Chez Karine: Manila’s Newest Dessert Destination
Desserts, desserts, desserts! As most of you may know by now, this is The Spoiled Mummy’s favorite topic, this is her passion! This is one of the main reasons why I came up with this food blog; I am always in search of the best desserts out there – be it cakes, pastries, pies, tarts, ice cream, macarons, cupcakes…you name the dessert, and I want it! 🙂
The Spoiled Mummy is more than happy to be seeing a lot of dessert places opening shop in Manila. And here, I am featuring one of the newest ones!
Chez Karine is a French Patisserie owned by Karen Yang, the daughter of George Yang who is one of the owners of McDonald’s Philippines. But more than that, Karen has credentials that are more than enough to scare any young culinary entrepreneur away. She is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris where she earned her Patisserie Diploma and she also trained under the King of French pastries himself, Pierre Herme.
Chez Karine is a cute little white shop in Serendra filled with the rainbow colors of their famous Macarons and several delicious looking cakes and pastries.
The cakes here are quite unique with flavors and fillings that are new to the market (such as the Chocolate Santol Tart and Caramel Macchiato pictured above).
This French Patisserie also uses innovative packaging! Check out these cute little glass jars that contain their Panna Cotta and Royal Pudding.
On another side of the counter, there are more artsy and cute little boxes!
These pretty boxes are for the Macarons, the house’s specialty. They are perfect for takeaway or gifts.
Okay, I admit that the charm and attractiveness of the place have won them some plus points, but the discriminating dessert-loving market also knows that the decor, the packaging and how pretty the desserts look, are not really as important as how they taste. A good dessert place cannot just be cute; it is a given that they should serve good – if not excellent – desserts!
So to give a more credible and unbiased review, The Spoiled Mummy went to Chez Karine three times at different days and times of the week. And here’s what I’ve had so far :
3 of their most popular Macarons – Earl Grey, Chocolate and Salted Caramel
What makes a Macaron good? It must be soft and chewy on the outside and filled with just the right amount of filling and sweetness on the inside. (Photo above is the Salted Caramel)
To The Spoiled Mummy, a well-made Macaron must have a certain crunch when you bite on its shell, but at the same time, it shouldn’t be too crunchy (or worse, crispy) that the crumbs just break down into tiny, little pieces that then fall into your lap! (Photo above is the Earl Grey)
Of course, it is imperative that to make good Macarons, you need to use only the freshest, highest quality ingredients, something which Chez Karine is proud of doing. (Photo above is the Dark Chocolate)
I’ve heard so much about Chez Karine’s Macarons but right until I’ve tried them, I couldn’t say anything. But now that I have, I am hooked! For The Spoiled Mummy, these are the best tasting, freshest Macarons you will ever find in Manila! I’ve tried so many different Macarons here (and believe me when I say many!) – from hotels to home bakers to restaurants to other specialty dessert places – but, Chez Karine’s version, because it uses only fresh and natural ingredients and most importantly – is made from scratch daily – is definitely Manila’s best. Everything else pales in comparison to this one; and yes, I will be blunt about it, most of the ones I’ve tried before taste like artificial coloring, lack in real flavor and do not have the right crunchy-chewy-moist texture I am looking for in a Macaron.
On another visit, I tried their Mango Panna Cotta and Muscovado Royal Pudding. Both are similar in texture but different in taste. They reminded me of a creamy custard dessert or our Filipino Leche Flan. When you order them, the fancy bottles are yours to keep. So I took mine home and reused them as a container for my little knick knacks. 🙂
The Mango Panna Cotta was very smooth and creamy. The mango flavor on top did not overpower the vanilla cream base with its sweetness. They just blended well together.
Meanwhile, the Muscovado Royal Pudding was slightly sweeter than the Mango Panna Cotta. This flavor uses caramel sugar, so it’s perfect for those with a really sweet tooth! I had both the Mango Panna Cotta and the Muscovado Royal Pudding at the same time, which I suggest you shouldn’t – because they have the same creamy custard texture. It is best to have them separately so the sweetness of one doesn’t overwhelm the other.
Santol Tart…this reminded of my school’s famous Assumption Tart!
The pastry base or the tart itself was just right, it was flaky and had the right hint of saltiness to it, but I must say I expected more taste from the santol filling. I couldn’t really taste the santol flavor here…and maybe because a fruit like santol is neither tasty nor flavorful to begin with.
In my next visit, I ordered a box of assorted Macarons to take home but also tried their Lemon Meringue Pie and Chocolate Royal Pudding while in the store.
The Lemon Meringue Pie was a tad bit too sweet for me, because I like my Lemon desserts to taste more sour and tart than sugary sweet. But the Chocolate Royal Pudding had the right amount of Chocolate flavor in it with the sweetness just right.
Here is another one of their popular desserts…Honey Toast with Banana, Nutella, Chocolate Macaron and homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. (Pictured with their Matcha or Green Tea Latte)
Let me warn you, this is really as big as what you see in the photo! This dessert is HUGE, and is more fun when shared with friends!
I suggest that if you are going to order this big baby, you must really be hungry. This is made up of thick slices of bread and huge chunks of banana smothered with honey, Nutella and chocolate sauce (believe me, it didn’t come out that sweet as I expected it to be). It can be quite heavy and can be treated as a main meal instead of a dessert. I say this is perfect for a weekend breakfast meal!
Amazing how the slices of bread were neatly arranged inside!
This was the scoop of homemade Vanilla ice cream and the Chocolate Macaron that were placed on top of the Honey Toast… of course The Spoiled Mummy volunteered to get them “out of the way” by getting them first, so the Honey Toast can be cut more precisely and equally amongst my friends 🙂
With 3 hungry friends and myself, this was how the Honey Toast looked like after 1 minute and 15 seconds!
Feeling already full from that huge Honey Toast, I still couldn’t help myself but to take one last look at the beautiful display of rainbow-colored Macarons by the counter before going home…And of course, The Spoiled Mummy fell into that sweet trap again and decided to try one last Macaron to take home. (Photo above is the Pistachio)
Well, the Pistachio Macaron didn’t reach home. I had not even walked to the door of Chez Karine yet and I already reached for this Macaron inside its little plastic bag. I swear, I heard this thing calling my name!
Manila’s dessert landscape has definitely changed in the recent years. More and more good home bakers are coming out, so many specialty dessert shops are opening left and right…and the dessert-loving market is more than happy to be welcoming all these wonderful changes!
The Spoiled Mummy will definitely continue with her search for the best dessert places out there… but please feel free to share with me too if you have your own little sweet secrets out there!
Chez Karine is located in Serendra, Bonifacio Global City
Tel No. 555-0311