Saint Germain Bakery – Napoleon Review




Restaurant: Saint Germain Bakery – Review for Napoleon

Cuisine: Bakery/Chinese/Desserts
Last visited: November 23, 09
Area: Multiple locations – Richmond, BC
Unit 1428, Aberdeen Centre, 4151 Hazelbridge Way

Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Napoleon: 3
Service: 3
Ambiance: n/a
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Higher end/gourmet Chinese bakery
  • Cakes, breads, cookies, pastries
  • Baked daily – on site bakery
  • No table service
  • Over the counter & self-service
  • Specializes in Chinese baked goods & fruit cakes
  • Some Western desserts (cheesecakes, tiramisu etc) available
  • Chain bakery
  • Open Monday to Sunday
  • Catering available

**Recommendation: Apple strudel, Apple Caramel Mousse cake, Chestnut cake

Saint Germain’s is the most popular gourmet Chinese bakery around town. They offer a selection of Chinese baked goods and even some American and French pastries. However their versions of American/European desserts still somewhat made with a Chinese style. Basically it’s Asian people trying to make European desserts that are catered to Chinese taste buds. This means that they use less sugar, less chocolate (if it’s in the recipe) and it’s never as rich and decadent. They will usually put some fruit and very lightly sweetened whip cream in it. They love that kind of stuff. I enjoy most of the pastries here, but this review focuses on the Napoleon, just because it was what I ordered that day.

On the table:

  • Napoleon 3/6
    • A pastry made of several layers of puff pastry and buttercream, pastry cream, or whipped cream. In this case it was buttercream $1.50
    • This was the Chinese version of a very authentic French dessert – the Napoleon or Mille-feuille – meaning 1000 sheets.

    • It was very crumbly, very delicate with lots and lots of layers. The sheets were light and flaky, but they were also a bit hard so it was difficult to bite through all the layers. Half way I just separated the layers…I was actually getting really frustrated eating it. I really really didn’t want to separate it, but I had no choice.
    • Reasons that make it Chinese
    • 1) Traditionally there’s supposed to be a glaze of icing or fondant on top, but this one had none, probably because Asian people don’t like that kind of stuff. Instead they used a light dusting of icing sugar. I didn’t mind though.
    • 2) The whole thing was quite buttery, but it’s supposed to be. It wasn’t that sweet though. So the buttercream was more buttery than sweet too. I would have preferred a vanilla pastry cream.
    • 3) The buttercream had walnuts pieces in it – Chinese love nuts. I actually really liked this addition too though. It added a crunchiness and I love that nutty flavour.
    • 4) They used 2 layers of sponge cake and had that alternating with the puff pastry and buttercream…Chinese love their sponge cake. A napoleon is not supposed to have sponge cake – it’s only supposed to be alternating layers of cream and puff pastry. So to replace the amount of cream they used half cream and half sponge cake. I wouldn’t say they were being cheap though but just catering to the Chinese…that much cream generally isn’t appealing to that market.
    • The photo only shows one layer of sponge cake because at this point I separated the napoleon to make it easier to eat.
    • So overall, if you don’t mind those changes, it was still good – but just not authentic. It was an Asian style Napoleon. If you’re used to the real napoleon this one probably won’t cut it for you. They really changed it up to not make it as sweet. If you go in with these knowing this, you won’t be disappointed.


Saint Germain Bakery on Urbanspoon


  • KimHo says:

    Sometimes you have to love/hate how Asians (in general, not only Chinese) hack a dish and change it to the point that it might not be anything similar to the original one! Japanese mayo, anybody?

    Looking at the Napoleon, is it me or the middle layer seems to be too thick? Or that or they prepared them at the same time and just stacked one on top of the other? Because of that, it looks a bit… Uneven (for the lack of a better word).

  • Follow Me Foodie says:

    U mean the puff pastry middle layer or the sponge cake layer? I bet they make a whole slab of this stuff and just slice it up into squares.

    And right! about the changes Asian people make. But I actually like Japanese mayo…on the whole I'm very open to fusion…except for places like PF Chang's where it's simply Asian food made by Westerners…I don't mind Asian-inspired…but Asian knock-off…nono

  • s says:

    I've been following your blog as well as a few others. It's a good reference point as my job takes me to different cities with yvr as a semi regular city. It's nice to see the amount of reviews for the lower mainland…, I used to just hit Hon's or something in the Aberdeen / Yaohan and that would be it.

    I generally check out places in Richmond in relation to the proximity of the hotel but will venture out a bit more based on the reviews. Tnx.

    It seems like you have a sweet tooth given the reviews lately. Kam Do is the only place that I go to for bakery needs when I'm in town. Must try more places.

    Btw, I agree, PF Chang is a no-no. Had an experience in Waikiki and a return visit, against better judgement (group decision) in Las Vegas. It's not Asia-California fusion food as it claims to be. Now Roy's is definately a place for fusion food. Whoops, rambled on too long.


  • Follow Me Foodie says:

    Hey! Thanks for following! I'm so glad that you find my blog useful =)

    You can always search my blog or just search by menu item and click one of my labels. OR e-mail me! I'll be happy to give you a recommendation/tip. Click for a great and very popular bakery in Richmond.

    Oh and this week I am focusing on desserts..hence my dessert postings…but I do have a sweet tooth anyways =)

    I enjoy comments so there's no rambling! But try Ono's 726 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu – authentic REAL Hawaiian food! Only locals in there.

  • Daniel S. says:

    I actually had something very similar to this in Macau recently. Buttery filling and lots of nuts, but no cake layers (just more cream). It was extremely rich, and I made a complete mess trying to eat it while walking. The one at Saint Germain looks extremely good, and I like that they used cake to help balance the cream.

  • Follow Me Foodie says:

    These are incredibly messy to eat! I really wanted to eat in without taking apart the layers, but it was near impossible.

    The sponge didn't bother me either actually.

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