French Baker debuts new concepts in Davao
The French Baker at SM Lanang Premier in this city isn't just the first full-sized Mindanao branch for the homegrown chain of bakery-cafes as it also hints on the future of the 24-year-old brand.
At 380 sq.m., the branch at SM Lanang, which officially opened on Thursday night, is the biggest among the 51 outlets of The French Baker.
"It's definitely something that has never been seen before," said the chain's founder and CEO Johnlu Koa, who opened the first French Baker in 1989 at SM City North Edsa.
"We would like to present the new face of French Baker all over the Philippines soon and this is going to be what the French Baker of the future will look like," he added.
For starters, the new store's interiors have been upgraded, inspired by Koa's many trips abroad, with a private area with plush seating and paintings of Parisienne cafe scenes. One area has been designed like a French garden for afternoon teas while looking at the mall's impressive fountain.
But more than the restaurant's new look, The French Baker in Davao includes an entirely new menu concept than expands on its offerings.
"For the first time, we're introducing a patisserie concept, a live pastry section. We're putting things that used to be on my wish list," Koa told reporters.
"Many, many years ago, people would ask me, 'Bakit wala kayong cake?' My answer was, "Eh kasi hindi kami magaling gumawa ng cake." Ngayon marunong na kami gumawa ng cake," he explained.
Just like its open kitchen for its breads, The French Baker at SM Lanang has a separate open kitchen where guests can watch bakers assemble these sweet treats, which includes French macarons in various flavors, as well as the "it" pastry, the cronut.
Other patisserie offerings include the Pear Tartlet, a sweet custard tart topped with slices of pear and almond cream; the decoratively formed Swan Puffs baked from cream puff dough and filled with pastry cream and dusted with powdered sugar; and its versions of the Napoleon, the Chocolate Concorde (chocolate meringue wafers sandwiched with concorde cream made with chocolate ganache) and the Charlotte (lady-finger sponge cake made into a cake wall lining the sides of a mini cake and filled with diplomat cream, strawberry coulis and fresh fruits).
And in keeping with its name, Koa assured that "we will be using classical French methods and techniques in whipping up our desserts and sweets."
Apart from the patisserie, the latest branch of The French Baker also includes a tea salon to go with the new desserts.
"At the tea salon, we have a gold-plated Samovar where fresh water is warmed to its ideal temperature before infusing the tea leaves," Koa explained. "We source our tea leaves from one of the best estates in the world including China, India, Sri Lanka and Taiwan."
The tea varieties include green tea (jasmine flowers, Morrocan mint), oolong (tie guan yin and dragon pearl), black tea (single-estate Assam, Darjeeling), flavored black tea (Earl Grey, rose with French vanilla, blueberry and pomegranate, Italian almond) and infusions (chamomile flowers, fruit teas and peppermint leaves).
Koa said they are starting to renovate some of The French Baker branches in Manila to incorporate the new concept that debuted in Davao.
"Come middle of October, I'm also relaunching my other brand, Lartizan, in Serendra in the foirmer space of Gaudi. It's a beautiful salon de the restaurant and patisserie. It's a high-end version of what you see here," he said.
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