Global bakery chain and Group Le Duff's most successful venture, Brioche Dorée, has touched down in the Former French Concession, promising baguettes and pastries freshly-crafted on site from top-shelf French and Chinese ingredients.
Throw in the allure of the alleged "best croissant in Shanghai" and we were forced to light out for the Former French Concession. Perhaps we could finally sink our teeth into a baked goodie in Shanghai that didn't have a sinister hot-dog lurking beneath its sweet, flaky exterior.
Brioche Dorée stresses the outside scenery as much as its interior and strives to emulate the feeling of unwinding with coffee and pastry in hand on the corner of a cozy Parisian street. And they actually come pretty close, you know, aside from the occasional car-horn cacophony and passing Shanghai snot-rocketer.
The first thing we scoffed was the super-hyped croissant (9RMB), which was okay but not quite the bundle of crispy and buttery kick-assness with the light, fluffy inside of a great croissant. The croissant's crispiness to airiness ratio was also a tad off with not enough of the former and an overly bready heart. It's still a croissant, but more of the variety you use to pad your stomach while drinking coffee rather than a main attraction that warrants a special trip to the bakery.
The other treats we tried, which included a tea-cup-sized Quiche Lorraine (35RMB) and the Brioche Nature (7RMB), were of the same mold; decent pastries, but without that real richness or natural dairy sweetness that their made-from-scratch label suggests.
Brioche Dorée is a peaceful setting to get your coffee on with plenty of light, and space to veg out, but isn't quite the be-all-end-all of Shanghai bakeries. However, most of their prices are a bargain and we have yet to sample the sandwiches, baguette, and several other pastries, which could prove the exception to our verdict according to friends.
Brioche Dorée - 7 Donghu Lu, near Huaihai Lu (东湖路7号, 近淮海路). Tel: (0)21-6472-8977. Hours: 7.30am-9pm daily.