Historic French tea room to debut here
15 Stamford Road, Capitol Galleria #01-82
Opening at the end of next month
HAVE you had hot chocolate so delightfully decadent that you had to use a spoon to drink it? Ready your taste buds and loosen your belt because the signature drink from iconic Parisian patisserie Angelina will make its Singapore debut next month.
Founded in 1903 by confectioner Antoine Rumpelmayer, who named it after his daughter-in-law, the historic tea room was a favourite of fashion icon Coco Chanel and novelist Marcel Proust. It is now owned by French food conglomerate Groupe Bertrand.
Angelina's Singapore franchise is owned by Re Global Hospitality, a family-owned company that runs hotels and restaurants in the United Arab Emirates and India. This is its first venture here.
While names such as Laduree, Paul and Mayson Kayser have already made their Gallic presence known in Singapore, Angelina has a different business model, says 30-year-old Aditya Talwar, director of Re Global Hospitality. "We want Angelina to be a destination, a taste of Paris in Singapore, so we're going to limit ourselves to maybe two outlets, and that's for the long term."
The Mont-Blanc ($13.50) is Angelina's signature pastry, with a dome of pureed chestnut "vermicelli" and a concealed meringue base topped with artisanal whipped cream.
The potency of Angelina's Old-Fashioned Hot Chocolate L'Africain ($12) comes from blending cocoa beans from Niger, Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire and Papua New Guinea, and is tempered by a bowl of unsweetened whipped cream. While it also offers modern confections such as the Josephine, a fruity choux pastry, the focus will be on the traditional pastries.
Mr Talwar says: "There are a lot of modern pastry chefs in Singapore who have trained in France, the birthplace of pastry. They have some impressive innovations but we like to emphasise the historical side of our pastry. Based on global research and analysis, we've found that traditional pastries tend to outsell the modern ones anyway."
The focus on tradition extends to its location. Mr Talwar explains: "The area surrounding the Capitol Galleria has iconic buildings like the Raffles Hotel, the Supreme Court and Capitol Theatre. It's a great opportunity for us to be associated with heritage in Singapore."
From the design of the 1,500 sq ft tea room - which can seat up to 60 people - to the pastries on its menu, Angelina Singapore has kept things authentic. Mr Talwar says: "The belle-epoque era-inspired design was conceptualised by a French design firm used by Angelina Paris. We wanted to replicate the entire experience, not just the food."
Christophe Appert, the pastry chef at Angelina Paris, will be in Singapore for a few weeks to ensure that the quality of the pastries here is up to the French standard. Additional quality-control mechanisms include the training of key personnel at the Rue de Rivoli branch in Paris and the import of the hot chocolate from France.
Mr Talwar says: "Singaporeans are discerning. They'll pay a visit when something's new, but if they don't like it, they won't return. It's our responsibility to deliver a product that meets the expectations of our customers."
THE BUSINESS TIMES
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