Around the same time frame as fans of ‘Games of Throne’ were witnessing the act of bravery exhibited by the ‘Unsullied’ and ‘Dorthraki’ in marching against the ‘Northern Night Walkers’ in the dark. Up north, here in Richmond Hill, culinary fans were watching a similar courageous act slowly unfolding.
Within a quick two minutes drive from the established patisserie ‘Ruelo‘ inside of Times Square and more noticeably, within a stone throw away from, IMHO, one of the best French patisserie in the GTA - ‘DUO’. "JW Patisserie", a new kid on the block, own and run by a lady pastry chef – Janice Wong ( hence JW (and NOT Jehovah Witness) Ha ! ) has set up shop in the hope of competing and may be even de-thronging the neighborhood favorite jewel, ‘DUO’.
After hearing some positive comments from friends working nearby. This morning, I armed myself with curiosity, camera, sweet tooth and a hungry palate and took a short drive over to check out this newly opened pastry/café establishment.
Influenced by the time spend honing her skill in Singapore and Hong Kong as well as the US and Canada. The first impression I noticed about the list of pastry products displayed by Chef Wong was that the majority exhibit a touch of exotic Asian intrigue and bias….., Mango, Yusu, Matcha green tea….etc. Price point was on the high side, very similar to that of ‘DUO or Rahier’, averaging about $8 a piece. Sadly, the less refined and rough-with-an-edge visual appearance fell short, especially when compared to the more sophisticated and elegant creation of both ‘Ruelo’ and ‘DUO’. However, since taste is my overall deciding evaluation criteria, I was hoping the subsequent flavor and tasting might overcome the visual shortfall. Regrettably, it was not the case!!
For this first visit and evaluation purposes, I bought a regular croissant plus a couple of dessert pastries….Mango Mousse and MontBlanc.
Though fairly light and flakey, JW’s croissant rendition was inferior than the ‘ bursting with buttery taste and aroma’ DUO’s version. It was also less symmetrical and attractive in look. Taste profile possesses an unfamiliar, sweetish component.....a bit of Brioche dough used in the mix?!
Next came the two French dessert pastries. Totally contrary to current ‘more health conscious‘ trend, and even by my excessive ‘sweet tooth‘ standard, they were way overly sweet! The mediocre, ‘Chinese bakery’ looking Mango mousse cake was one dimensional tasting, lacking mango aroma and characteristic. Even Scarborough’s hole-in-the-wall, Hong Kong style bakery – ‘Cakeview‘s version tasted much better and costs way less! The chestnut paste of the MontBlanc was passable, the sweet butter short bread crust commendable. However, once again, the paste and inner creamy filling was overwhelmingly sweet. Nowhere near the league of DUO in terms of appearance and taste. In fact, JW’s version resembles more like a so-so Lucullus product instead!
For the price they were charging, I was anticipating a much more superior product and was naturally disappointed.
As supporting casts, JW also serves gourmet coffees as well as light luncheon offerings like salads, Panini, sandwiches and wraps. However, my advice to them is to focus on their baked and pastry products with a view of refining the overall quality and make them more attractive and competitive to its nearby rivals.
Right now, IMO, 'DUO' has nothing to worry about!
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