich at a good price.

img_1203
Cream Puff

The Cream Puff had a slightly sweet, crunchy topping.  The cream puff was light, and the filling somewhat pudding like which I like.  The cream puff as a whole, is not crispy and crunchy like you would find at Beard Papa, but it was still good.

img_1204
Chocolate Custard Bun

The Chocolate Custard Bun contained a pudding like filling, which was on the sweeter side.  There was a generous amount of filling though.  The bread was a little heavier than the cream puff, but was still relatively light.

Custard Nakamura is a solid choice if looking for a Japanese bakery in Bangkok, but they fail in comparison to the bakeries in Tokyo.

Wildflour Cafe & Bakery – Manila

img_0138
Wildflour Cafe & Bakery

Wildflour Café & Bakery is a restaurant and bakery in the Makati area. The restaurant sits a large open space.  There is a bakery counter in the front with tables spread throughout the restaurant. The restaurant has a hipster feel to it, and the crowd reflects it. Wildflour tends to appeal to a younger crowd.

The bakery is mostly French influenced, but there are Filipino touches throughout. Ube and taro have a fairly big presence in their offerings. There is also a small selection of gluten free desserts.

img_0135
Queso Fundido

The Queso Fundido is a rather large portion of chorizo and cheese, topped with a fried egg and rocket (arugula). It was served with a small crusty French loaf. The chorizo/cheese concoction was way too sweet. It tasted like it was made with a lot of sugar.

img_0136
Fried Chicken Sandwich
img_0137
French Fries

The Fried Chicken Sandwich was a large breaded piece of chicken topped with cabbage and peppers. The bread was soft, and the chicken was crisp. The chicken had absolutely no flavor though. It was severely lacking in salt. The accompanying fries were crisp and well-seasoned however.

img_0133
Pain au Chocolat

The Pain au Chocolat was light, flaky and buttery. There were two thin veins of chocolate running throughout the croissant.

img_0134
Mango Streusel

The Mango Streusel had a nice sweet, streusel topping. The mango was not too sweet. The pastry was just okay. This did not dazzle the tastebuds, and I would rather try other items.

Wildflour is a very popular place among the hipster crowd, and I can sort of see why. The décor is modern, and the food is on the trendier side.