Chez Karine Bakery | Serendra French Patisserie

Posted By: at 8:17 PM, Monday, September 17, 2012 ▸
Chez Karine Bakery


1/F Serendra
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Business Hours:SUN - THUR: 11AM to 10PM
FRI - SAT: 11AM to 11PM

Phone: (02) 804-1889 or (63)917-323-2845
Type: Pastry Shop
Budget: Php 200↑
Payment: Cash or Credit Card
Overall Rating: 



Artisanal pastries made with the finest ingredients.
...

A month ago, I passed by the Serendra stretch in a rush, but I had to stop when this certain shop caught my eye: Chez Karine Bakery. Other than its simplistic design, it piqued my curiosity because I remembered a different shop in its place: so clearly, they were new! I had a quick look inside and there I saw the range of pastries they were offering: macarons, pudding, panna cotta, tarts, and cakes! Everything, as in everything, was such an eye-candy... I was smitten! I was tempted to sit in and dine with them right that instant, or order for some pastries to-go, but I was really running late. So with much regret, I had to walk away...

Days after however, my When in Manila family—in such good timing—invited me to come with them to Chez Karine! And of course, without missing a beat, I said yes! I was really, really, ecstatic!

Chez Karine, a French phrase, is pronounced as "shey ka-reen" which translates to: "At Karen's Place." It follows therefore that the shop is owned by a certain 'Karen': Chef Karen Yang. And yes, she's the daughter of the Filipino tycoon: Mr. George Yang.

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Chef Karen Yang

But what's more interesting about Chef Karen, other than her family background, is her path to this current career. A legit Stanford graduate, Chef Karen has worked with computer systems for years, but much like other people, she eventually discovered her passion in life: pastries and baking! Patisserie, baby!

To jumpstart her plans, she first studied with the La Corden Bleu in Paris to acquire a Diplome de Pattisserie (pastry diploma). Afterwards, she had a stint with the Marriot Hotel at Champ Elysées as an assistant to the pastry chef; this was followed by another internship, but this time around, with the famous Pierre Hermé Paris! She worked in Pierre Hermé's boutique in Rue Bonaparte as well as in his commissary in Rue Vaugirard. There, Chef Karen was mainly involved with the making of macarons; a typical French favorite!

After these experiences, she continued to improve her craft, concentrating mainly on pastries while she stayed in the city of San Francisco; Chef Karen had even ventured into a catering business at that time. Eventually, she came back to Manila and here, she decided to put up a shop in order for her to share her creations.

AMBIANCE & DECOR: 

The first word that pops into my mind whenever I think of Chez Karine's ambiance is: straightforward. With its minimalist features, I can't help but think of Japanese shops. According to Chef Karen, aside from the fact that her pastries are influenced and inspired by the look of Japanese delicacies, she also made her shop to be in this kind of Japanese style (clean and simple) so that all focus would be directed to the pastries rather than on any other elements inside the shop.

Chez Karine has a small al fresco area, and a bar-type counter with plush chairs indoors: the area is small, but their customers mainly take out the pastries anyway (for instance, I've seen a lot of kids coming in to the shop with their parents, and then each mother-son/daughter tandem would always order for boxes and boxes of Chef Karen's sweets!)

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Facade
Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Interior Design

Another feature that contributes to the Japanese-esque feeling of Chez Karine is their adorable packaging! Just look at the designs below! It's too adorable! To be honest, at one point I was very tempted to order each of their packaging boxes to take home... Haha. (According to Chef Karen, the designs were made by her boyfriend as well as a certain family friend.)

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Packaging
Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Designs Packaging

FOOD & PRICE 

Chef Karen and her team ensures that all of what they serve are fresh... each and everyday!

To start our feast, we tried every flavor of their macarons. This has actually been my second time to try macarons (the first being with Bar Dolci) so for this time around, I have something to compare from! For a start, the size of Chez Karine's macarons were slightly smaller compared to Bar Dolci's, but both are at the same prize (P50.00).

