We first encountered La Porte de Paris a few years ago when it was a little French bakery on Moganshan Road producing the best buttery, golden canelé we’ve had in Hangzhou. Since then, it’s undergone some transformation and recently resurfaced in the CBD, on Zhijiang Road next to Hustle Bistro.
The owner of the bakery, Iko, originally trained as an industrial designer then got into baking as a way to make healthy, delicious cakes for her daughter to eat. From 2013, Iko had run a home-based bakery business which later turned into a retail shop. Iko has studied baking in France and still continues to learn and draw inspiration through courses and travels in France, Spain, Italy and Japan.
Today, La Porte de Paris continues to create French style desserts using imported ingredients and no chemical additives to stay true to the natural flavour of the sweets. Using her design training, Iko creates desserts that are as pretty to the eye, as they are delightful in the mouth.
The new shop is bright and airy with table seating and cakes on display downstairs and the bakery production upstairs. Each day, there will be a selection of cakes prepared, but customers are welcome to make advance reservations 2 days ahead of time to order their favourites, especially if ordering an entire cake.
We tried a range of items and the fruit based ones really stood out for us. Starting with Passionfruit Mango Mousse (百香果芒果慕斯, 320RMB for a 4-6 person cake, 540RMB for 7-10 person). Passionfruit is the perfect fruit for summer, its fruity sourness is a great pick-me-up for hot weather days and its exoticness instantly transports you to a tropical location. In this cake, the sourness of the passionfruit is balanced with sweetness of Vietnamese green mangoes and there’s a middle cake layer with coconut. The inner circle of mango and passionfruit jelly is surrounded by an outer ring of strawberry purée and iced with white chocolate mousse.
The cute Mango (芒果, 60RMB) dessert looks like a plump, luscious mango. Cut through the orange coloured white chocolate shell, to first reveal a layer of mango mousse and then a filling of fresh and Vietnamese mangoes. A small amount of kiwi is mixed in to temper the sweetness of the mango.
Giardino di Boboli (波波利花园，48RMB) was inspired by Iko’s travels to Florence, where she was enchanted by the verdant green colours in Boboli Gardens. The cake has layers of matcha green tea sponge cake, mashed purple sweet potato to represent the flowers of the garden, matcha mousse, scalloped white cream edges and a further dusting of green tea powder on top. The green tea used is very high quality and has a nice nutty, roasted, slightly bitter flavour.
Absolute Vanilla (绝对香草，50RMB) uses premium Madagascar vanilla pods in a white chocolate mousse and white cake creation.
Coincidence (好巧, 50RMB), this red ball encases a chocolate mousse flavoured with orange liquour, and “coincidentally”, chocolate and orange makes a natural pairing. The bitterness of the liquor lingers pleasantly.
Drinks include coffees (35-50RMB), sodas and juice (42-48RMB), tea (35-48RMB) and craft beer from local Hangzhou brewery Taste Room.
Free delivery service within 10 km of the shop with orders over 200RMB.