[Penang] La Vie En Rose Pâtisserie, Malay Street (corner with Fish Lane)

I miss the vanilla custard-filled doughnuts from Bread Ahead in Borough Market, London, which were some of the best baked goods I’d ever tasted in recent times. But I only get to London once a year, and never spend enough time at Borough Market.

The next best thing to Bread Ahead’s doughnuts right here in Penang are the ones from La Vie En Rose, a French patisserie run by a young French-Penang husband-and-wife team, Gauvain & Evon Neyl.

They also offered some of the best ever pain au chocolat (chocolate-filled croissant) this side of the country. That, and their beautiful choc-dipped madeleines.

But, IMO, the best item in this petite patisserie has to be their tarte au citron meringuée, with its perfectly balanced sweet-tangy flavours. My usual complaint about lemon tarts is that they are often cloyingly sugary-sweet, which overpowers the lemony part. Not the ones here, Evon Nely managed to produce the best tart I’d had in long, long while.

Coming back to those custard-filled doughnuts - the custard beignet here are pretty good, though nowhere near the luscious, fat, creamy ones from Bread Ahead. But hey, no one else in London makes ones which come near Bread Ahead’s as well.

The tiramisu seemed a tad out of place here, but is a nod to local Penangites’ love for the dessert.

Each cup of coffee or tea ordered here are accompanied by a bite-sized pain au chocolat - a real bonus, seeing how well they do those delicious buttery pastries here.

Cafe au lait - one of the best ones in town.

La Vie En Rose Pâtisserie is located on the corner of Fish Lane and Malay Street, in George Town’s old quarter. It’s barely three weeks and quite a hidden little gem.

Address
La Vie en Rose Pâtisserie
19, Lebuh Melayu (Malay Street)
10100 Georgetown, Penang
Tel: +6014-333 6480
Opening hours: 10.30am-7pm Tue-Sun. Closed on Mondays.

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Peter - may I suggest that sometime when you’re in London, have dinner at Murano. Apart from being very decent Italian food generally, the lemon tart is a signature dish of the chef and may just be the best lemon tart I’ve ever eaten

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Lovely place! I must say the pain au chocolat shown up post, was better than most found here. Only in artisan bakeries in France you can find that quality.

From the display with the 2 chefs photo, the size of pastries seem generous, larger than the standard portion in France (I believe diameter around 7 - 8cm), the French pastries in Hong Kong is 5cm or 6cm.

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Thanks for the reminder! I’d wanted to do Murano since a few years back, but always got sidetracked elsewhere. The last time was to Locanda Locatelli. I’ll try to do it on my next visit to London.

I’ve always felt pastries, French or Chinese, in HK are undersized - perhaps influenced by their “dim sum” dimensions. :grin:

My fave chicken pie in the whole wide world comes from Tai Cheong Bakery (Honolulu Cafe’s a close second). But look at the size of one of those wee pies: two bites and it’s gone!

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We ate there in 2008. Everything was disappointing - the food, the service, even the room. And what was more annoying, is that it had taken us ages to get a reservation when we could actually get to London - we tried for a couple of years before dates came together,

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Coincidentally, that was the same year that Murano came about, although Angela Hartnett bought over her partner, Gordon Ramsay’s, share two years later.

I was at Locanda Locatelli in 2013, recommended to me at the time by @zuriga. June was spot on - it was really fabulous then. I wonder how restaurants could let their standards fluctuate that much, and expect to get away with it.

I see I joined in on your 2013 thread, Peter, mentioning the issues (as above). A couple of other contributors felt similar after meals there. All three of us prior to 2013, of course.

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I agree the portion size is too small.

I think in the long long past, the size of pastry there were larger in size, first it was more US influenced, a lot of cream cakes, sizes were big, then came the Japanese influences, size shrank a bit to be more elegant. With the introduction of French style, size are even smaller. I believed due to 2 factors. First I saw in specialist pastry tools shop in HK, French butter is 2.5 - 3 times the price in France, not talking about fancy stuff, just normal stuff I saw in supermarket here. Second, I think people want to think they are health conscious, they try to stay slim… by thinking a small cake won’t hurt.

The dim sum pastry size is mini, and it has been like that since long time.

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Cedric Grolet, the hottest French pastry chef right now, has just opened a bakery in Paris Opéra 2 weeks ago, guess how much is he selling le croissant and le pain au chocolat like these?

Take away (no café or hotel) and 45 minutes of queue, 4€ for the croissant and 5€ for le pain au chocolat! Usually the very good pain au chocolat from bakery is between 1,5 - 2€ here.

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Those are lovely looking pastries, naf. Andso they should be at those prices.

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I think it can be ok for him to sell at that price, he is a phenomenon. I think generally people here think it is an indecent price, as viennoiseries are considered as everybody’s breakfast. What I worry: bakeries start to think that they are now permitted to sell more expensive.

But not the 45 minutes queue! Hopefully a few weeks later, people will calm down.

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Oh my, very expensive indeed. But they looked like works of art.

Not the French, too! I once endured a 1 hour queue in NYC for Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes because my companion insisted she had to have them. I blame Carrie Bradshaw.

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Place looks legit!

Reason why there aren’t as many obese people roaming the streets… portion control

@naf I feel Grolet’s prices are insane and not commensurate with the product IMO, at least this was my experience with his fruits. Charged US$18/each at his pop-up in NYC earlier this year. Although your pics of his baked goods do look good, but at triple the cost of croissants in Paris?

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I guess you can do that when you have 1.4 million followers on your Instagram. Friends have tasted that on their own, and agreed with me that his fruits creation are very beautiful, but a bit let down by the degustation.

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If you like lemon tarts, one of the most famous tart is created by Jacques Genin, many of the excellent French lemon tarts these days are very much influenced by his creation. He is retired now, his daughter, a pastry chef, continues his chocolate business with a tearoom in Paris might still serve his pastries. I’ve tried to make his lemon tart recipe, it has a good balance of tangy and sweetness and the zests add intense lemony flavour, as good as some of the best tarts bought.

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Stunning, Naf.

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Pierre Hermé Desserts last trip to Paris …

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