You can go as small or as large as you wish to when making macarons. However, as per the norm, a perfect macaron should be no larger than 2 inches: so yes, they shouldn't be too small or too big. The smallest you could go is an inch (a size of a quarter). Too large macarons are not ideal since it makes the center sticky and the outer shell too crunchy. And when it's too small, it wouldn't reflect the texture of a signature macaron.
SOURCE: New York Serious Eats.
Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Macaron Display
Macaron (P50.00 each)

Regarding the texture of the Chez Karine's macarons, I loved how the shell easily shattered by first bite, giving way to the slightly chewy interior. Apparently, macaron shells don't have much of a flavor since they're all made from the same ingredients: but the rest of the flavor greatly relies on the filling. Gladly enough, Chez Karine had the flavor just about right! (It's no wonder because Chef Karen had worked with 'the' famous Pierre Hermé!)

What's even notable about the macarons was that they weren't too sweet; a usual characteristic of a perfect macaron. Round and shiny shells? Check! Has feet (crown)? Check! Adequate filling? Check!

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Macarons

Currently, Chez Karine has only seven flavors, but they're working on newer ones (when we talked with Chef Karen, that week they were experimenting on peanut butter macarons.) My favorite flavor had been their Earl Grey Macaron, followed closely by their Dark Chocolate Macaron.
  1. Earl Grey: it was true to its name, the tea flavor was subtle but enough to give you that sensation as if you're having earl grey tea but in solid form.
  2. Dark Chocolate: this was one of Chez Karine's top-3 best sellers. No wonder about that because the taste was definitely rich and murky.
  3. Strawberrythis had a strong burst of Strawberry flavor that it reminded me of certain candies from my childhood.
  4. Salted CaramelI've had my fair share of salted caramel flavor back in Bar Dolci and I really didn't like that kind of taste; but for salted caramel aficionados, it was a hit! So I guess it's one of those 'acquired taste' kind of food. Chez Karine's salted caramel macaron however was mild to the taste (which I liked!), so I don't thnk the hardcore salted-caramel fans would go gaga over this.
  5. Lemonlike how any lemon-flavored dessert should be, tangy and tart.
  6. Milk Chocolate Passionfruit: passionfruit is not a common flavor for us Filipinos, but this flavor could make you addicted to it! Each bite welcomes you to that chocolatey taste, followed by the unique fruity kick of the passionfruit.
  7. Pistachio: this was very refreshing! What you see and what you read is absolutely what you'll taste!
'Macaron' and 'Macaroons' are entirely different. Macaron is a dome-shaped biscuit with a shell often made with egg whites and filled with chewy ganache filling. Whereas a Macaroon is a small meringue cake, typically made of coconut.
Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery French Macarons
Best eaten within seven (7) days.

Next up was their panna cotta: they only have three flavors to date and they're all packed in these small and nifty glass bottles that were custom-made from Taiwan. (I just had to take some of those bottles home! But of course, if you're just planning on throwing them away, give them to me! Haha kidding! Just give it back to the store so you'll get to help them and the environment too!)

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Pudding Display
Panna Cotta (P100.00)

We didn't have the chance to try the Kiwi one but we tried the rest of the two. Mango has been their best-seller from this set since the taste is what most of their customers are akin to.

Light, smooth, and creamy. Very creamy! Which is great because that's how I'd want my panna cotta to be like!

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Panna Cotta Flavors
Kiwi. Mango. Strawberry.

The Strawberry kind somewhat tasted like jam, especially since the texture was smooth, full... and yes, with seeds! So it's absolutely fresh and not artificial!

More flavors and variants are coming soon so you better watch out for that. In fact, Chef Karen was experimenting on serving a three-layer panna cotta. At that time, she was working on having coffee jelly as a base, panna cotta in the middle, and orange on top! It sounds unique and I'm willing to take that on!

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Strawberry Panna Cotta

One of my favorite kind of comfort food: pudding! They only have three flavors available for this set too and we managed to taste all!

At first, the pudding like crème brûlée to me, but then I went all, "No, it tastes like leche flan!" However... unlike the leche flan desserts that we usually have here, this one was a sophisticated version (if there's even such a thing!) It was lighter and less sweeter, therefore striking a perfect balance. They all have a dark caramel layer at the bottom too, for added flavor.

The Vanilla Royal Pudding was something that they personally call as Tomoyo; named after a certain friend of Chef Karen. And you know what? I'd love to meet this Tomoyo because going by how this pudding tasted, thenhe/she must be one fine thaaaang! Haha! Kidding aside, the Muscovado Royal Pudding on the other hand was a new concoction to me.

