Restaurant: Saint Germain Bakery – Review for Napoleon
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!!
- 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.
- 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.