The other place that my cousin brought me to was when we met up on Sunday, and he said he wanted to take me to this place to try “very nice French pastries”. I wouldn’t doubt his words because where gastronomic pleasures are concerned, he is definitely some sort of maestro. We met at a subway station and it was a really good, long walk from that subway station to Farine! I think there is a quicker way to get there, i.e. a nearer subway station, but he was having lunch earlier at some place and asked me to meet him there so that we could take a walk, because indulging in the pastries!
Sunday was a cold and windy day replete with ceaseless drizzling. There was some occasional respite, but somehow the entire atmosphere was still filled with the dense moisture of the rain and the winds were so strong! Despite that, as we walked and talked, under all those thick layers of clothing, I actually started sweating profusely. Eeks.
After a long time of walking where I lost track of the duration that we spent scurrying along the streets of old Shanghai, we finally reached our destination, Farine. You can read a short write-up about it here, where apprently nearby there is a French restaurant by the same chef, a Frenchman of course. Farine in itself is a small, cosy outfit with very limited room for dine-in, and since there were no available seats when we visited, we only ordered pastries and left caffeine for later.
Entering a bakery with the wonderful arresting aroma of breads and pastries baking is like nirvana to me, like unleashing a kid in a candy store. If I could, I would have bought up all the different types of breads and pastries and try them all. That is just a wild dream that will never materialise.
Check out the displays of alluring pastries that look and smell so good, especially when a storm threatened outside, the indoor warmth of the bakery just makes me want to stay there for a long time. I didn’t try any of these since I was actually still fairly full from breakfast and a half-eaten not-so-nice slice of cake from Starbucks. But my cousin said they are pretty good, although he wasn’t a fan of the Kouing Amann, which he felt was too sweet for his liking.
Next to the pastries were the sweets, which was his recommendation to me. I asked him which one was nice that I should try, and he said, “Just about everything”. Oh well, that’s really helpful. Don’t you think everything just looks so tempting and inviting? Their sizes also look like you could really afford to order more than one each, but then we being people with control, just ordered one per person.
He chose the chestnut tart, which resembled a Mont Blanc, but minus the cream. My cousin seems to really not like cream-based stuff because he said this is better than a Mont Blanc because of the cream, and there was this other puff-like pastry (somewhere on the left in the picture above) that he didn’t recommend because to him, there is just too much cream for him to like it. I took a little of the chestnut tart, which had a firm tart base and it’s really delicious! Of course it contained chestnuts and so bore its taste but what I liked about it was that it isn’t sweet like how we usually expect such tarts to be.
My initial instinct was actually to order the lemon tart, because I imagined that I would enjoy the zestyness and sourness of the lemon tart, but remained undecided when I saw they had walnut tart too! I love walnuts, and to be very honest everything really did look damn good. In the end, when I laid my eyes on the pink grapefruit tart, I just had to give it a try.
The grapefruit was probably added onto the tart after the baking was done, because it managed to retain its juiciness and suppleness. But the tart base here was a little different from the chestnut tart because it felt more flaky and soft, more croissant like than tart, and I had a bit of difficulty in the midst of eating this. Nevertheless, it was so good that as I was savouring this, I was quite sad that this would probably be the one and only time that I will get to enjoy it, since I would not have a chance to revisit during that business trip in Shanghai, and it will probably be some time until I next travel to Shanghai again.
We stood at a bar counter of sorts to enjoy our sweet treats, and after we were done, moved on out into the windy Sunday afternoon onwards to the next destination.
Address: Ferguson Lane, 1/F, 378 Wu Kang Road, near Tai’an Road (武康路378号1楼，
近泰安路); nearest subway station (Shanghai Library); closed on Mondays.