According to Chef Karen, muscovado is a type of unrefined brown sugar but for me it almost tasted like caramel, but in a subtler notch. Meanwhile, the Chocolate Royal Pudding is as is; chocolate-y and sure to please the choco-fanatics.

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Pudding Bottles
Royal Pudding (P100.00)

By the end of this, we were too loaded up (especially since we had a buffet lunch before going to Chez Karine!) so we didn't have the chance to taste the rest of their pastries. But just to let you in on how they look like, below are three of their entremets. (It's an Old French word that means 'between servings' so it simply translates to desserts.)

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Entrements Pastries
L: Passionfruit Igloo (P195.00) - white chocolate mousse, passionfruit jelly,
chocolate biscuit, and flaky almond praline crust
R: Caramel Macchiato (P185.00) - caramel bavarois, espresso cremeaux, 
soft caramel and chocolate biscuit

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Ambroisie Entrements
BEST-SELLER, MUST-TRY: Ambroisie (P225.00) - chocolate mouse, pistachio 
mousse, pistachio joconde, strawberry jam, and chocolate biscuit

» Want to see how the inside of these entremets look like? [ Click here! ]

Another set that we didn't have the chance to try is their tarts. The Strawberry Gourmandise (P135.00) is another one of their best sellers (the cream-puff-like pastry on the left.) The image to the right below shows their Lemon Meringue Tart (P165.00) that is filled with lemon cream and topped with torch meringue.

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Tarts Pastries

These panna cotta, pudding, entremets, and tarts are best eaten within 3 days so it's best to consume them quickly. It's important to note as well that the entremets are mousse-based so it's not advisable to travel for long hours while you're lugging them around.

Now of course, we wouldn't leave without trying some of their drinks. Chez Karine offers hot/cold coffee, hot/iced tea, and a smoothie too. For us, we decided to go for their hot coffee variants!

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Coffee
TL: Cafe Latte (P95.00) TR: Cappuccino (95.00)LL: Muscovado Latte (P105.00) - cafe latte slightly sweetened and topped w/ muscovado foam
LR: Matcha Latte (P120.00)

**TIP** Chez Karine makes its own ice cream and they actually sell a a vanilla scoop for only P50.00 which you have got to try! Just look at the little black dots on the picture below! (No, those are not photoshopped, mind you.) Those are from the crushed vanilla beans, and overall, it was absolutely and sinfully rich!

Foodie from the Metro - Chez Karine Bakery Vanilla Ice Cream

OVERALL 

Pricey? Yeah... this may sound very cliché but it just holds true: with Chez Karine, you definitely get what you pay for. Pastries that are visually appealing and filled with flavors that neither underwhelm nor overwhelm: for me, that's how pastries should be like. (Especially since I'm not into overly sweet goodies.)

For sure, I'm going back for their macarons. Plus! I have got to try the Ambroisie! And also their Honey Toast! I didn't get a chance to order this (because I was already full) nor take a picture of it (because this was only prepared once ordered). But imagine this: a six-inch high cubed loaf of bread that's buttered, toasted, and drizzled with honey! Aaaaah... and if that wasn't enough, they serve it with vanilla ice cream, chantilly cream, and sliced almonds! They have three of these: Mangoes & Cream, Strawberries & Cream, and Banana Nutella.

MENU 

As of July 2012 : [ click to see menu ]


"Foodie from the Metro" : Chez Karine Bakery | Serendra French Patisserie

9 comments:

# | U8mypinkcookies said...

looks so cute :D

# | michymichymoo said...

I have to visit this soon! ;)

# | Rovie Divinagracia said...

wanna go here and try!!! oh my i need some macaroon treat :)
Rovie,
Win a Leather Jacket on The Bargain Doll :)

# | yaniconquistadora said...

Have to try those salted caramel macaron and see if they could possibly be the best in town :)

# | animetric said...

Waaah a cute cute bakeshop like the ones I visited in Japan. I want! Everything looks so yummy. Thanks for posting! :)

# | Ang Sarap said...

I see macaroons there is gaining popularity, same here.  Thanks to cooking shows :)

# | Lor said...

Tried the pudding once and I want moooore! Ganda pala ng store nila

# | Aileen A. said...

Maganda talaga! :D Uy... P.S. tagal na kita di nakita :(((

# | Guiamonica said...

The place looks really nice. Can't wait to try their macarons and pudding! :)

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