During my last week in Shanghai, I decided to visit Chef Alexander Patisserie in the Xuhui district after reading an article on weixin.com (article in Mandarin) which listed the top 10 ‘patisseries/afternoon tea spots’ in Shanghai for the first half of 2014.
This patisserie is owned by Chef Alexander, who is Chinese but was trained in some French culinary school. His patisserie is actually really small. There were only two high tables (4 chairs) and I think they pretty much expect you to buy takeaway. Alternatively, they recommended us to bring their cakes to a cafe nearby so we could have a seat even though they sell coffees themselves, strange.
Given the background of the chef, naturally I expected the pastries in this shop to be French. Walking in the shop, you do sort of get a quaint French feel, with the plates used and the decor but upon closer inspection of their display case, I was wondering why this patisserie was introduced as a “French” patisserie…
The first item we tried was the mini puff. It was bite sized and I think this was quite well done. The puff was not soggy, slightly crispy and the cream is very light and only slightly sweetened. I think on days where I am craving for something sweet but don’t have room for a full dessert, I’d buy this 🙂
The presentation of the cakes in Chef Alexander Patisserie is not particularly impressive, but I usually can forgive sub-standard presentation if the taste is great. However, this ‘best-seller’ was a let down. The glaze was way too chewy, perhaps too much gelatine? The chocolate ganache layer near the bottom was way too hard. That being said, there was a strong presence of chocolate flavour (which is hard to find sometimes) and I do appreciate that.
Surprisingly, as a French patisserie, it was the Italian Tiramisu that was the winner to me. Unlike many other shops out there that serve “fake” tiramisu, namely, mascarpone cheesecake with some cocoa dusting and barely any coffee or liqueur present, this was a real tiramisu. Some of the best tiramisu I’ve had in Melbourne and Italy have been ones which are kind of moist, if not wet, with a strong liqueur and coffee flavour present in the lady fingers, accompanied by some light, melt-in-your-mouth mascarpone layer. This was exactly it!
Overall, Chef Alexander Patisserie is not bad for take-away. And if I ever want to have some slightly more authentic Italian tiramisu, I’d go back. 🙂
Chef Alexander Patisserie
No 2, 434 Shanxi Nan Lu (near Yongjia Lu), Xuhui District