CHEZ KARINE (pronounced as shey-karin) is French for “At Karen’s Place”.
Upon the invitation of Ms. Aya, my blogger friends and I decided to try the newly opened Chez Karine Megamall branch on the first day of the wooden horse. Chez Karine’s newest branch is conveniently located at the upper ground floor of SM Megamall Building D. Yes, that’s the newly opened section in front of SM Megamall Bldg. B which they labeled as Mega Fashion Hall. Chez Karine Bakery officially opened its door last January 28, 2014.
There we met the owner of the place, Pastry Chef Karen Yang-Tiang, the daughter of the Filipino-Chinese tycoon Mr. George Yang. What’s interesting about Chef Karen, other than her family background, is her journey to her current career. Unlike other people who did not discover their real passion in life until they die, Chef Karen, a Stanford graduate found hers. Chef Karen has worked with computer systems for years before she discovered her passion for pastries and baking.
What she did first is to study with the La Corden Bleu in Paris to acquire a Diplome de Pattisserie (pastry diploma). Afterwards, she had a stint with the Marriot Hotel at Champ Elysées as an assistant to the pastry chef, followed by another internship, but this time around, with the famous Pierre Hermé Paris! Omg! She worked in Pierre Hermé’s boutique in Rue Bonaparte as well as in his commissary in Rue Vaugirard. Chef Karen was mainly involved with the making of macarons, a typical French favorite.
Not someone who rest on her laurels, she continued to improve her craft, concentrating mainly on pastries. Chef Karen had even ventured into a catering business when she was in San Francisco. Eventually, she came back to Manila and decided to put up a shop in BGC in order for her to share her creations.
Love at First Bite
Please note that four of us shared each cake so it is really bitin. Ha ha ha! Each cake and macarons are super duper yummy! Yes, you can take my word for it.
Layers of rich chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla cake, layered with homemade strawberry jam. The color is so dainty! The Napoleon is a pastry made of many layers of puff pastry with filling alternating the layers. It can be eaten as a dessert, or even as a decadent meal.
As a French pastry it is called mille-feuilles, or thousand leaves, and it is usually filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, and fruit preserves – most often raspberry jam. The topping may be simply powdered sugar, or a layer of fondant, often with strings of chocolate drawn into a chevron design.
In Italy, where the pastry is thought to have originated in Naples, it is called mille foglie (again, thousand leaves), and contains a similar layering like the mille-feuilles of cream, pastry cream, and fruit preserves.
A traditional napoleon is filled with plain pastry cream but if desired you may add a thin layer of fruit preserves such as seedless raspberry or strawberry jam or preserves to the filling.
I’m always secretly (or not so secretly) excited and eager to slice it and see what it looks like inside–particularly with it’s a multi-colored appearance.
Delicious strawberry flavored cake that is neither too sweet nor creamy. Saktong sakto lang ang tamis. For me, Chef Karen perfected the exact science of cake making.
Classic Chocolate Cake
It only took one bite for me to be a Chez Karine convert! I love how their chocolate cake melt on my tongue. It is not too sweet. That’s why I love it!
Cotton Soft Cheesecake.
This cake earned my respect for Chef Karen. Sakto sa lasa. It doesn’t overwhelm. It taste just right.
‘Macaron’ and ‘Macaroons’ are entirely different. Macaron is a dome-shaped biscuit with a shell often made with egg whites and filled with chewy ganache filling, whereas a Macaroon is a small meringue cake, typically made of coconut.
Macarons are best eaten within one week.
I got to try the salted caramel flavor of macaron. One word: Bitin! Joke! It is perfect! Chef Karen’s version is not too sweet unlike the macarons I’ve tried in the past. It has adequate filling that soothes the senses. No wonder, Chez Karine landed the number one spot at spot dot ph top ten macarons in Metro Manila.
Vanilla Royal Pudding
And the last but not the least was their panna cotta packed in a small and nifty glass bottles custom-made in Taiwan.
I love how “sakto” the flavor is! Not so sweet. The marshmallows melt on your mouth.
Chez Karine bakery has a minimalist theme.
The cute wall.