Les Bonbons, c’est bon!
By Shaan Bajaj
In my first year of university, I was staying with 10 other girls in student accommodation halls. One of my then flatmates, now dear lifelong friend, is French. After Christmas break, she brought back some madeleines, and I vividly remember the first time I tasted the delicious buttery cake; it slowly melted in my mouth. When Cafe Madeleine opened its doors, I knew I had to try it for myself, hoping for more of the same.
The casual-style patisserie is located on the riverfront of the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok at Chao Phraya River. During my visit, Executive Pastry Chef Andrea Bonaffini told me how the eatery is inspired by European café culture, with a focus on freshly baked pastries, cakes, breads, and their signature madeleines in three different flavours: Passionfruit & coconut (THB 70), Chocolate & cacao caramel nib (THB 70), and Raspberry & vanilla (THB 70). You can choose to order their baked goods via their website or treat yourself with a visit to their perfectly-situated café.
Walking into the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok feels like a treat on any occasion, due to the design by award-winning architect Jean-Michel Gathy, who seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor spaces through water elements. Tucked into a corner of the hotel, surrounded by lush greenery, Cafe Madeleine oozes femininity and elegance. Purple and pink flowers decorate the large exterior windows, while the inside boasts luxe furnishings, with marble countertops and leather seats for your comfort.
Freshly-baked goods lie on an island, inviting guests to choose whatever their hearts may desire. Beyond the table of pastries and breads, staff are ready to take your order at the counter, while the headboard above them lists a selection of hot and cold drinks, including teas and coffees. After choosing and ordering your treat, you’re invited to take a seat at one of their many tables, or you may opt to sit outdoors, weather permitting. If you’re in a rush, you can take your delicacies to-go as well.
FOOD AND DRINKS
For my visit, I chose to sit inside the café to enjoy all the delicacies they had to offer. To begin, I sampled their Pretzel (THB 110), baked to a beautiful caramel brown with a slight crisp on the outside while soft and chewy on the inside, and seasoned perfectly with salt. Next, I sampled a classic Chocolate Danish (THB 110), ideal for chocolate lovers, before moving on to their latest delicacy, a Raspberry chocolate dou pastry (THB 140). Made from fresh raspberries, it was light, flavourful, and the tart fruit paired incredibly well with the darkness of the chocolate.
As I devoured their pastries and breads, a plate filled with six different types of Petit mignons made their way to me. Chef Andrea informed me that you could order them in three different sizes starting with petit mignons, to mono portions and whole cakes. First, I took a bite of the Giandija chocolate & hazelnut mousse (starting from THB 95), a light confectionary with added richness in the form of the nutty mousse, inspired by the chef’s hometown of Turin, Italy. Meanwhile, their Seasonal fruit tart (THB 95) had a crisp base filled with a refreshing Tahitian vanilla cream, topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and coconut marshmallows, for a treat that reminds you of summer. Chef Andrea had also created two petit pastries with local flavours, the Mango and passion fruit cheesecake (THB 95) and the Coconut & pandan choux (THB 120). The cheesecake was smooth and well balanced, while the choux was refreshing and scrumptious; a fusion take on the flavours of most Thai khanoms.
My personal favourite from the petit mignons was their Bronte pistachio cake (THB 120), which melted in my mouth as soon as I took a bite of it, a truly rich and divine dessert. Not to be missed is Chef Andrea’s latest creation, the Lychee rose raspberry (THB 120), which had a lychee and rose compote filling at the centre with a whipped rose ganache, covered in a layer of nutty hazelnut chocolate. A truly floral and sweet truffle that’s worth trying.
When the sun is out, I would recommend ordering their cooling Tropical sunset (THB 180), a light pineapple citrus beverage with a hint of sweetness. If you would like to opt for a warm drink to sip on, opt for a comforting cup of hot Rooibos tea (THB 140) or a rich and creamy mug of Hot chocolate (THB 150) topped with fluff y marshmallows. For coffee enthusiasts, their selection of coffee is also impeccable. Their drinks also come with complimentary, mini versions of their signature madeleines to truly elevate the experience.
Their Sea salt caramel cube (THB 120), a cube-shaped flaky croissant with a crisp exterior
that hides a gooey centre of golden caramel that oozes out as soon as you cut it open. The
flavours of the croissant are in perfect harmony, and it makes for a truly delicious pastry with a fun element of surprise.
Ground Floor, Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River, 300/1 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Yan Nawa, Khet Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Thailand
Open daily from 7am to 7pm