When I first came to Hangzhou eight years ago, it was hard to find good quality European-style bread. The existing bread was too sweet and just not the right texture. Thankfully back then there was Ravaud’s Bakery forging the path to make good bread for the residents of Hangzhou.
Today, the venerable Ravaud’s is still going strong with four locations in Hangzhou – one at the Alliance Française, two in Xiasha and now the newest location on Tangmiao Road. MORE Magazine was at the grand opening party in December, and the scene was bustling with customers eager to sample the buttery pastries and breads. There were croissants, mousse cakes, macaroons, lovely flaky mille-feuille and more. (10-30RMB).
Louis Ravaud, the man himself, is an embodiment of French joie de vivre. He busily rushed around the bakery making sure every customer was happy and sharing in his love of good food and the finer things in life. He arranged a lunch for us on the side, personally cooking some dishes himself.
We started with the Fall in Love cocktail – a pretty pink concoction with lychee, waxberries, white pomegranate seeds, white wine and gin. This was followed by a remarkably fragrant and luxurious Cream of Mushroom Soup that carried a just a hint of garlic. The entrée was a traditional French dish called Hachis Parmentier with two layers of mashed potato and ground pork in between topped with an herbed tomato sauce. Dessert was a silky ball of Whiskey Chocolate Truffle and Warm Spiced Mulled Wine. We loved the mulled wine. It was complex and sophisticated in flavour and had taken three days to make.
Ravaud has many plans for the Tangmiao Road location. There will be quick set lunches for the office crowd and an afternoon tea service. Sandwiches will be available, such as croquet-monsieur and panini. There will be crêpes parties with both savoury and sweet crêpes, including galettes de sarrasin made from buckwheat flour – a specialty of the Normandy region. Occasional buffets will happen, focusing on quality not quantity, with a few simple but well-made items like quiche and soup. So drop by often to see what’s happening.
Do note that this location closes at 8pm. Dinner is by request. Call Louis and he will create a special meal for you.